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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bacon and Egg Stuffed Pancake Muffins

I came up with this idea sometime last summer and dubbed myself a genius.  Sometimes you have to pat your own back, you know? 

Okay, okay...  I probably wasn't the first person in the world to think of this... or DO it, either.  But don't tell my family, please.  They still think I'm a genius and I need them to hold on to that for awhile.  It makes me hopeful that they'll be more forgiving the next time I burn something and make them eat it anyway.  It happens.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spanish Rice

Before I get into this recipe I feel it necessary to make a statement: ahem

In posting this recipe for Spanish Rice, it is not my intention to start a riot.  It is not my purpose to offend you, your family, your grandmother, your country, or your culture.  Thank you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos

When I say tequila, I mean it.  It really comes through in this recipe.  If you've ever had a bad tequila experience (and if you have, then you know the kind I'm talking about...) and you haven't quite gotten over it, then you might exercise some caution while reading this post.  Or just walk away.  Its okay.  I understand. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Vanilla Bean AND Strawberry Ice Cream

We had a warm day and the first thing that came to my mind was, "I think I'll make ice cream..."  Is that so wrong??
I consulted with my three year old. 

She concurred. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Calzones

I was surprised at how well these turned out considering they started as a "cleaning out my pantry and using up my leftovers" kinda meal.  Everyone loved them.  I made a lot of them because I decided they would also be good picnic food for the next day's lunch.  Who doesn't like cold pizza, right?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Honey Vanilla Lemonade

Lemonade is one of my favorite warm weather drinks.  It's cool, refreshing, and tart.  Better for you than soda, and more satisfying than water.  Sometimes I like to mix things up a little and put a new spin on old favorites.  I found this recipe for Honey Vanilla Lemonade several years ago and I new I had to try it.  I've been hooked ever since.  Its still the same sweet/tart flavor of a regular lemonade, but it has a nice smoothness due to the vanilla, and a subtly sweet honey flavor.  It's delicious. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Here's a nice chowder to serve along with those Cheddar Bay Biscuits I posted last week.  I made them together and couldn't have been more pleased by how well they got along. 

Let me tell you how much I love shrimp. 

I LOVE SHRIMP!!!

If I had to request a last meal (we won't get into the details about the events leading up to such a request), it is very likely that shrimp will be involved.  Maybe as an appetizer, possibly as a component of the second course (my last meal would have seven courses, minimum.  No, I haven't put much thought into this, why do you ask?), but definitely involved somewhere. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

Muffins are fabulous foods.  They're perfect for grab-and-go mornings or just a lazy Saturday when you can sit and enjoy one with a hot cup of tea (or coffee, if that's more your style). 

Reasons why I love muffins:

1. They're technically not cupcakes, but you can fool yourself into thinking they are.
2.  Because they're not cupcakes, you can justify eating two without too much guilt.
3.  They are so versatile!  Savory, sweet, hardy, light, however you want to spin it, a muffin can handle it!

I could go on, but lets just get to the recipe already, sheesh.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

I like these biscuits.  They're tasty.  I want to eat them as a meal, but that would be irresponsible.  And gluttonous.  And I would be setting a bad example for my carbaholic daughter.  I hate setting a bad example. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Double Chocolate Muffins

Ooooohhh Maaannnn...
That's all I have to say.

That, and it kinda makes me think of UFOs....

Anyone?

...just me?

...nevermind.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Meatloaf

Meatloaf was never one of my favorite foods growing up.  It was always kinda bland, boring, and tasted like... well, like bland boring meat, I guess.  But I think that had more to do with the way it was prepared rather than the dish itself.  Meatloaf, I have discovered, can be very tasty.  It all depends on the kind of flavor you want to mix into it.  I like mine to be a little zesty.  I've come up with a recipe that adds just the right amount of zest without being overpowering and still tastes like a traditional recipe.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Honey Bun Cake

I can't decide if this is a dessert or a breakfast...

Its sweet enough and satisfying enough to fulfill that after dinner sugar craving, but it also sings of cinnamon and brown sugar and that delicious icing I associate with donuts and cinnamon rolls. 

Its a toss up, I tell you.  I've been eating it at night after the kids go to bed, because I want to be able to savor every bite.  And, as anyone with kids can tell you, when there are children present whilst eating, meals are just a shovefest that happens between calls of, "Eat your peas!" and, "Get your finger out of your nose!"

Friday, March 4, 2011

Garlic String Bean Chicken

I had a craving for Chinese food.  It happens a lot. 

I also had a large amount of green beans that I needed to cook.  That happens a lot, too. 

We eat a lot of green beans around here. 

This tastes a lot like the string bean chicken you might order at a well-known Chinese-food-chain-restaurant- with-a-Panda-for-a-mascot who shall remain nameless.

Don't ask me where I got the recipe.  I'll never tell.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chocolate Andes St. Patrick's Day Cookies

These are probably my favorite cookies ever.  I love chocolate.  I love mint.  I love Andes.  Put it all together and I love, love, love these cookies. 
I always think of these around St. Patrick's Day because St. Patrick's Day makes me think of the color green, green makes me think of mint, and mint makes me think of these cookies.  Therefore, I think they're St. Patrick's Day cookies.  You can't change my mind. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Blueberry Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

This is an easy make ahead recipe that would be perfect for a brunch or special occasion breakfast.  You make it the night before so there's no need to wake up at the crack of dawn to start cooking.  I like that.  More sleep = happy Heather. 

Start with some day old french bread.  I happened to have half a loaf that I made before a busy weekend of birthday parties, errands, and various running around.  We weren't home to eat it, otherwise it wouldn't have been there.  French bread doesn't last long around here. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pot O' Gold Bread

Is this totally cute, or what?

I'm trying to get ahead of the game and am starting to do fun St. Patrick's Day stuff before I discover that its March 16th.  I came up with this cute little bread creation on paper and was relying on luck that it would translate well in bread form.  Not too shabby, I think.  Here's how I did it:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rosemary Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Julia hates potatoes.  She won't even eat french fries.  On the rare occasions when she gets a happy meal, she is sure to inform me that she would rather eat apples with her cheeseburger, and "NOT french fries, Mommy!"

Weird kid. 

Sammy, on the other hand, would live on french fries and tater tots if it were humanly possible.  She is my meat and potatoes girl. 

Just because one or both of my kids doesn't like a certain food, it doesn't mean that I'm going to stop serving it to them.  I like potatoes.  So I make potatoes.  And I put them on my children's plates.  It's their job to try everything on their plates, regardless of the fact that they have never liked that food in the past.  I love this rule.  And every once in a while it pays off. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Beef Stew

My husband and I used to work together as science teachers at the same high school.   Students were frequently confused.  Especially at the beginning of the school year... "Did you know that they put 'Mr.' on the schedule?  Oooh, burn!"...  "Mr. Wilson is in the next building over.  You're in the wrong class."...  "Oh."...  *slink away*

This situation had its ups and downs.

Up:  We drove to work together so our gas bill was totally manageable.
Down:  I couldn't leave until he was ready to leave.  He's such a workaholic. 

Up:  We got to eat lunch together everyday.
Down:  We had nothing new to talk about.

Up:  We totally got to gossip to each other about people, and we always knew who the other was talking about!  I mean... we didn't gossip.  That's not nice.
Down:  We kinda gossiped about people, and we always knew who the other was talking about.  

Up:  Every year our Home Ec dept. would have a cookbook sale as a fundraiser and my hunny always bought one for me!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Brownies Baby!!

Brownies are my husband's favorite food of all time, I think.  He didn't say that.  I'm taking a leap, here.  Here's why:

1.  When I ask what kind of dessert I should make, his answer is always, "brownies."
2.  When I make brownies, he eats them.  ALL of them.
3.  If he doesn't get to eat the LAST brownie, he pouts.

I think I have a pretty good case.

I made these brownies last night and the girls and I polished off the last two while he was at work today.  Ten bucks says he has something to say about it when he gets home.  Double or nothing he demands more.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Belgian Waffles

My family loves these waffles!  They are requested often.  I love them, too.  They rank right up there with the fancy round waffles they serve you at Denny's.  You know the ones all covered in strawberries and whipped cream?  My old boyfriend used to call it the "Army Ant Special" and he made fun of me for ordering a plate of sugar for breakfast.  Did I mention we broke up?

Anyway, I love these waffles, army ant style or otherwise.

Let me make something clear right from the beginning.  You need three bowls.  Its necessary.  Don't try to simplify for the sake of fewer dishes to clean.  Your waffles will suffer for it.  Make your peace now. 


Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine Spaghetti and Meatballs

So Valentine's Day is on Monday this year.  If you're a grown up with a job and maybe even some kids, its likely you won't be celebrating with a full shebang on a Monday night.  Or maybe you're die hard about
Valentine's Day and you are...  to each their own.  In case you're staying in, but still would like to do something to commemorate the occasion, here's an easy, Monday night dinner option with a little Valentine's twist for you.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

All this warm weather has had me wanting for summer foods.  So I did the best I could with my winter ingredients and tried to indulge myself.  It worked. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

I was in Philly once.  I didn't eat a cheese steak.  I don't know why.  Oh, yes I do.  Its because I drove right through without stopping.  Dumb move.  Next time I'm in Philly, I'll eat a cheese steak.  Until then, I'll just make one of these.  Unless anyone knows where to get a good cheese steak around here?

I used london broil cause that's what I had.  I think a thick rib eye is the preferred cut of cheese steak enthusiasts, but don't quote me on that. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lasagna

So this is easy.  Really.  There are tons of variations to your basic lasagna recipe but this is the way I like to make mine.

Remember that marinara sauce I made the other day?  I made it for this lasagna.  It was tasty. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Breakfast Tacos


I have a small problem.  No one else in the universe has this same problem, I'm sure of it.  But I'll tell you all about it just in case this problem should ever arise in your lifetime.  Ready?  Here it is...




MY KIDS ARE PICKY EATERS.


I know.  Its unheard of.  I'm so embarrassed. 

Let me fill you in on a few details of my particular situation. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Making your own marinara could not be easier.  Its such a versatile product, too.  You can use it for any pasta dish, a soup base, or just for dipping bread.  I made it for lasagna.  I'll post that recipe later. 

Heat some olive oil in a medium sauce pan and saute some minced garlic and minced onions until they are soft and translucent.

Then add the tomatoes.  You can use fresh Roma tomatoes (those seem to have the right flavor and texture for marinara) or canned tomatoes.  I used some tomatoes that I canned from my garden last summer.  Either open the cans or chop them up fresh.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mayan Hot Cocoa

One of my favorite winter drinks is hot cocoa.  I came up with this recipe when I decided to take a break from the normal hot cocoa mix I would usually turn to.  I like hot cocoa mix.  Its easy, it tastes good, and its reliable.  It always tastes the same.  But I was feeling like I needed some change in my life, and since I haven't won the lottery and I don't like dying my hair, I resided to changing my hot cocoa.  I'm dangerous.  Dangerous, I tell you.  This cocoa has a bit of a bite.  And I like it. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chile Rellenos

I love, love, LOVE me some chile rellenos!  I don't make them very often, but I'm starting to think I should.  They're just too good to not have them in your life at least once a month.   And if anyone participates in the whole "Meatless Monday" craze (we don't), these are a great meatless dish that is so very filling and satisfying that you won't even know what you're missing. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Snowflake Bread

I decided since we don't get to see snow too often around here that I could conjure some up in my oven.  That's right.  My oven makes snow.  One flake at a time.  See...
Actually, I just like to play with my food and turn it into unlikely shapes and animals and such.  Given that its January, the middle of winter, and the closest thing we'll get to snow is dense fog, I decided to let my food be part of my "pretty winter" fantasy.  Cause fog isn't pretty. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

How To Can Meat Products

Remember that pozole from the other day?  I still have some.  I'm saving it for later.  I canned several jars of it for later days.  If you've never canned before the procedure can seem a little daunting at first.  There are a lot of precautions to take and tools to buy and prayers to be said.  You don't want to do a quickie canning job and end up with botulism.  No fun.  But it really is quite a simple task and with practice, it becomes easy as pie.  First thing you need to do is ensure you have the proper tools.

1.  Jar grabber
2.  magnet-on-a-stick (I'm sure there is a proper name for that tool, but I don't know it and its more fun to say magnet...on-a-steeek)
3.  bubble wand (also, not the proper name.  If you know what these items are called, please tell me.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Crock Pot Pozole

I had a serious craving for some pozole and I let it go on for about a week before I got off my backside and whipped some up.  It's extremely easy, especially when you do it in the crock pot, so I had to kick myself for putting it off for so long.  By the time I finally made some, I had eyes about 30 times the size of my stomach and I ended up making far more than I, or my little family of four, could ever eat. 

That left me with a major decision to make.  Do I a) extend an invitation to my family and friends to come over and partake in my delight, or do I b) be greedy and keep it all to myself? I pondered.  Cause folks, this isn't as easy as it seems.  We're talking about pozole, here.  Share it?  Eat it?  Share it?...... Eat it?........

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chicken Fried Rice

I love fried rice.  Its comfort food to me.  But I'm a little opinionated about how it should be prepared...sort of. 

For me, fried rice must have a few specific basic elements.  Once those elements are in place, the recipe can be varied to suit different tastes, preferences, and moods.  This means that when I make fried rice, I almost never make the same recipe twice.  I like to change it up depending on what I happen to have on hand or what I am in the mood for.  However, the recipe always starts the same way.

Here are the "essentials":  long grain white jasmine rice, eggs, carrots, lots of fresh ginger and garlic, and lots of soy sauce.

Anything else is just a bonus.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I got a new baking pan.

Do you love it?!?

I love it! 

The good people at Williams-Sonoma have been reading my diary.  How else would they know to create a pan like this?  Its like they pulled the idea straight from the depths of my baking imagination.  No matter.  The pan is mine now.  I own it and I will take it on its maiden voyage - and you can come along!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lazy Freezer Jambalaya

This is not a traditional jambalaya.  It will win no awards for being authentic, but it is definitely tasty, quick, and a super-cinch!
I decided to call it Lazy Freezer Jambalaya because:
1.  There is very little prep work involved.  Its a real throw together dish.
2.  Most of the ingredients are in frozen form.
3.  Its got Old Bay seasoning in it, contributing to the "Cajun" flavor- therefore, jambalaya

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Perfectly Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

I'm BA-AACK!!!! 

I took a bit of a break from blogging cause things got a little busy around here.  There were parties, relatives to visit, trips to take, etc.  Anyway, I'm back to share more delicious recipes with you starting with this one for my favorite fluffy, buttermilk pancakes. 

I made these this morning and my kids ate a ton.  They're obnoxiously good.  Unfortunately, I was not quite awake when I made them so I forgot to take pictures of the process... but c'mon, its pancakes, not brain surgery.