Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hello long lost friends.....

I'M BACK....

Well sort of at least. We have had a great summer and if you are following me on Pinterest you have seen some of it :)

Well the kids are in school now--yeah--and we are starting to get back in the routine of things and I have finally come to a decision. 

I will not be starting back up in the fall. I have thoroughly enjoyed the time off and am feeling great. Since it's working so well now I want to keep it up. At least through the school year.

The blog will stay open, you can access all your favorite recipes but I will not be posting.

Thanks for your understanding and know that I am in a new chapter of my life and I want to make it great right now. I am embracing my life, the good and the bad and loving it for what it is.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Time to get a little personal...

I am going to make this short and sweet but this lady has got to take a break.

After lots of pondering, evaluating, and talking with the hubs (and lets face it--some crying--because I have pored my heart and soul into this blog for 4 years now and it's become something I am quite proud of and something that I really enjoy) I am taking the summer off. For several reasons.

One: I have been having some more health problems (nothing major but ones that need my attention right now). And the way I have to deal with it is by my diet. Besides cutting out the gluten, I am off refined sugars and soon dairy. Which means we are eating drastically different at this house. Which also means it's really hard to make "normal" food to post on my blog when I need to be eating very different.

Two: my kids are getting older and they need me around, especially in the summer when they are home all day. I spend 3-4 hours Monday through Friday working on recipes, photography, editing, networking, web design, and the list goes on but right now my kids need that 3-4 hours. They need me to be present and also to pay attention to them, which is pretty hard when I'm staring at a computer screen all morning. 

Three: Blogging has been a huge part of my life and I really do love it but I just want to make something for the sake of feeling like it. Not because I need to post it or because a certain holidays coming up or because someone wants it. I am tired of trying to find that perfect combination of when to post on facebook, how to get my stats up, how to draw more people in, what social media you all want, and the list goes on. So my friends I am tired and burned out from this and need a break.

Four: several things that I'm not ready to divulge to the world.

 I would love for you to keep printing out recipes because it will stay open and active and I will be checking in from time to time. If I find something that I can't live without I will probably let you know but in the mean time, make some yummy food for your family. And look for me in the fall with an update.

Thanks again for all your supoort!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Soft Chocolate Sugar Cookies

I think everyone NEEDS another chocolate cookie in their recipe books.

Don't you think?

Seriously, one can never have too many chocolate cookies really ever in their life. 

We are big sugar cookie fans at this house and I LOVE my sugar cookie that was handed down to me from my grandmother but I haven't really found a chocolate sugar cookie that I have really loved.  I was very pleasantly surprised by this little beauty.  It was soft, chewy, moist and oh so chocolately.  Perfect I'd say for a cookie.  

Soft Chocolate Sugar Cookies

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
14 tbsp butter
1 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with Silpat liner or parchment paper and set aside.

2. Pour granulated sugar in a shallow dish like a pie plate and set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder.

3. In a large bowl, melt 10 tablespoons of the butter in the microwave, until just melted. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter until melted. Allow the butter to cool for 5-10 minutes (it should be about 90-95 degrees on an instant read thermometer). After the butter has cooled whisk in the brown sugar, vanilla and salt until completely smooth. Whisk in the egg and egg yolk and stir until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.

4. Roll the dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons for each cookie. Roll the balls in the granulated sugar and place on prepared baking pans. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten the cookies to about 1/4-inch thick, but not get too thin. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a bit more granulated sugar.

5. Bake cookies until they have puffed and have cracks running through the top, about 11-14 minutes. Don't overbake or the cookies will be dry and hard. Transfer the cookies to a baking rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

 Almost every time I make a new recipe for the kiddos I always get the same comments over and over again. 

They go something like this:
"That looks gross" or "I don't like [insert whatever I happen to be making]" or "I'm sure I'm not going to like that" and the list goes on.

Most of the time I try to have something nice to say to them about it or just ignore it but sometimes that is the frosting on the cake and mom goes over the edge. Several weeks ago we had a particularly bad week with it.

I finally told them, "do you really think I try to make things you don't like?" And to give them credit almost every single time they try something new they actually like it .

Heck I have several kids that realized they like asparagus and cauliflower and bacon all because they tried something new. So to get over our bad week I decided to make something "new" that I knew that all of them would love. 

They loved this pasta. It was simple and easy to throw together but had a fantastic combination of flavors. I didn't get one negative comment which totally made my day!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

(click here for printable version)

10-12 oz  pasta (like penne)
2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped (canned works awesome)
3/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1/3 cup ranch dressing
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Cook pasta according to its package's directions. Drain and toss in cooked chicken and bacon.

2. To make the sauce, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.  When completely melted add flour and stir to combine.  Slowly pour in heavy cream and stir constantly until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in Garlic salt, onion powder and ranch dressing until well combined.

3. Pour ranch alfredo over pasta, chicken and bacon. Stir to evenly combine. Add shredded cheddar cheese and stir until completely combined. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Serve and enjoy!

Source: Chef-in-Training

Monday, April 29, 2013

Frosted Peanut Butter Cookies

Spring is in full swing at this house. Hence (why I forgot to post last Friday--sorry peeps but sometimes this momma has got to go play!)

We have been busy planting our garden, pulling weeds, fertilizing the bushes, taking walks, watching three versions of "Willy Wonka" all in one week, and just playing.

It's been wonderful. And we have loved every minute of it.

One day though the kids were craving some cookies so we decided to make some together. And since peanut butter and chocolate are always the best thing in this house (and this girl has been dying to make these beauties) we made amazing cookies.

Wow! These are probably one of my favorite cookies yet. The combination of the two frostings on top were TO.DIE.FOR. No one could stay out of them and needless to say, they soon got carted off for other people to enjoy because this house had already eaten half the batch. 

You should totally make them today! 

Frosted Peanut Butter Cookies

(click here for printable version)

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
3 1/4 cups flour
1 (12 oz.) bag Reeses Peanut Butter chips (No substitutes)

Peanut Butter Frosting:
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. powdered sugar
milk, to reach desired consistency

Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. powdered sugar
milk, to reach desired consistency

1. To make the cookies, preheat oven to 350°F .  Line baking pan with Silpat liner or parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Cream together butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Add vanilla and eggs and mix well.  Add the flour and peanut butter chips and mix just until no dry streaks remain. Scoop dough into 2-inch balls and place on prepared cookie sheets and bake for 12-13 minutes or until set.  Cool completely.

3. To make peanut butter and chocolate frosting. Combine ingredients in separate bowls and whip until frosting reaches your desired consistency. When cookies are cooled, frost with peanut butter frosting,  then frost on top of the peanut butter frosting with the chocolate frosting, being careful to leave a small space between the edge of the two frostings to give it a layered look.

Source: Chef-In-Training via Eat Cake for Dinner

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