Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'll be back...

I promise. Life has been crazy lately. Most notable is that I've started working. So, I'm really trying to getting into the groove of that again. I apologize and don't worry - I still desire to update this blog. It just hasn't happened lately. But I plan on getting organized, coming up with some new ideas, and getting back to sharing them with you guys on a more regular basis.

Until next time.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crock Pot Freezer Meals

My lack of energy and appetite have led to some pretty dreadful weeks of eating, We were to the point where we were eating almost no produce. Ugh, that's bad. So, I decided to do something about it. I looked into the idea of crock pot freezer meals. The idea is that you prep all of your meals on one day and then they go into the freezer. Then whenever you want them, they're ready to be tossed into the crock pot and cooked! I searched for recipes that sounded good and made sure to pick ones with plenty of veggies in them. Here's what I made this first week and how it turned out. 

Teriyaki Chicken
 This was not pretty once cooked, which I think a lot of crock pot meals end up looking pretty ugly by the end. BUT - it was pretty tasty. Not necessarily my favorite, but good. You can find the recipe HERE.

Beef Fajitas
 These were super tasty and of course you can add whatever topping you'd like or none at all! The only problem is that this dish had a lot of extra liquid. Although that made it very juicy and tasty, it was also VERY messy. Make a fajita bowl maybe? Still good! Find the recipe HERE.

Chicken and Dumplings
Great flavor! The only issue with this is that it stated that you can use almost any biscuit to make the dumplings. I use crescent rounds and they dissolved. It was still delicious, but it was more similar to a chicken pot pie than chicken and dumplings. That's probably my own fault though. Find the recipe HERE.

So, the first week turned out pretty well! We enjoyed everything and of course, some more than others. Oh, also. I cut every recipe in half from the original sources. The original recipes make two freezer bags for each meal, but our freezer space is limited. It was still PLENTY of food. We had leftovers from both the fajitas and the chicken and dumplings.

We have more freezer meals ready to go and I think we'll continue to keep doing this. I'll keep reviewing the recipes that I try on here and maybe I'll even start to come up with my own! 

Until next time.

Monday, January 21, 2013

BLT Pasta Salad Recipe

 This pasta salad is creamy, smokey, and slightly sweet. Oh, and it's downright delicious.


 I have to give credit where it's due for this dressing. I learned how to make it from my step-mom and it has been life changing. So good! In a small bowl you'll need to mix together your mayo, sugar, liquid smoke, and vinegar. Mix until well combined and then stick in the refrigerator until you're done with everything else. You could even make it the day before to let the flavors really sit and blend. 

 Then it's just a matter of getting everything else ready. Cook your pasta, fry up your bacon, and dice your tomatoes and celery. Oh, yeah...where's the lettuce? Well, I thought lettuce wouldn't hold up too well. So, the celery is acting as the lettuce. Same color, crunch, and flavor, right? 

 Once everything is prepped, add your pasta and diced ingredients into a large bowl. 

 Pour on that beautiful dressing and mix away. 

 You can serve it immediately or chill until you're ready to have it. So easy to whip up and the flavor is amazing. I love BLT everything, I've decided. 

Until next time.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Recipe

 Happy New Year! Can you believe it is 2013? So many things happening this year that I always thought seemed so far away. I'm excited to see what the new year brings up. Like this recipe! Good segue, right?

 Gather up your ingredients. 

 The only prep work that you have to do (other than measuring) is dicing up your artichoke hearts. Oh, and thawing your spinach if it is frozen. 

 Other than that, you'll just put all of your ingredients into a bowl and mix until well combined. If your cream cheese is soft then this should be pretty easy to mix by hand if you'd rather do it that way. 

 Place it into a bowl and add your topping. 

 Bake until golden brown and delicious. 

Then scoop some up and enjoy!

1 cup cream cheese
2 cups sour cream 
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
16 oz. spinach - chopped.
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts 
Pepper and salt to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko crumbs

If you using frozen spinach, make sure to thaw and drain well. Dice up the artichoke hearts. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Top with the extra Parmesan cheese and panko crumbs. Place in an oven preheated to 350°F for 20-30 minutes. 

Until next time.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Homemade Baileys

I love being able to figure out how to make a homemade version of an item you might buy. It's fun and handy to know how to make it yourself. Buying a bottle of Baileys might be a little quicker, but a homemade version is always extra special, right? Also, it's REALLY easy. So, go ahead! Make some of this homemade Baileys - which is Irish Cream.

 I would say that this is a good Christmas gift, but I guess I'm a little late for that.  Although, I did give this batch that I made as a gift. Bring it to your New Year's party? Or just make some for yourself as a "you made it through Christmas" reward.

 I apologize for the random posts here and there that don't really fit my normal pattern of blogging. I'm just trying to post as much as I can, when I can. I've been feeling pretty awful still. Nothing new there. I'm sorry if it's a bummer to hear about. I hate having to update people on how I feel especially if it hasn't gotten any better. 

Back to the Baileys! It's delicious and tastes pretty spot on to the real deal. You can easily change up the flavor. Add some peppermint extract or caramel or raspberry.

1 cup Irish whiskey (I used Jameson)
1 cup half & half
14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of prepared (strong, bold) coffee
2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup

Mix all of your ingredients together using a blender, hand blender, or whatever you can get your hands on. Mix until well combined, chill, and enjoy!  

Oh, and I meant to post this picture on Christmas. Too cute not to share even if it is a little late.

Until next time.

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Favorite Holiday Treat: Pecan Bars

 I've been baking like crazy this past week! You'd think I'd have a kitchen full of goodies right now, but between what we've given away and what we've snacked on, it's time to bake some more. 

 The Christmas season is so odd this year. It is the first time I've been away from Indiana around this time of the year and therefore away from my family.  I have been trying to hold on to all things special about this time of the year by still doing it all even if it is just me doing it. 

These pecan bars are definitely my favorite holiday treat. Oh, these are beyond sinful. So buttery. So sugary. BUT SO GOOD! My husband, who is not a nut fan, also loves these. So, I figured I'd share the recipe with you all, so you can enjoy them as well.

Pecan Bars

(for crust)
1 package of yellow cake mix (the kind with pudding in the mix)
1/4 cup melted butter
(for topping)
4 cups pecan pieces
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream 

Mix your melted butter and cake mix together.  Press into the bottom of a jelly roll pan to form a crust. Top with the pecan pieces. Combine all of the other ingredients (except for the heavy cream) into a pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream. Pour over the crust and pecans. Place into an oven preheated to 350°F for 17-20 minutes. Cool completely, cut into squares, and enjoy!

Until next time.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Gift Ideas From Etsy

 Since I've been just laying around quite a bit, I've spent a lot of time Christmas shopping on the Internet. I honestly haven't even been to a single store to actually do any Christmas shopping...not that I've really bought anything online at this point either. What I'm trying to say is that I haven't even started my shopping. Shh! It's gonna be okay. Just say a little prayer for me. However, I did find some fun gift ideas on one of my favorite sites, Etsy. Although there isn't much time left to order a lot of these items, maybe they can still help.

There are a ton of different shops on Etsy that have fun homemade nail polishes. It's a great place to look if you want a new color you might have not seen previously. 

Home brewing has become pretty popular lately. This store sells customized beer bottles that will help making that home brewing experience a little more special. 

Well, if you know someone who loves their pets like I do then you know they'll love this gift.

Just a cute idea for someone who loves to cook or just loves their home state.

Calendars are a go-to idea. So, why not find a really creative calendar? I love this one!
Pfft, it's just cute!

ALSO - Etsy now offers gift cards! So, even if it is a little too late to order some items in time for Christmas, you can always get a gift card for the Etsy lover. I should totally be a spokesperson for Etsy...or am I already?

Until next time.