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Ever Seen A Bald Cake?

Well, I have. I actually made one this past weekend. Did I set out to make a bald-headed cake? No. Did I think for some reason the recipe wouldn’t walk me into a disaster? Yes. So why didn’t I flour the pan, you ask? Simple..I thought the baker who wrote the instructions knew something I didn’t. Don’t you hate when you know something should be done, but trust the print? I shall never again. A lot went into that cake–5 eggs, 3 sticks of butter, 4 zested lemons…and a bunch more stuff. Not to mention time. Then to have the top fall off…to not exit the pan when I flipped it. Come on Ree!

I made 3 recipes from the newest issue of her magazine, The Pioneer Woman. Mom bought it for me at the bookstore. The cake I mentioned was a lemon pound cake. Now it was good…but it was missing its top. I didn’t even bother with making the icing. Why? I called it the ugly cake. 

On to the next recipe I tried. The meatloaf. I’ve not ever wrapped my meatloaf before, so this was something new. It also called for A LOT of carrots. Okay, so 2. But it was enough to get some turned up noses from my vegetable challenged children. How can you possibly hide all these bright colored strings hanging out in each slice? The taste? It was okay. Nothing I swooned about. In fact, I felt I wasted a pound of bacon, as it wasn’t really that good to eat as a garnish. It was floppy and fatty. I like extremely crispy bacon. My grandma would fry me 6 pieces at night when I said I was hungry. I remember getting a stink eye from my mother when I’d say ‘yes, please make it!!’

Then comes the potato casserole. It was a creamy baked one, topped with chives, sort of like au gratin potatoes. But unlike the dehydrated ones found conveniently in a box that you shake the cheese on and bake for 20 minutes, I slivered 5 russets, sautéed the onion garlic and mixed with a block of cream cheese. It baked for 90 minutes!! And yes, I started it after 4:30 on a school day. We ended up eating at almost 7 that night. It was a bit cheesy for me. I’m not into all the cheese. My family claimed they like it, though. Of course they did. They’d waited hours to eat it! Their bellies would’ve liked the peelings at that point! 

So there you have it. I got the book and made 3 recipes within 3 days. Not to mention I grated my finger. Not the cheese, but the finger. And it was on the knuckle. Hard to mend in that area. Especially with washing and bending it. I will survive! And I will make more of her recipes. I’ll just remember to add the flour and hold back on the cheese!

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It’s that time again!

Yes, that’s right! It’s Christmas in July. I can’t explain it…maybe it’s the Hallmark movie marathon withdrawal finally catching up to me, but this month I strangely watch Christmas movies. My kids think I’m crazy. We just watched Elf, and Hitched for the Holidays during dinner! LOL And the weather was a pleasant 97 degrees. Hehe.

I made baked cornflake chicken for dinner. It’s a fav around here. I let the chicken tenders soak in buttermilk, salt, pepper, and paprika for a few hours. Then I press crunched up cornflakes, onion powder, and garlic powder on them, bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, and viola! Happy campers. And they’re healthier than fried. Which is what we usually do. They don’t call my husband fry-daddy for nothing. Last night we ate fried green beans. They were yuuuummmmmy. He makes a beer batter and lathers them up in sesame seeds. Gracious, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

I somehow irritated my back last night while typing in bed. Today has been a challenge bending over for things. Am I that unable to sit crooked for an hour without downing Advil the next day and walking with a limp? Yikes. Call AARP for me, someone! No offense, Mom if you’re reading this. However, I feel about 18 years old in my head. Okay, maybe 30. I’ve had some kids escape these loins. That accounts for a couple years. Speaking of kids…I’m thinking of adopting. I’ve always wanted to. Why not now? If anyone has anything to weigh in on this, please let me know. I never shy away from hearing and learning from someone else’s experiences. My first reaction to really finding out more in depth what’s involved is the price. Holy schnikes! If those poor children only knew how many people couldn’t adopt based on that fact alone, it would depress the whole lot. Why should we make a profit for locating a forever home for children? I say yes, there has to be a home study, and yes, there has to be a fee for paperwork, but really? Thousands? These people need to consider how much money goes into raising a child.

Okay, slight turn in conversation. I wasn’t finished with my meal talk. I made a coconut cream cake for dessert tonight. Super duper easy. It was a poke cake. So I made a white cake, baked it for 30 minutes, got it out and poked it to death. Then I mixed coconut milk and sweet condensed milk and poured it on top. Oh, did I mention, I added coconut extract to white cake before baking–you know, to give it that taste. 🙂 Then I refrigerated said poked cake, with concoction soaking into it, and whipped some fresh cream. I only let the cake cool for a couple hours. You’re supposed to overnight…as if. Don’t they know I don’t read instructions until I get the cake batter poured in the pan, with this being the only thing for dessert…TONIGHT! Then I spread the whipped cream and sprinkled a little of the flakes on top. I must say, it was tasty. My youngest, handing me his empty plate, said “you know I don’t like coconut.” Funny boy. His empty plate. Okay.

I’m off now to continue writing my Sarah series. This is the last book, you know. Something pretty spectacular better come out of my brain tonight. After much deliberation, I’ve decided on my next male character….Drumroll please…

 

 

This guy shouldn’t be too difficult to write. It was either him or Richard Gere. I wanted a bit of flavor in the third book, so I chose Javier. He’s just moved to the small town of Calvert, where Sarah lives. Little does he know, life in a fish bowl is much more interesting than New York City!

Off to my imaginary world, folks! Have a great one. 🙂

 

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New Recipe Weekend

Half the battle is going to the store, buying the food, and carrying it inside once you get home. The other half…cleaning up. Baking and cooking, however, I have no problem with. As long as I’m in the mood. And I’m pretty sure I was in the mood this weekend. If I had planned to do a lot of cooking, I’d have dreaded it like a trip to the “lady” doctor, but I woke up wanting to experiment with something new. Not everything went as planned.

Saturday I did the deed and went to the store. Actually it gets hairy before the store. I actually have to have a plan, look for recipes, and commit. So I did all that, came home and began. I didn’t sit down until Sunday night, about now! At least that’s how it seemed. I digress…Saturday morning I made chocolate chip muffins. Nothing big, nothing new. It was there before I went to the store, so I popped them in the oven. For lunch I made tacos. But not like that. Not like the box kit. Nope, I was adventurous. I did up the spices, added some chili beans, and viola..it was a keeper. Of course my daughter does not eat these, so a hamburger is what she ate. Also the tacos had 1/2 beef, 1/2 turkey. I kept this to myself…my kids don’t do well with too many changes. The beans alone were enough to traumatize them.

For dinner came Penne pasta with creamy vodka sauce. Luckily I had a trial sized bottle of Absolute in my fridge. I used sweet Italian sausage for this, with sides of cheddar biscuits, salad, and fresh roasted asparagus. Beware of stinky pee! My youngest and I are the only one who will eat this. He stands at the oven and pulls them out by the handfuls and stuffs his face!

Sunday morning was pumpkin spice pancakes and oven-made bacon. Can I just stop the presses for a moment and proclaim that if you’ve never had bacon made in the oven, do it. Just do it. Trust me when I say, my eyes, along with my family’s eyes, rolled back in their heads. YUMMMMMMMY. And the pancakes were pretty spectacular, too. (I only take credit for following the recipe…meaning the recipe was a keeper). Very filling, and my 2nd son put a dollop of whipped cream on his. I didn’t see his eyes come back around after this trick was performed. 🙂 Lunch was Italian subs, stacked high with all the fixings.

For dinner…and this was the not-so-great moment of the weekend. Italian pot roast. It missed. Not that I did anything to destroy it. It baked for 9 hours, had fresh rosemary spread on top, and slits of fresh garlic wedged on both sides. It melted in your mouth, but the taste? Meh. Not a keeper. Luckily I served it with buttery mashed potatoes and the taste was masked if you mixed the both together. And of course, I forgot to mention, I made a fresh blueberry pound cake on Saturday. So this was a munched on treat for the weekend.

I’m stuffed just writing about this weekend’s plan of attack on our bellies. It’s over, and they’ll be doing good if they get frozen pizza and chicken nuggets for dinner this week. Just kidding, I’ll try my best. It’s not that easy to think of new things.

Peace out, and have a great week! 😉

 

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Korean BBQ Beef

koreanIt’s quite a feather in my cap when I’m able to please the picky taste buds of seven people … at the same time. So when I venture out with a new recipe it’s with held breath and searching eyes, watching what they’re doing as their jaws flap up and down. Do they like it? Will I be making an emergency hot hog or frying an egg sandwich for the disgruntled ones? Will I be filling the dog’s bowls with cuisine from a failed attempt? (Poor guys)

This dish last night was a huge success. I’ll ignore my daughter’s comment that it tasted fine but was a little weird.

My best friend throughout my childhood was Korean. Her mother owned a grocery store in the neighborhood and was very new to America. It was ultra cool in sharing snacks with my bestie at school. I couldn’t read one label on those tasty little gems, but I loved it all. It was like I was visiting another country when I went to her house. From decorations to the smells of what was cooking in the kitchen. I definitely couldn’t hang with the spicy, though. Peppers? My eyes watered just imagining them beside my lips. But she and her family could drink the spicy:)

When I ran on to this recipe it made me think fondly on my childhood memories with her. We have since moved on and don’t keep up with each other. But memories are forever.

This concoction was so easy I felt guilty allowing my peeps to think I’d worked on it for longer than twenty minutes. Really … twenty. So this is what you do:

Take this ingredients and mix together in a Ziplock bag:

  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 3 chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Then I sliced 2 pounds of boneless top sirloin in to 1/4 inch slices (although the recipe called for boneless ribeye steak) and smooshed it in the bag with all the lovely sauces. I massaged it a few times then set it in the fridge for 25 minutes.

After which time I put my skillet on high heat and began adding the marinated slivers, heating each side for 3 minutes, or until cooked through. I placed the delectable treat next to a bed of yellow rice and rolled my eyes backward while eating it. The flavor was robust and pleasing. Extremely satisfying. As though dinner was fully engaged:) I served cold pear halves on the side and it was all super easy to clean up. (Important fact!)

I got five thumbs up and one on the half-way mark. My pickiest eater will never admit to liking anything, but the proof was in his empty plate.

I hope you try it and have similar results. And I hope I don’t forget this one myself, when next month I’m banging my head on the counter wondering what to fix for dinner! It happens:)

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Trying New Things

s.livingI love trying new things. In fact I try so many foods that it’s difficult to keep them all organized. Which only proves to disappoint my family when I can’t make the sausage dish with the Penne pasta again. You see I have a teeny tiny memory and sometimes I’ll cook something that makes everyone smile and say “it’s a keeper.” And then the kitchen gets cleaned and the recipe gets lost. Or rather closed up in the magazine where I found it or folded and put in a drawer … not to be seen for months. It’s sad that I know this, yet still do it.

Alas, today I tried these banana nut muffins out of my new Southern Living magazine. I had the butter out getting all room temperature-like, the three eggs sweating on the counter, and the other items all waiting around for their turn in the mixer … when … I discovered the flour canister quite low. Fortunately I had just the right amount, 3 1/4 cups. Unbelievable:)

Anyway, I followed it to the letter and viola! They tasted rather good if I say so myself. In fact everyone else liked them, too. The icing consisted of a bar of cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of honey, and a dash of cinnamon. Yummy! I had to make shift a Ziplock bag for the sleeve to pipe it on and slightly inside the top hole, but it worked.

Two thumbs up for ease and tastiness. It made me feel like decorating for fall:)

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It’s all in the Sauce

25123754-sauces-collectionI don’t know about you, but I can eat just about anything with a good sauce covering it. Of course, I enjoy foods without the sauce, too. But, sauce is important. For example, I can make any type of dish and as long as I have my trusty honey mustard on standby, my youngest child will eat it. Things that actually make my other children cringe when he covers it with the sauce. But, hey, whatever gets him to eat it, I say!

There are two sauces I make more frequently than others. I would like to share them, today. Have you ever looked at the ingredients of anything on a bottle? Pretty scary stuff. It’s for that reason that I like to make my own. Is it cheaper? Maybe, but not by much. Once you buy all the ingredients that go into them, it might’ve been cheaper to buy the mystery bottle of whatever. And, since when does it save time by making something that you can just pour out of a store bought bottle? But, now I’ve spoiled my children. They won’t eat brand name honey mustard or sweet and sour anymore. I kind of did myself in with making my own. So, without further explanation…

Sweet and Sour Sauce (the type you put on your chicken before baking in the oven)

Mix the following in a medium-sized sauce pan:

  • 1 1/4 c pineapple juice
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let boil 2 minutes before ready to pour over chicken waiting for the oven. It will have turned to a deep red and thickened when ready.

Honey Mustard Sauce (the type you dip everything into…like chicken, fries, and roast beef for my wild child:))

  • 1/2 c mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c mustard
  • 1/4 c honey
  • scant Tbsp rice wine vinegar (I never use quite a full tablespoon)
  • dash of salt

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and refrigerate leftovers. My daughter has started to make our stash in the house so that we never run out!

Enjoy:)