Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekly Line Up - 5/30-6/5

I can't believe that today is the last day of school for my kiddos!! We are looking forward to a lot of fun activities this summer and I can't wait to be able to hang out with my kids a bit more... Special supper planned for tonight since it's the last day of school and my second boys' birthday is tomorrow so he got to pick whatever he wanted to for supper. Not a lot of effort on my part, but hey - whatever floats his boat! :) Have a great week, here's the line up for us...

Friday - *Ground Beef Totchos
Saturday - Grilled Cheese Sandwiches/Spaghettios/Grapes/Chips/Vanilla Sundaes (Beau's Birthday Dinner)
Sunday - Birthday Party
Monday - Spaghetti and Meatballs
Tuesday - Crockpot Cheeseburgers
Wednesday - Round Steak Casserole
Thursday - Pick Your Own

* = New Recipes

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Potato Mice

Last summer we started letting the kids pick out their own meal, once a week on a rotating basis. They have a tendency to pick the same things over and over so I wanted to be able to pick some of the meals also - you know how I like to shake it up a bit every week with something new! I gave them a cookbook that I had gotten at a book fair and let them choose recipes from there as well. Brody found this super cute recipe and we made it up one night. They turned out really fun and the kids enjoyed them, even though they didn't eat all the "add-ons" - at least they ate the potatoes!

Potato Mice
(recipe found in Mama and Me Cookbook)

4 baking potatoes
cherry tomatoes
green onions
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheese
2 tablespoons butter

Wash potatoes and pat them dry. Prick the skins with a fork and put the potatoes on a baking sheet. Brush them all over with oil. Bake the potatoes until they are soft. Remove from oven and let cool until you are able to handle them. Cut the tops off and carefully scoop out the centers. Mash the soft centers with butter, milk, 3/4 of the cheese, salt and pepper. Then put the mixture back into the potato skins. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the potatoes and cook under the broil for a few minutes until golden,. Make a nose and whiskers with half a tomato held in place with a toothpick and chives tucked behind it. Finish decorating with raisin eyes, radish ears and green onion tails.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Guilt Free Apple Dessert

I have been trying harder to get in a few extra servings of fruits and vegetables in and this was a great way to do it! It tasted like a sweet dessert without being full of sugar... Definitely a good snack that I have had a few times since the first time!

Guilt Free Apple Dessert
(recipe found on pinterest)

cinnamon, to taste
1/4 cup water

Using apple corer, core apple and arrange slices in microwave safe bowl. Add water, cover and microwave for two minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Barbecue Chicken Pizza Soup

I love when a recipe is super yummy and easy to throw together... Although this one was a little higher in calories then I wanted, it was really tasty and the oldest 2 boys and I slurped it right down. The younger 2 weren't so excited about it, but I think that they are going through a not eating stage - they don't finish anything lately!! Drives me nuts, but they are still growing fast so I don't worry about it too much...

Barbecue Chicken Pizza Soup
(recipe found on pinterest via

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
1 (11 ounces) can corn with peppers, drained
2 (12 ounces) cans chicken, drained (I just baked up chicken breasts and chopped them before adding them to the soup)
1 1/2 Cups chicken broth
1/2 cup berbecue sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Heat oil into a medium pot over medium heat. When hot, saute onions for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in garlic, corn and chicken breast; mix to combine. Pour in chicken broth, barbecue sauce, salt, pepper, garlic salt and cilantro leaves. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until ready to serve.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Pepperoni Pizza Lasagna Roll Ups

For some reason I enjoy lasagna roll ups much more then regular lasagna. They might take a litle more effort to prepare in the beginning but they are fabulous! When I saw this pepperoni pizza version, I knew that my family had to try this recipe because I figured that they would love it and I was right!! They dug straight in everyone wanted more. I would definitely double this recipe next time because there wasn't enough for everyone to have more than 1 and there definitely wasn't enough for leftovers the next day. Definitely a redo though!

Pepperoni Pizza Lasagna Roll Ups
(recipe found on pinterest via

10 traditional lasagna noodles, cooked, drained and rinsed with cold water
2 cups pizza sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 ounces sliced pepperoni (50-60 slices)

Preheat oven to 350. Cook noodles according to directions on package and rinse with cold water. Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and spread 1/2 cup of pizza sauce into the bottom of the pan. Set aside. Meanwhile, prepare filling in a large bowl by mixing beaten egg, ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, parsley and pepper until well combined. To prepare lasagna rolls, lay out one lasagna noodle and spread it with about 2 tablespoons of cheese filling. Lay out 5-6 pepperoni on top of cheese filling. Roll up each noodle starting at one of the short ends. Place in prepared baking dish, seam side down. Repeat until all noodles have been filed and rolled. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups pizza sauce over the rolls and top with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes (remove foil for last 10-15 minutes) or until hot and cheese is melted. Let stand about 10 minutes prior to serving.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Weekly Line Up - 5/23-5/28

Busy week this week with the end of school, my mom's birthday, Memorial Day, the hubs' birthday and one of my boys' birthday party!! Trying to not go too crazy with extra goodies, but I will have enough to get done without anything extra! :) Here's the line up...

Friday - Slow Cooker Pulled Beef Sandwiches
Saturday - Pick Your Own
Sunday - *Snickatella Pie (Mom's birthday dessert)/Grilled Cheese and Spaghettios for supper
Monday - *Bunkouse Beans, *Clown Cupcakes, *Salted Caramel Frosting (Memorial Day contribution and my son's birthday treats...)
Tuesday - *Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Ribs, Corn Casserole, Chocolate Pie (Hubs birthday dinner)
Wednesday - *Slow Cooker Rustic Italian Chicken
Thursday - Cheese and Chicken Stuffed Shells

* = New Recipes

Extras: Reese's Popcorn (Sunday School Teacher Appreciation Gift)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cat in the Hat Skewers

These cute Cat in the Hat skewers were also on my list for Dr. Seuss night at ECFE. They were super easy to throw together - I only had a red food coloring pen and couldn't find a fine point black edible pen at the store that I was shopping at, so I wasn't super impressed with how the faces turned out but they got the idea when they were scarfing them down! :)

large marshmallows

Follow the picture for directions on how to recreate these skewers!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Truffala Trees

On our Early Childhood Family Education this year the parents decided that we would like to do meals each night to make it a little easier to get out the door and to ECFE. So, we all picked a week that we would provide the meal and went for it. My night turned out to be the Tuesday right after Dr. Seuss' birthday and the theme for the night was Dr. Seuss night. You know that I ran with that!! We had green eggs and ham for supper, which I threw into the crockpot to keep warm after I scrambled them up, blue jello with swedish fish on top, Cat in the Hat Skewers and Truffala Trees. The trees were a huge hit and I loved how they turned out! I put them on top of popsicle sticks, but I thought that they would be great on pretzel rods also. I was planning on making some green play dough to "plant" the trees in, but realized at the last minute that I was out of cream of tarter... Whoops! Oh well, the kids loved them anyhow!

Truffala Trees
(recipe found on pinterest via

4 cups Trix cereal
2 tablespoons butter
3 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
10 popsicle sticks
Optional: green playdough for display

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and pour Trix cereal into bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir continuously until completely melted. Pour melted marshmallows over cereal and stir to coat. Use hands to form cereal mixture into balls. Place balls on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Allow balls to set for a few minutes before gently inserting a popsicle stick into each one. If desired, use green playdough to display each tree.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Pie

My Grandpa turned 90 last week and I offered to make a meal for him, my Grandma and a few of their friends... He is obsessed with ice cream cake/pie, so I knew that I wanted to find some kind of ice cream dessert to make for him. This was a new one that I wanted to try, so I made it and sent it over. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) it was so good that they ate it all and I didn't get even a little taste of it! I did taste test as I went and it seemed like it would be pretty delicious... Guess I will have to make another batch up to get the official taste test for myself. But, I will definitely go on the word of the 8 that celebrated with my Grandpa and guess that it was pretty fantastic!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Pie
(recipe found on pinterest via

6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon milk
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

15-20 oreos
1/4 cup butter, melted

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
8 ounces cool whip, thawed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided

COOKIE DOUGH - Cream butter, sugar and dark brown sugar together. Mix in vanilla. Add flour and milk and mix thoroughly. The dough will be thick. I needed to add a bit more milk to get the dough to come together. Mix in the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into little balls that are between 1/2 and 3/4 inch in diameter and then cut them either in half or fourths after they are frozen. Freeze the balls of dough. CRUST - Crush oreos into a fine crumb. Mix the oreo crumbs with the melted butter. Press into the bottom of a greased 9 or 10 inch pie pan. Set in the freezer while you make the filling. FILLING - Mix cream cheese, sugar and brown sugar together with a mixer until smooth. Add cool whip and mix thoroughly. Stir in 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips and about 3/4 of the frozen cookie dough balls. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Top with remaining cookie dough balls and 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips. Allow to freeze completely before serving.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

Although my brother told me that his bride to be loved chocolate for anything desserty, I thought that I would also check in with her to see what her favorite flavors are. She did agree with the chocolate, but she also informed me that lemon was another one of her favorite flavors. So, I decided to make some kind of lemon cupcake to give some more options at the shower. I also added a bit of a spring touch to the tops using "fake" swedish fish and gumdrops... Didn't they turn out adorable? I was super happy with the results!! I topped with this recipe for cream cheese frosting.

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes
(recipe found on

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
zest and juice of one meyer lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350. Line 12 cupcake tins with paper or silicone liners. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a small bowl. In bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about five minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, ensuring they are completely incorporated before continuing to the next one. Mix in the zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Add flour and buttermilk to batter in two separate additions, beating completely between additions. Fold in poppyseeds. Fill cupcake liners 7/8 of the way to the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating half way through baking time. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Weekly Line Up - 5/16-5/22

Today is my Grandpa's birthday... He's 90!! Can you believe it?? I mean seriously, can you imagine the things that he has seen in his lifetime? The stories that he tells us are incredible and it is so fun to listen to him reminisce... So, to start out this week I get to make a birthday dinner for him, my Grandma and four of their friends. Hope it turns out - I mean, you only turn 90 once! :) Happy birthday Gramps - love you with all my heart!

Friday - Grandpa's Birthday Dinner - Walnut Crusted Salmon, Crunchy Apple and Grape Salad, Whole Wheat Bread and *Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Pie/Tacos for us! :)
Saturday - Family Birthday Party for Gramps - I'm bringing Chinese Cabbage Salad/*Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken Lettuce Wraps for supper
Sunday - Mac and Cheese
Monday - *Honey Garlic Boneless Pork Chops
Tuesday - Blue and Gold Banquet for Cub Scouts
Wednesday - *Braided Spaghetti Bread
Thursday - Lil Cheddar Meat Loaves

Extras: Monkey Bread

* = New Recipes

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Brooklyn Blackout Cake

My youngest brother is getting married really soon and our family wanted to throw a shower for his bride to be. They are out of state so it made it a little trickier, but we were able to host a bridal shower for her at her mom's house when they flew in to plan some things for the wedding. I was in charge of the desserts, which you know thrills me to death! I talked to my brother and he said that she loved chocolate... Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate. That's doable! Especially when the very next day this beauty of a recipe landed in my email inbox! Fate, the planets lining up, call it what you will but I knew that this would be one of the desserts that I made!

The pudding in this recipe was to die for, I almost want to make the effort to make pudding from the recipe for my kids all the time... A little too time consuming for me to do that, but it was that good! The cake was fabulous, albeit a little bit crumbly. I think that her mom is going to be finding cake crumbs throughout her house for a while! :)

Brooklyn Blackout Cake
(recipe found on

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
3/4 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1/3 cup hot water
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a small heavy saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Stir in chocolate until melted. Transfer to a bowl; stir in vanilla. Cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Press plastic wrap onto surface of pudding. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours or until cold. Preheat oven to 325. Line bottoms of two greased 8-in. round baking pans with parchment paper; grease paper. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add cocoa; cook and stir until blended. Stir in sugars. Remove from heat; stir in buttermilk, coffee and vanilla. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until blended. Stir in flour mixture just until combined. Transfer batter to prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove paper. Cool completely. For frosting, in double boiler method, melt chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in hot water, all at once. Whisk in corn syrup and vanilla. Refrigerate 25-30 minutes or just until spreadable. Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place a cake layer on a serving plate. Spread with half of the pudding. Repeat layers. Top with a third cake layer. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Crumble remaining cake layer; sprinkle over top and sides of cake, pressing lightly to adhere. Refrigerate leftovers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tex Mex Round Steak

We always get a bunch of round steak when we buy our half of a cow and I only have a couple of ways to make it up... It inevitably involves a crock pot so that the meat will turn out tender and I am always on the look out for a new recipe to try and a new way to fix round steak. This one was pretty good and definitely much different then the regular way that I cook it up. The kids enjoyed it and it was easy to put together and throw into the crock pot.

Tex Mex Round Steak
(recipe found on

1 boneless beef round steak (1 1/2 lb), trimmed of excess fat
3 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jar (20 ounces) salsa
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup beef broth
1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Cut beef into 6 pieces (I just cubed my whole round steak), place in slow cooker. In large bowl, mix remaining ingredients except cheese and pour over beef. Cover and cook on low heat 8 to 9 hours or until beef is tender. Sprinkle with cheese.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

I love refried beans when I head out to the mexican restaurant but have never tried to make my own at home... I usually buy a can from the store, but there is just something about that can shaped blob that comes out when you shake the refried beans out that makes you shake your head and wish you hadn't bought that refried beans at all. So, I made homemade baked chicken chimichangas the other day and this recipe was linked to the recipe that I used for the chimichangas. I knew that I had to try it, especially when I saw how easy it was going to be - I mean, a slow cooker?? Now you're talking my language!! They were fabulous and a hit with the whole family... They have a little bit of a kick to them, not enough that it turned the kids off of them and they would be awesome to make up for some bean burritos! Definitely making these again and I want to try the bean dip recipe that is at the bottom of the page as well... If you get to it before me, let me know how it turned out! :)

Slow Cooker Refried Beans
(recipe found on

1 onion, peeled and halved
3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1/4-1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
5 cups water
4 cups chicken broth

Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and chicken broth and stir to combine. Cook on high for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high. Once the beans have cooked, strain them and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.

If you want to turn this into a big batch of bean dip, add the following:

2 cups salsa
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
2 cups shredded pepperjack cheese
8 ounces cream cheese
16 ounces sour cream
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Mix in with the beans and let cook a couple hours longer so flavors can blend. Makes a huge batch so just freeze leftovers!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Baked Chicken Chimichangas

This was one of the best make yourself mexican recipe that I have tried yet! They were so great and I can't wait to make them again. The green sauce was good, but they were fabulous even without the sauce (which was the high calorie part of the recipe)... I also made the refried bean recipe that they suggested with this recipe and that turned out fabulous as well! That will be posted tomorrow. Seriously, making this again - for sure!! The hubs ate three of them and then panicked when he found out how many calories three chimigangas were, even when they are baked. That didn't work out so well for him when he was in the middle of a weight loss competition! So, enjoy - in moderation if you are watching your calories! :)

Baked Chicken Chimichangas
(recipe found on

2 (10.5 ounces) cans condensed cream of chicken soup (or cream of everything soup mix)
2 (4 ounces) cans diced green chiles
5 pitted green olives
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese
1 (8 ounces) package shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning
1 pound shredded cooked chicken meat
8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
1/2 cup olive oil
1 (8 ounces) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped green onion
1 (8 ounces) container sour cream

Pour the cream of chicken soup into a blender along with the green chiles, olives, jalapeno and lime juice. Puree until smooth, then pour into a saucepan, and warm over medium-low heat while proceeding with the recipe. In a large bowl, stir together the cream cheese, monterey jack cheese and taco seasoning until well blended. Fold in the chicken. Evenly divide mixture among the 8 tortillas (I actually got 10). Fold each tortilla into a rectangular packet around the filling. Place all chimichangas in a 9x13 glass pan, sprayed with non-stick spray. Brush all sides of each chimichanga with a small amount of olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, pull pan out and turn over each chimichanga. Bake for 15 minutes more. Top with cheddar cheese, green onion and sour cream, as desired.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Weekly Line Up - 5/9-5/15

Is anyone else as tired of the rain as I am?? Seriously, I could go for a sunny day in the 40's at this rate... And there is only more to come according to the weather channel - let's pray that they are wrong!! Went a little crazy with the baking and freezer cooking this past week - with Teacher Appreciation and filling my freezer I was definitely putting in some hours in the kitchen. It was the perfect rainy kind of week to do it though! :) here's next weeks plan...

Friday - Beer Crockpot Chicken
Saturday - Burgers on the Grill
Sunday - Out for Mother's Day
Monday - *Black and White Bean Chili
Tuesday - Grilled Cheese and Spaghettios
Wednesday - Roast
Thursday - Pick Your Own Night

Extras - Pizza Pockets

* = New Recipes

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tex Mex Chicken and Corn Chowder

With this winter being so bitterly cold soup has been a weekly staple on our menu. So, I am always on the hunt for something new and I love it even more if it is healthy, especially if we all like the taste of it. This one touched on all three of those things and I will definitely be making it again. The hubs likes anything with some corn in it since that is his favorite veggie, so this one ranked high on his list! I also like the chowder part of the soup, since I like my soups a little thicker!

Tex Mex Chicken and Corn Chowder
(Recipe found on

3 tablespoons butter
4 chicken breasts, cubed
6 green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups half and half
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
2 (14 ounces) cans cream corn
1 (4 1/2 ounces) can chopped green chiles, drained
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Melt butter in a dutch oven over medium high heat; add chicken, onion and garlic. Saute 10 minutes. Stir in next 7 ingredients and cook over low heat, stirring often for 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Snickerdoodle Bread

I made a couple of different things for my kids' paraprofessionals and Sunday School teachers this year for Christmas. Christmas Crack was the first one that I put together, but I felt that they needed a little something more... So, I went searching for a yummy "quick" bread and this one took over the running... It was fabulous!! I overbaked the first batch a bit and I wasn't impressed with that batch, so make sure you are watching the oven towards the end so you don't let it overbake.

Snickerdoodle Bread
(recipe found on pinterest via

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 (10 ounces) package cinnamon chips
2 tablespoons flour

For the Topping:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare TWO 9x5" loaf pans by greasing or spraying with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar; cream together for 2 minutes until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition Add vanilla and sour cream, mix to combine. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Whisk to combine Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, stirring just until combine Coat the cinnamon chips with 2 tablespoons flour, then stir into the batter. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Combine sugar and cinnamon for topping. Sprinkle topping over batter before baking. Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing bread from pan. I baked mine for only about the 45 minute mark, so like I said before, keep an eye on it!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Christmas Crack

I don't really want to post this as Christmas Crack, because I would make this all year round! Wow, it was so good, addicting - as you can imagine since it IS called Christmas CRACK!! I made this up over Christmas for my kids' paraprofessionals and Sunday School teachers and then had to make an additional batch so my husband would stop crying after I gave the whole first batch away! Seriously... it's THAT good! Try it, you won't be able to put it away either!

Christmas Crack
(recipe found on pinterest via

1 (12.8 ounces) box rice chex cereal
1 (12 ounces) box of golden grahams
1 (7 ounces) bag of coconut
1 (4 ounces) bag slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups corn syrup

Combine cereals, coconut and almonds in large bowl. In a saucepan, combine butter sugar and corn syrup and cook to a soft ball stage (about 230 degrees). Pour over cereal mixture and stir to coat. Pour mixture out onto wax paper and allow to cool, stirring occasionally to stop from clumping.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Pecan Pie

My in laws moved into a new house a couple of years ago and along with the house they have a grove of pecan trees. It was fun to walk out to the trees, pick up a few pecans and be able to eat them fresh from the tree. It was fabulous! I got a sweet surprise from my mother in law when she sent me a package filled with pecans from their yard. How I loved that! So, you know one of the first recipes that I had to make involved a pecan pie!! It turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself! :) Pure sugar baby...

Pecan Pie
(recipe found on pinterest via

2 cups pecan halves
1 cup packed brown sugar
2-4 Tablespoon butter, melted
3 large eggs
3/4 cup corn syrup
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them for 5-7 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until they are fragrant. Keep a close eye on them so that they don’t burn. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, butter, eggs, corn syrup, vanilla and salt; stir until well blended and smooth, making sure you get rid of any lumps of brown sugar. Stir in the pecans and pour the mixture into the crust. Bake the pie for 50-60 minutes, until the filling is slightly puffed and set. If the pastry is browning too quickly, cover the pie loosely with a piece of foil. Cool it completely on a wire rack before serving at room temperature.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Weekly Line Up - 5/2-5/8

Not such a busy week next week, which again I am super excited for... It's been nice to have some down time to spend at home. Now if the weather would just cooperate so we could have some down time that we could spend OUTSIDE at home!! Oh well, spring will get her eventually! Circus is here this weekend and we are all excited to see the relatives - can't believe that it's been a whole year!! I've got to get going on my baking or I'm not going to have anything to bring to them!! Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week and I've got some fun goodies planned for my kids' teachers... They work so hard to help our kids get where they need to be and any little thing that I can do to show them how much I appreciate all their hard work is definitely not enough!!

Friday - *Garlic Parmesan Salmon and Asparagus
Saturday - CIRCUS!!
Sunday - Wrestling Banquet - I'm bringing *Secret Fruit Salad
Monday - Omelots
Tuesday - *Skinny Chimichangas/Refried Beans
Wednesday - Chicken Enchilada Soup
Thursday - Grilled Chicken

Teacher Appreciation Week -
Monday - Simply Juice and Muffins (You are SIMPLY the best!)
Tuesday - Chocolate Cookie Foot Scrub (I am one smart COOKIE thanks to you!)
Wednesday - *Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Parfaits (Thanks for making my days at school sweeter!)
Thursday - Chicken Enchilada Soup and Whole Wheat Bread (You are a SOUPer teacher!)
Friday - *Caramel and Chocolate Covered Potato Chips (You are all that and a bag of chips!)

* = New Recipes

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Mmmm... chocolate and sugar cookies? Yes!! I love a soft cookie and these were one of the best that I have found so far. Definitely a redo, especially since they didn't last around our house for too long!

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
(recipe found on pinterest via

1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
14 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 350. Pour the sugar on a plate or shallow dish like a pie plate and set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder. In a large bowl, melt 10 tablespoons of the butter in the microwave. Take care not to overheat; microwave the butter until just melted. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter until melted. Allow the butter to cool for 5-10 minutes (it should be about 90-95 degrees on an instant read thermometer).
Whisk the brown sugar, vanilla and salt into the melted butter until the mixture is completely smooth. Whisk in the egg and egg yolk until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Roll the dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons for each cookie. Roll the balls in the granulated sugar and place on lightly greased or lined (with parchment or silpat liners) baking sheets. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten the cookies to about 1/4-inch thick, more or less. Sprinkle the cookies with a bit more sugar (just a pinch per cookie). Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until they have puffed and have cracks running through the top, about 12-14 minutes. Don't overbake or the cookies will be dry. Transfer the cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.