Monday, November 25, 2013

Roasted Corn

This stuff is DELICIOUS!! candy :)  I have bags of frozen sweet corn in my freezer.  We always buy LOTS of sweet corn when it is ready in the summer.  We blanch it, cut it off the cob and freeze it so that we have that deliciousness all winter long.

This is my new favorite way to cook it.  I take it from the freezer, spread it on a cookie sheet, sprinkle it with salt and fresh ground pepper, mix it around with my hands and then cook it.....seriously SO good!!

Roasted Corn
(no can make a large batch of small)
Frozen Corn
Olive Oil
Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions:   Preheat oven to 450.  Spread corn onto baking sheet.  Drizzle with Olive Oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Mix with spatula or hands :)....Bake for 10 minutes(on rack in middle of oven), stir and bake for approx. 10 more minutes or until the corn starts to brown up nicely.  I really keep an eye on it the last 10 minutes.
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Zuppa Toscana

I have been seeing recipes for Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana everywhere lately.  I have never tried this soup before, so I don't have any idea how close it is to Olive Garden's...but I do know that it is DELICIOUS!!  I adapted my recipe from this one.  I used spinach instead of Kale, but feel free to use whichever you prefer.  I used spinach so that I could get my kids to eat it.....they just DON'T like Kale in soup....fruit shakes yes, soup...NO.  I didn't even chop my spinach, just used baby spinach and it cooked up nicely.

Zuppa Toscana
1 pound ground hot sausage
4-5 russet potatoes, chopped (I left skins on)
1 onion, chopped
2 T. minced garlic
32 oz. chicken broth
fresh baby spinach...I added 3 large seems like a lot, but cooks down fast, I wish I had added more.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 T. flour
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
Real bacon bits and Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:  Brown sausage in a medium size pot.  Drain sausage.  Add cooked sausage and onions to pan.  Cook until onions start to brown.  Add garlic, cook an additional 30 seconds.  Add chicken broth and potatoes.  If vegetables aren't covered by the chicken broth, add just enough water to cover them.  Cook until potatoes are tender.  Whisk heavy whipping cream together with flour until there are no lumps.  Stir into soup.  Add spinach, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Cook until the soup starts to thicken, stirring frequently...20-30 minutes.   Serve topped with bacon bits and Parmesan cheese.
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

O'Henry Bars

Quick post...just wanted to share this recipe today.  We loved these at my house!!  Chocolate, peanut butter, oats...what's not to love?  You like that big 'glob' of chocolate/peanut butter on the bar below?  I had a little left on the spoon after I 'smeared' the topping around...I scraped it off and that's where it landed.  Best bite of the batch :)

O'Henry Bars
 2/3 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
3 t. vanilla
4 cups quick oats

1 cup chocolate chips(I used semi-sweet)
2/3 cup peanut butter

Directions:  Cream together butter and brown sugar.  Add corn syrup and vanilla.  Add oats and mix well.  Press mixture into a greased 9x13" pan.  I also lined the bottom of the pan with wax paper to make it easier to get the bars out when they were finished.  Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Melt together chocolate chips and peanut butter.  Spread on cooled bars.  Refrigerate to allow the peanut butter, chocolate chip mixture to harden.  Cut into bars.
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day and THANK YOU to ALL of our service men and women!!

3 of my boys with our FAVORITE Veteran
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Thursday, November 7, 2013

One Skillet Spicy Sausage Pasta

My family LOVED this dish!!  I found this recipe here at Kevin and Amanda's blog.  It is SO simple and I love that you only dirty one pan :)  The recipe calls for a can of Rotel tomatoes, but I just used a can of store brand petite diced tomatoes with green chili.  Because we LOVE green chili around here...I also added extra.


One Skillet Spicy Sausage Pasta

1 tbsp oil
1 lb smoked sausage, chopped
1 diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chili, Mild (I used store brand diced tomatoes w/green chili)
1/4 cup chopped green chili, optional
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz Gemini pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Directions:   Heat oil in an oven-safe skillet(I LOVE a good cast iron skillet) over medium high heat until HOT.  Add sausage and onions, cook until light brown, approx 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook an additional 30ish seconds.  Add broth, tomatoes, green chili, cream, pasta, salt and pepper.  Stir together.  Bring to boil, cover skillet and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer until pasta is tender, approx. 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese.  Top with remaining cheese and broil until cheese is melted, bubbly and beginning to brown.
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Green Chili Salsa Crock Pot Chicken

You like that name?  Didn't really know what to call this....but I do know that it is DELICIOUS!!  Seriously SO good.  ...and SO easy!  Seriously...dump all the ingredients into the crock pot, cook on low for 5-6 hours and shred...does it get any easier?  This chicken is great for tacos, burritos, served with rice...really just anything :) 

Green Chili Salsa Crock Pot Chicken
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can El Pato (yellow can)
1 bottle of your favorite green salsa (can't remember what size the jars are...12-16 oz..ish)
1/2 cup chopped green chili

Directions:  Place chicken breasts in crock pot.  Dump in El Pato, green salsa, and green chili.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours(depending on size of chicken breasts and if frozen or thawed), until chicken is completely cooked.  Shred your favorite method to shred meat with a Kitchen  Serve and enjoy!
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Snow Canyon Half Marathon

 We had the GREATEST weekend!!  On Friday we loaded up the truck and took off on a 6 1/2 hour drive to Southern Utah.  Ryan and I registered to run the Snow Canyon Half Marathon and the boys were signed up to run the tuff kids 1 mile run.  We met up with my sister and her family (2 of her kids ran the '1 mile' run too).  My parents also made the drive down from Northern Utah to meet us. We also got to spend some quality time with my Grandma, Aunt and her kids!

Friday night we ate some DELICIOUS pizza from Pier 49 and picked up all the race packets.

The race was beautiful!!  I ran it 5 whole seconds faster than last year :)...1:52.20  I thought I'd do better than that, but started feeling sick around mile 7....SO I didn't finish as strong as I would have liked to...but still it was SO awesome!  Ryan did AWESOME and finished his 1st half in just over 2 hours...2:01.48!!  I think he is hooked and can't wait to run this one again next year :)

The boys and their 2 cousins ran the '1 mile' race that turned into 2 miles.  I guess there was a mix up with the volunteers at the 1/2 mile turn around, so they ended up turning around at one mile.  All the boys (13, 11, 8, 7, and 5) all ran 2 miles, but luckily the little girl cousin (4) got turned around at the right distance.  It's a good thing too, somehow she didn't make it to the race with running shoes and ran in her Toms and got blisters :(  Jake took 1st place overall in that race.

I was going to post a picture of all the runners together, but the only picture that my husband emailed me that I could open was the one of just our family...above. 
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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Strawberries with honey and lime

This is SUPER simple and SO yummy!!  Last week fresh strawberries were on sale for $1 per pound, $1.50 this week.  My kids LOVE strawberries anyway you slice them, but they really like this.

Strawberries with honey and lime

2 lbs strawberries...washed, stems removes and diced
juice of 1/2 lime
2-3 T honey

Directions:  Combine strawberries and lime juice.  Drizzle with honey to taste and stir.
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Homemade Root Beer

This is the perfect recipe for Halloween, or anytime really.  But really...if you have a big witch's cauldron, isn't this the perfect Halloween beverage?

I remember my parents making homemade root beer growing up, but have never made it myself....and it has been a long time since I have had it.  One of our sons had a couple friends over the other night and we decided pizza and homemade root beer sounded good....and the root beer is fun.  You need a 5 gallon insulated drink cooler to make this...or if you don't have one(like me), you can split the ingredients into two smaller ones.

Of course, being the terrible photographer that I am, I forgot to get a picture of the finished product.  I only got this picture at the beginning.  I almost didn't post because of that, but decided to share and next time we make it I will get some better pictures and update :)

Homemade Root Beer
4 lbs. sugar
3.5 gallons of water
1-2 2oz bottle of root beer concentrate (found in grocery stores by the vanilla), I added one bottle and ~1T.
4.5-5 lbs of dry ice
5 gallon insulated drink cooler

Directions:  Combine sugar with one gallon of hot water and stir until the sugar has all dissolved.  Add your root beer concentrate, start with the 2 ounce bottle....after you add all of your water, taste it and add a little extra concentrate...if you like a little stronger root beer taste.  NOW, you want your root beer mixture to be as cold as possible before you add your dry ice, BUT you don't want to add the water then extra ice or you will water down your root beer.  SO I put ice into the container that I was using to measure my water(2 qt pitcher), then filled it to the amount and added it to the warm sugar/root beer water.  Add 2.5 gallons of water, so that you have the total of 3.5 gallons.  If your root beer is cold when you add your dry ice, the dry ice will carbonate your root beer more...does that make sense?  Add your dry ice and give everything a good stir.  Put your lid on the container, loosely.  If you put it on tight, the pressure will make it all explode.  If you leave the lid completely off, your root beer will be flat.  Brew your root beer for approx an hour.  As it sits longer it will become slushy...yummy!!  We left some overnight in our cooler and it was still slushy the next day.

Make sure that you handle the dry ice carefully and with gloves.  If you touch it to bear skin, it will burn you.  If you eat the slush, make sure that it is slush not the actual dry ice.

Also, I would recommend making this outside.

I hope this makes sense.  If you have any questions, leave a comment and I'll try to answer.
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I'm still here....

WOW!!  I can't believe that it has been almost 6 months since I have posted anything!

I have NO good excuses either.

We have had a busy and FUN time during these 6 months and I have just been lazy about posting.

SO....this post will have too many pictures and no recipes, BUT....I do have a recipe to share soon.

We have had birthdays....with birthday cakes

ahh...a teenager in the house :)

My 'attempt' at a pinata cake

This is supposed to be a figure 8 race track for an 8th birthday

We were able to go to Utah to visit family for a few weeks....

I am the WORST about taking pictures while on vacation.  I snapped these on our last day.  I actually made the kids get out of the car to snap some pics with the cousins.  Too bad one of my other sisters and her cutie had just left and we were missing 6 other cousins too....see...SLACKER!!

 While in Utah I ran my 3rd half marathon - not me above :) I ran the American Fork half for the second year in a row.  It was AWESOME!!  And I got a PR by 6 minutes, 11 minutes faster than last year running this race.  Jake(above) and my niece ran the 5k.  I'd add a picture of us all together, but they are on my husband's cell phone.

The boys started school...

 If you know my boys...don't tell them I posted this one - k - :)

So, school started almost 2 months ago....since then we have been doing homework and playing soccer.

We've had a fun 6 months and now I am back to post more regularly...I hope.  If you are still reading, THANKS :)

So, tell me....what have you been up to the past 6 months?
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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pizza Talk (BBQ Chicken w/alfredo and BACON)

i LOVE LOVE pizza!!  Usually when we make pizza we use this Versatile Bread Dough.  The recipe makes a ton, so I use what I need, divide the rest into freezer bags and freeze for next time.

I really LOVE BBQ chicken pizza w/Alfredo..mmmmmmm!!!  My husband's favorite is pepperoni w/sliced jalapenos.  My other boys are split between the two.

A few years ago while I was attending a Scouting Round Table meeting, the guy taught us how to make dutch oven pizza.  It is delish.  He told us that the secret to good pizza is in the cheese.  He used half Provolone and half Monterrey Jack cheese.  The blend is SO yummy!!  It melts SO nice and doesn't 'stretch' and pull all of itself off the pizza as you eat it!  Since that meeting we have changed the way we make pizza in our house :)

My husband likes a thicker crust, but I like to make our pizza with a thin crust so that it is nice and crispy all the way to the middle.  I don't think there are many things that are worse than a soggy pizza crust in the middle of your pie!  Below is how I have found to make the perfect pizza...according to me anyway ;)

The Perfect BBQ Chicken Pizza w/Alfredo Sauce and Bacon

Alfredo Sauce 
Monterrey Jack Cheese ~1/4 of a pound, grated
Provolone Cheese ~1/4 of a pound, grated
2 chicken breasts pounded thin, marinated in Italian Salad Dressing
Your Favorite BBQ Sauce 
Bacon, cut into small pieces, fried and drained of grease

Directions:  Grill your chicken.  Salt and Pepper your chicken, I also sprinkle a little onion powder on it when I am cooking it for the pizza.  When chicken is almost cooked through baste each side with BBQ sauce.  Chop your chicken, add additional BBQ sauce and set aside.  Roll out your dough to desired size of pizza(~1/4-1/2 inch thick), cover with kitchen towel.  Preheat your pizza stone to 475 degrees as you preheat oven, put the pizza stone into cold oven (unless your pizza stone directions say not to preheat).  When the stone is preheated, cover with a small amount of cornmeal.  Transfer dough to pizza stone, coat dough with a thin layer of Alfredo sauce.  Evenly arrange BBQ chicken over Alfredo sauce, we always add a little more BBQ sauce at this point...just drizzle it on.  Top with your grated cheese (mix cheese together first so you have a good mix of both in each bite).  Now add Bacon(obviously in the picture above I just tossed it on, you may want to arrange it more evenly).  If you put your bacon on top of the cheese, the bacon will stay crispy.  Bake at 475 for 13 minutes on the bottom rack of your oven.  Remove and let cool a bit, cut...serve...enjoy!!

Same process for other types of pizza, just different toppings...same cheese :)  

PS, for pepperoni pizza we use Hunt's 4 cheese spaghetti sauce from the can.  Inexpensive and yummy!

PSS, Italian dressing is a SUPER simple...SUPER yummy marinade for grilling chicken!!

Another note....if you don't have a pizza stone, round cake pans work SO well for making pizza.  Just spray a little cooking spray in the bottom, add a dusting of corn meal, dough and toppings.  When we used to use the cake pans, I would put my topping clear to the edge of the pizza.
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Monday, May 6, 2013

Versatile Bread Dough

Today I am going to share with you a bread dough recipe that I use to make lots of yummy food :)  It makes A LOT of dough.  Enough for 6 or 7 loaves of bread.  You can also use it for rolls(If I am making rolls, I usually use THIS recipe..unless I am in a hurry and have some of this in the refrigerator already) and pizza dough.  I usually make a batch, use part of it for pizza or whatever and then divide the dough into bags to freeze for later.

You will need a large mixer to make this recipe.  I use a Bosch.  Or...if you are ambitious, you could always mix by hand.

This week I will share the recipes or processes to make the yummy stuff in the bottom picture.

Versatile Bread Dough
3/4-1 cup sugar (depends on how sweet you like your dough, I usually do 3/4)
3 T yeast
6 1/2 cups warm water
2 T salt
3/4 cup oil
~16-20 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:  Add the sugar and yeast to the warm water and let sit until the yeast starts to bubble.  Add oil and 5 cups of flour, mix.  Add salt, mix.  Add enough flour to make a soft, but not too sticky dough..when the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the mixer.  Knead in mixer for 5-6 minutes, or knead by hand.  Put the dough into a large greased bowl and cover until doubled, 45-60 minutes(if making bread or rolls).  I like to cover my dough with Saran wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray and then with a towel, so the dough doesn't stick to the towel.  Form into bread loaves or rolls, place into greased pans.  Cover and let rise again until doubled, 30-60 minutes.  Bake at 350 until golden brown(mine usually takes 30-35 minutes, but it may depend on altitude, loaf size and your oven).  Take out and butter tops.  I let mine sit in a pan on a cooling rack for approx 5 minutes and then remove the bread from the pan and let cool on the cooling rack or a towel.  If you leave it in the pan for too long, it will begin to 'sweat' and then it will be 'wet' on the bottom of your loaf when you take it out.

Note:  If you are going to freeze this and then make it into bread....remove from freezer, let thaw on counter until room temperature.  Form into loaves or rolls, let rise until doubled in size and proceed as above.

Top left: Pepperoni pizza(obviously :)), Top right:  BBQ chicken pizza with Alfredo and bacon, Bottom left:  Pull-apart cinnamon bread, Bottom right:  Cinnamon pizza pizza(inspired by Papa John's Cinnapie)
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Apple Pie Fruit Leather

Several months ago, I was talking to a friend about APPLES.  I had a few boxes of apples that I needed to take care of.  I told her that I would be making applesauce or freezing them(more on that later).  I told her I wasn't going to make anymore apple pie filling to bottle, because I still has so many bottles from the last time I had a lot of apples.  I just don't make more than one or two apple pies per year.

She told me that another friend of ours makes apple pie fruit leather, by using the bottle apple pie filling.  SO, I talked to our friend and she said that she bottles her apples w/out the pie seasonings and then just adds them when she makes the fruit leather.  Since I already has 'pie filling' that I had bottled, I'll tell you how I made the leather :)

Apple Pie Fruit Leather

32 oz apple pie filling (I'm sure any fruit pie filling would be equally delicious)
Directions:  Puree pie filling in blender or food processor until smooth.  Spread an even layer of puree onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper(to make it easier to remove when finished).  Place in oven at 150-170 degrees(170 is the lowest my oven will go).  Bake for 6-8 hours, or until it fills sticky, but not wet.  Mine took a few hours longer to cook, because I had two pans in the oven.  Cooking time will also vary depending on the amount of liquid in the pie filling, or how 'wet' it is...make sense?  Let cool completely.  Roll up and cut into strips.
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Crispy Southwest Wraps

I found this recipe at Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  Mel used chicken in her wraps, but I had some bottled beef in the pantry that I used.  These wraps are SO good.  If you have some canned or bottled chicken or beef they are very simple and FAST to put together.  We really LOVED these!!

Crispy Southwest Wraps

1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (or other leftover meat, like shredded pork or beef)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cups shredded cheese
Sour cream (optional)
6 burrito-sized flour tortillas

Directions:  Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla.  Optional: I like to spread a little sour cream over the tortilla before I sprinkle with cheese and  before arranging the chicken and rice mixture down the center – it makes the wraps delightfully creamy.) Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open and slightly flatten the wraps with the palm of your hand. Spray seam-side of the wrap lightly with cooking spray.

Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute(I used my cast iron skillet). Arrange wraps, seam-side down, in pan or griddle and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Cooking them seam-side down first helps seal the long edge so they don’t fall apart. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve warm.
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Monday, March 4, 2013

Steak Pizza

 Have you ever had steak pizza?  We had some old neighbors that come over and ate homemade pizza with us one night.  They told us about steak pizza.  We tried it and LOVED it!  

Steak Pizza

Pizza dough
Thinly sliced steak, seasoned as desired and cooked
sauteed onions, and bell peppers(optional)
grated Monterrey Jack cheese
grated Provolone cheese
A1 sauce or your favorite steak sauce

Directions:  Roll our pizza dough to desired shape and thickness.  Spread steak sauce on dough.  Top with steak, onions, bell peppers and half Monterrey Jack cheese/half Provolone cheese.  Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.  I bake mine on my pizza stone at 425 degrees for 14-16 minutes.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Crock Pot Chicken Ranch Tacos

This is another recipe that I found on Pinterest.  My family LOVED this and it was very easy!!  This recipe was adapted from the skillet Chicken Ranch Tacos at Do You Smell That!!?

Crock Pot Chicken Ranch Tacos

2 pounds raw chicken (not frozen)
1 packet dry Ranch dressing
1 packet chicken taco seasoning
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth

Directions:  Combine all ingredients in the crock pot and cooked on low for 3 hours.  Shred chicken and cook on low for another 30 minutes.  Assemble taco as you desire.  I always spread my sour cream on my tortilla first when I make tacos...that way I have sour cream in every bite, instead of a few bites with big spoonfuls.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Crock Pot Cheese Tortellini Soup

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and had to try it.  It comes from Little Fellows.  This is my new FAVORITE soup!!  I love how easy it is!  I am modifying the recipe by recommending adding the spinach during the last hour, so that it will stay green and not turn brown, but it tastes fine either way.  I actually added some at the beginning, but couldn't fit it all.  I added the rest during the last hour, that is why you can see some green spinach and some that is brown'ish'.

Crock Pot Cheese Tortellini Soup

1 bag of frozen tortellini (10-12 oz)
1 small bag of fresh spinach
2 cans of Italian style diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 box or 4 cups or chicken broth
1 block of cream cheese (8 oz), cut into cubes
1 lb. of roll(ground) sausage (I used hot)

Directions:  Brown the sausage and put all ingredients(except spinach, if you want it to stay green) in crock pot. Cook on low for 3-4 hrs.  If you don't add the spinach at the beginning, add it ~1 hour before serving.  If the 'sauce' is too thin, leave the lid off during the last 1/2 hour of cooking and it will thicken slightly.  I topped mine with some grated Parmesan cheese.
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fresh Orange Smoothie ("orange julius")

I LOVE Orange Julius'.  Right now we have a lot of fresh YUMMY oranges, so I went looking for a recipe to make an Orange Julius, using fresh oranges.  I found this recipe at gimme some oven and it is delicious!!  We have already made it several times.  My kids beg for it!  It is quick, easy and healthy...three of my favorite things:)

If you have oranges with a lot of seeds, I would try to get most of them out.  A couple of seeds will be okay, but too many and your smoothie will be a little bitter.

Fresh Orange Smoothie ("orange julius")

4 fresh oranges, peeled
2 cups ice
1/3 cup milk (your preference – regular, soy, coconut, etc.)
2 Tbsp. honey (or agave nectar, or sugar) – optional 
1 tsp. vanilla
zest of 1 orange

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Add more ice if you would like.

**Ali at gimme some oven suggests that you pop the peeled oranges in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to making these. So that they’re not thoroughly frozen, but definitely chilled and beginning to freeze. Then you can use slightly less ice. :)
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Friday, February 1, 2013

Steak Bites

I found this recipe at The Pioneer Woman blog.  We really like these.  I am not very good at grilling steaks, so I leave that to my husband, but these...I can make :)  Easy and delicious!

Steak Bites

1 pound Sirloin Steak (without Much Gristle) Or Pre-cut Beef Tips 
Kosher Salt To Taste 
Fresh Ground Black Pepper To Taste 
2-4 Tablespoons Butter

Trim off the large obvious piece of fat that runs along the side of the meat. Next, cut strips less than 1-inch wide. Rotate the meat and cut into small bite-sized pieces. If you see any more large chunks of fat, gristle or long silvery membrane, cut them off.

Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss the meat around a bit to thoroughly coat with the seasonings.

Next, turn on your ventilation fan overhead. Heat the skillet over medium high to high heat. As the pan heats, add about 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet. Allow the butter to melt, then brown, before you add the meat.
Place some of the meat in the pan in a single layer. It should sizzle loudly when it hits the pan – if it doesn’t, the pan isn’t hot enough. Don’t stir or disrupt the meat for 30-45 seconds. You want it to sizzle and brown on one side. Scoop as many steak bites as you can with your spatula and flip them over. Repeat until all the meat is turned.  Cook for an additional 30 to 45 seconds—just long enough to sear the outside of the meat but NOT cook the inside.

Remove the meat to a clean plate. Add a little more butter to the pan and repeat the cooking process with the next batch just as before. Lastly, when all the meat is nicely browned and removed to the plate, pour all that browned/blackened butter all over the meat. And enjoy!
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Friday, January 18, 2013

Orange-Berry Smoothie

I know this picture is terrible, but I'm telling you....this smoothie is delicious!!  I found the recipe here.  The recipe says to remove the pith, but when I put oranges in smoothies, I remove only the orange peel part and leave as much of the pith as possible.  Because....

"The white part of the rind, including the pith, has nearly the same amount of vitamin-C as the flesh and contains sources of pectin. Pectin is a soluble dietary fiber with potential to lower serum cholesterol, relieve diarrhea, act as an immune system stimulant and as anti-ulcer agent.

The pith, part of the protection layer for the orange, contains high levels of fiber, anti-cancer agents and important bioflavonoids (an antioxidant). So next time when you have an orange, think twice about peeling off those healthy beneficial white piths."  source

Orange-Berry Smoothie

2 navel oranges, peel and pith removed, cut into chunks
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen raspberries

Directions:  Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.
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Friday, January 11, 2013

Six-Layer Brownie Bars

Mmmm...I LOVE brownies!!  I got this recipe from Betty Crocker.  I had to modify the recipe because I didn't have a box of Betty Crocker® Original Supreme Premium brownie mix.  I had a Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Family size box of brownie mix.  So....I'll post the original recipe below and then note the changes I made below that :)

Six-Layer Brownie Bars Recipe


 1 box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker® Original Supreme Premium brownie mix
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 egg
2/3 cup coconut
2/3 cup toffee bits
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated), from 14 oz can* 

Directions: Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 9-inch square pan with cooking spray or shortening. (For easier cutting, line pan with foil, then grease foil(I used Parchment paper) on bottom only of pan.) 

In large bowl, stir brownie mix, pouch of chocolate syrup, butter and egg until well blended. Press into pan. Bake 14 minutes (16 minutes for dark pan). 

Top with coconut, toffee bits, chocolate chips and pecans. Drizzle evenly with condensed milk to within 1/2 inch of sides. Bake 35 to 39 minutes longer or until center is set, (37 to 41 minutes for dark pan or until and center is light golden brown). Cool completely, about 2 hours. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. 

NOTES:   I used a Pillsbury chocolate fudge family size brownie mix (19.5 oz).  Because it doesn't come with a 'pouch of chocolate syrup', I added a 1/4 cup of hot fudge sauce that I had in the fridge.  I also covered the brownie bars for the first 15 minutes of the '2nd' baking time.  I didn't want the top to brown too much.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

My favorite SIMPLE Spaghetti

I seriously LOVE this spaghetti!!  This recipe is slightly adapted from The Lettered Cottage.  This recipe has a few simple ingredients and I LOVE that I can use my tomatoes that I bottled during the fall.  I saw this recipe in October and have already made it several times:)  Usually when I make this, the sauce is a little on the thin side(probably because I never wait the full 30 for it to simmer), but I actually like it like that because I can soak it up so nicely with my garlic bread or bread sticks.

My favorite SIMPLE Spaghetti

5 c. water
1 env. dry Lipton onion soup
8 oz. package of spaghetti
1 lb. ground chuck or turkey (I love it with ground turkey)
garlic salt
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
2 - 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes (I use 1 quart of bottled garden tomatoes)

Directions:   Brown meat, drain, and return to skillet.  Sprinkle with garlic salt and add oregano and sweet basil. Purée tomatoes in blender and add to meat mixture. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering....bring water with Lipton onion soup to a boil.  Add spaghetti and cook uncovered according to package directions, until tender. Do not drain spaghetti.

Add meat sauce to spaghetti and mix well
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cafe Rio Shredded Sweet Pork

I got this recipe here from Favorite Family Recipes.  I have another Cafe Rio Sweet Pork recipe on the blog here.  The other recipe is super simple with only a few simple ingredients.  I wish I could tell you which I like better, but I really can't.  I think this recipe may be a little closer to the Cafe Rio original, but the other is SO simple and also SO delicious :) 

Whichever pork recipe you choose to try, you should definitely serve it with these black beans, and this dressing(we add the dressing, to a sweet pork salad or to a burrito...either way)....SO good!  I also have a recipe for rice that is like what they serve at Cafe Rio.  I thought I had posted it here already, but I guess not.  That will be coming soon:)

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

2 pounds pork (I use pork tenderloin)
3 cans Coke (NOT diet)
1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can diced green chilies
3/4 (10oz) can red enchilada sauce
1 c. brown sugar


Put the pork in a heavy duty Ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight.

Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don't let it get TOO dry) or on low for 8 hours. Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork.

In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.

Put shredded pork and sauce in crock pot and cook on low for 2 hours. That's it!

*I prefer to cook my pork on low until it shreds easily 6-8 hours.  Cooking the pork more slowly tends to work better for the tenderloin.  In the original recipe the blogger says that she uses boneless pork rib meat, I use the other because I can usually get it on sale for a good price.  If you use a tenderloin, it will become easy to shred, be patient.  I have tried to rush it before and it was tough to shred, still cooked through and yummy, but didn't look as good as when I wait for it to start falling apart:)

 **We don't really drink much soda at our I just buy on 2-liter of coke and use that for the recipe...I think that is cheaper than buying individual cans of coke.  One can of coke is 12 measure from your 2-liter accordingly.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ruby's Creamed Corn

We were asked to bring two side dishes and a dessert for Christmas dinner last week.   We decided to take stuffed mushrooms, creamed corn and S'mores bars.  I found the recipe for the creamed corn here at bluebonnets + brownies.  Everyone LOVED the corn (and the others too:)).  The best part about this recipe, other than the taste, is that you make it in the crock pot.  Very easy and very delicious!

Ruby's Creamed Corn

4 lbs. frozen sweet corn
2 8 oz blocks cream cheese, diced into 1 inch squares
1 stick (4 oz) of salted butter
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Directions:  Throw all the ingredients into a crock pot on medium or low for at least 4 hours. If you need it done faster, cook it on the stove or on high in the crock pot, but be prepared to sacrifice a little of the savory goodness that results when corn is allowed to soak in dairy for hours. All of the cream cheese pieces should be completely melted and will easily break down and combine with the cream and butter to make the ‘gravy’.

Do not over-salt. There is plenty of salt in the butter and cream cheese. Over-salting will ruin this dish.
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