Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Edition: Kitchen Tip

"Bread rolls!" uploaded to Flickr by jkblacker
Hey there!  I hope you had a great weekend.  I had a three day weekend, and so did the Husband.  It was great to hang out at home for an extra day.  What about you?  Were you "off" yesterday as well?

So recently I have been preparing to host the Toddler's birthday party.  I've been thinking of recipes I want to dry and dishes I know I want to serve.  There won't be a lot of people, but enough to make things hectic and for me to get stressed out. 

In scouring magazines for ideas and recipes, I came across a brilliant idea to save room in the oven.  If you want to keep some bread warm, but don't want to take up room in the oven, turn your slow cooker onto the lowest setting and place your bread in there!  Rolls can stay in there for up to an hour without drying out.  How brilliant is that?  Found it in Better Homes and Gardens!

What are your tips for staying sane while your entertaining?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Edition: Yummy Finds!

Yay!  We made it to Friday.  That was probably the longest week ever.  Between the car dying, buying a new car, the Toddler getting sick, and taking time off from work to tend to the sick Toddler, I can't wait for Friday night!  And it is even better because it is the start of a three day weekend.

Again I was lazy in reaching out to bloggers to feature them on my Yummy Finds.  So instead, I found this one perfect chocolate cake to show you:

Pecan-Laced German Chocolate Cake
This is "Pecan Laced German Chocolate Cake" from Better Homes and Gardens.  Oh, yum!  Even though I have had more than my fair share of sweets this week, this cake is still calling my name.  What about you?

Oh!  And I have delayed sharing with you that Susan at the Weekly Sweet Experiment gave me the Versatile Blogger award!  Thanks so much Susan :)  So now I get to give this award to seven fellow bloggers and I have to tell you seven facts about myself: (1) I have really dark brown hair; (2) I used to run a lot and even did a marathon a week before my wedding; (3) I have been married 7 years; (4) I've known my childhood best friend since 4th grade; (5) I met my college best friend on the first day of orientation; (6) I shouldn't eat cheese, but I do anyway because I love it so much!!! and (7) My new obsession is nail polish.

And the bloggers I would like to give this award to are: (1) Lisa at Two Bears Farm; (2) Frugal in WV; (3) Terri at Terri's Little Haven; (4) Becka at the Elegant Eggplant; (5) Paula at omgnoodles; (6) Aspiring New Moms; and (7) Mary at Barefeet in the Kitchen!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Taco Salad

After all of the sweets I ate for Valentine's day, my body was craving a salad.  Does that ever happen to you, or am I the only one who craves a salad?

But I wanted a salad with substance.  A salad with meat!

Enter the taco salad!  It has meat and beans, but is also loaded with tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and romaine lettuce too.  It can be topped with some freshly grated cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.  But if you are avoiding dairy, those ingredients are easily left out!

Taco Salad
Inspired by Clean Eating's "Taco" Bowl Recipe (Jan/Feb 2012 issue)
For Rice:
2 C brown rice, cooked
4 oz Ro-Tel Tomato Sauce
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp oregano

For "Salad":
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 C water
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 head romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped
juice from 1 lime
1/2 avocado, cubed
optional: sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), grated cheddar or Monterey Jack
Combine the rice with the remaining ingredients in a sauce pan over med-lo heat.  Heat through, and then remove from heat and set aside.

In a large skillet or stock pot, cook the ground beef until brown.  Add onion powder and the next 5 ingredients.  Stir to combine and evenly coat the beef with the spices.  (If desired, add 3-4 T of Ro-Tel Sauce to meat mixture).  Add in the beans and stir in the rice mixture.

Scoop our desired amount of rice and meat mixture and place on dish or in bowl.  Top with lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and avocado cubes.  Serve with sour cream and grated cheese if desired!

Updated: I'm linking up to the linky party at Delightful Order

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Hi there - thanks for all the good thoughts about the Husband's car.  Fortunately, the car did start.  Unfortunately, the mechanic does not know why it started, or what was wrong with the car to cause it to completely die for two full days.  So instead of guessing and spending lots of money trying to get an answer, the Husband drove it to a dealership and traded it in for a new car.  Not what we wanted right now, but we are just going with the flow!

Anyway, I hope you are having a happy Valentine's day!  I am home with the Toddler today.  She has a stomach bug.  Boo.  The poor thing is finally feeling better, but she missed her Valentine's Party at daycare today.  They were going to have all sorts of treats and probably listen to some music and dance.  Oh well, when she feels up to it, she can have one of the brownies I made (you should make them too, they are really good!).

Knock You Naked Brownies!
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman
  • 1 box (18.5 Ounce) German Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans
  • 1/3 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk (additional)
  • 1/2 cup Butter, Melted
  • 60 whole Caramels, Unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, chopped pecans, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and melted butter. Stir together until totally combined. Mixture will be very thick.
  • Press half the mixture into a well-greased 9 x 9 inch square baking pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
  • In a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water) melt caramels with additional 1/2 cup evaporated milk. When melted and combined, pour over brownie base. Sprinkle chocolate chips as evenly as you can over the caramel.
  • Turn out remaining brownie dough on work surface. Use your hands to press it into a large square a little smaller than the pan. Use a spatula to remove it from the surface, then set it on top of the caramel and chocolate chips.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for several hours. When ready to serve, generously sift powdered sugar over the surface of the brownies. Cut into either nine or twelve helpings, and carefully remove from the pan.