I am excited to write about all things I am passionate about...and some, well, that I may not be passionate about. But all things are happening in this LIFE. And, I want to document and have accountablity to living life with intention. And so it goes...

Sunday, January 31, 2010


We had such a fun weekend which surprisingly started out by being home on a Friday evening! After a very busy week, we definitely welcomed this change in our schedule. Good thing too, because the rest of the weekend proved to be rather busy, but lots of fun, all the same.

Ever since she posted the recipe for Restaurant Style Salsa I had been dying to try it. We love salsa over here and frequently have Super Nachos on those "bum around home" kind of nights. When I say Super Nachos I just mean that I basically add taco meat to cheesy chips and make it a meal. So her Restaurant Style Salsa recipe was up for deliberation. Restaurant Style Salsa is very similar to a salsa recipe that I normally make, but with a few added ingredients. We all agreed that Restaurant Style Salsa will replace my normal salsa recipe. It was excellent! Now if only I could find tortilla chips that taste like those from Chili's!!

Have to let you all know about one of my favorite kitchen appliances of all time. I use this almost everyday to make smoothies for Landon and I. And it is very handy when making salsa. It is called a Vitamix--ever heard of them? Does anyone have one and do you use it much? Go here to check them out. Awesome, powerful machines, let me tell you!! I love it. We got ours at Sam's Club on a special promotional deal. Just a little tidbit...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Not over yet...

****Update: The cookie on the left is my recipe and the cookie on the right is PW. And DeAnn, you were RIGHT, the two critics mentioned below want to stick with their old faithful. Sorry PW! I still think your cookies are delicious and will frequently make them too. We love chocolate chip cookies!!

Tonight I had each of the different chocolate chip cookies side by side. That is, one is from PW and one is my recipe. It is up to all of you to figure out which one is which. I heard loud and clear from Steve and Natalie about which cookie they think is the best. Can you figure it out?

So this is what you need to do...

The cookie on the left is _______ The cookie on the right is __________

Steve and Natalie's pick is _________________

Meanwhile, if you are craving some chocolate chip cookies, I have about 8 dozen sitting on my counter needing to be eaten. And if all of these are gone by the end of the week, we have a problem.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fireplaces, Jammies, and Homemade Chicken and Noodles

How many of you are in the rush, rush, rush stage of life with your kids? We are just beginning to get a touch of it here at our house. Lately, basketball seems to have taken over our lives. We are dictated by practices, games, and more practices. We have cousins who we really like to go watch play when we can, in addition to our games and practices, makes for a very full week.

Last night we had a couple of practices and a game to watch. Along with homework, piano lessons, and a little down time, our night was overwhelming to say the least! I am having a hard time understanding why my kids after eating a yummy supper, still arrive at a game and are immediately begging for popcorn! I don't get it?!

Yesterday afternoon I made a really good dish that warmed all of our tummies with this very cold weather we are getting. Homemade Chicken and Noodles were a huge hit with the critics last night. I served them over mashed potatoes and they were all begging for more. Homemade Chicken and Noodles made you just want to curl up in your jammies in front of the fireplace never to go anywhere ever again!!
I used chicken breasts that I had baked ahead of time. So for the broth I used chicken base added to my boiling water. I first used this chicken base when I made the tomato soup a few weeks ago. I have always used chicken bouillon or chicken stock in the past, but there is something about this chicken base that I really love. Check it out the next time you're at the grocery store. I also did not use the Reame's noodles, but a whole wheat egg noodle.

Homemade Chicken and Noodles is a wonderful variation of chicken noodle soup that I am sure your kids will love as much as mine did! I added a ton of carrots to the dish which made it extra good and good for the critics! I also can not end this post without letting you know that I made dinner rolls in my black iron skillet. Not really that "post-worthy" EXCEPT that I made my dough last FRIDAY!! It's almost been a week and the dough was just as good as it was a few days ago. If you have a black iron skillet try making your dinner rolls in it. There is just something about the way it bakes that is just really good. They will go great with your Homemade Chicken and Noodles, a fireplace, and your jammies...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pass the Honey Butter

I searched and searched the website to find the recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits, but couldn't find it. It was a recipe that I made from PW's cookbook and I really thought they were going to be just unbelievable. The dough did not work well, it was kind of dry. And I know I did not roll it out thick enough because these biscuits were about 1/2 inch thick. Talk about U.G.L.Y.!!! I also baked them too long so they were dark.

Nothing turned out well with this recipe. Nothing EXCEPT for the Honey Butter! Oh my goodness, honey butter is so yummy. The honey butter was so yummy that it even disguised the biscuits enough to where the critics thought they were actually good. It wasn't until the next day did we all realize how much we did not like the biscuits.

I am not saying that I made this recipe as it should have been made. The pictures in her book sure did look good, and my biscuits sure did NOT look like the biscuits in the PW cookbook. So I don't know what happened. I may make them again or I may opt for the Grand's! version. We will see. But the honey butter needs to become a staple in this house.

Pioneer Baby in the House!

I have debated whether or not to post what I actually allowed in my home yesterday afternoon. I am also hoping that my husband and the grandparents to my babies do NOT read this. So I am taking a risk here. But, when you have 4 kids and 3 of them have piano lessons right after school, and you are scheduled to go to work by 6 PM, homework has to be done because there's basketball practice that night, and you have to feed your brood---sometimes you do things you would not ordinarily do. I could blame it on my time management, OR I could simply be teaching my young 7 year old life lessons in the kitchen. I choose to look at this as a life lesson. My onions were so close to being done and my other two girls needed to be picked up from piano. Landon was playing football with the neighbor boy, and I have a good friend who is a neighbor of mine that I trust completely. Do you like my justification here? Marlboro Man’s Favorite Sandwich was on the menu tonight and the first step was getting the onions done. (Notice my black iron skillet? )

Kourtney graciously agreed to continue to stir the onions for me so they would not burn while I picked up the other two girls. THERE! I said it. And she did a mighty fine job, I might add. The onions were grilled to perfection 10 minutes later when I arrived home. Luckily for me, there was an extinguisher sitting close to the black iron skillet, see it?

I managed to grab a bite or two of Marlboro Man’s Favorite Sandwich before I left for work. Steve said he and the critics really liked the sandwich. Especially the toasted buttered roll part of them. I thought the meat was a little tough and dry, but I don't think I put enough juice on them and cooked them on a higher heat than I should have. I also added mozzarella cheese to the sandwich which made it extra yummy. Instead of deli rolls, I made rolls out of my cinnamon roll dough I had made last week and it worked super! So there's another use for that dough. I LOVE the convenience of that dough---have you ever heard that before?

And after all of the hub bub surrounding the onions, Landon said he did not care for the sandwich because of the onions...

Oh well, Marlboro Man’s Favorite Sandwich definitely made the list of different menu items for this family. And it's another great use for minute steak if you have it in abundance like we do!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Just Meant to Be...

Over the last week, I have made quite a few different recipes. One recipe called for egg whites. So I had a bowl full of egg yolks in my fridge. Basically, when that happens, I keep them in there for awhile thinking that I will be resourceful and then end up throwing them away. I also have about 1/2 container of sour cream sitting in my fridge. Let's see, what else... Oh, I bought cake flour thinking I would make a certain recipe that now I am going to wait on. And most annoyingly of all, I had taken some of my rhubarb out of the freezer thinking I was going to make a pie. Well, thinking about that pie was the only thing that happened. So there sits my thawed out rhubarb. Rhubarb that is very precious and not in abundance in my freezer.

So what is the point in all of these things I am telling you about, you ask?

THIS IS IT: Big Crumb Cake.

Do you ever feel or get that notion that something was just meant to be? Like you were supposed to do something because all the stars (er, ingredients) lined up in the universe and it was like a calling or something?

Well, that is exactly what happened to me. I was mostly concerned for my rhubarb sitting there sadly, getting soggier by the day, wanting to be made in to a pie that I was not going to make. Where else do I turn in my time of baking/cooking need? You guessed it. HERE!

I simply searched for the word rhubarb in the site and it got me to the Big Crumb Cake.

And what to my wandering eyes did appear? But a recipe that called for sour cream, rhubarb, egg yolk, and cake flour!!! What?! Could it be? Yes, there was no turning from it. It had to be made.

And because it had to be made, I did just that. I didn't know what might happen if I didn't make it. But it was going to be something big, something disturbing, something, uh, I don't know...

Big Crumb Cake. is simple to make. I have never in my long life used cake flour. I don't know why not? Most likely because if the recipe called for cake flour, I would find a different one. But wow! This stuff is awesome! It's so soft and fun to work with. And I would be lying if I told you I did not try the battter. I did. And it tasted exactly like YELLOW BOXED CAKE MIX!!! I have a big obsession with a yellow cake mix. It's my favorite kind of cake and I have always wondered how in the world to get the taste of that cake. Wonder no more!

(disclaimer: I have a slight obsession right now with picnik.com and editing my photos. SO fun!! I'll try not to be too obnoxioius. But I heard you wanted photos, right?)

I made Big Crumb Cake. as a dessert for last night's supper, but it would be even more wonderful as a coffeecake for breakfast. If you find yourself in a predicament, such as I, with:

egg yolk

sour cream

cake flour


then please, please, please make Big Crumb Cake. You'll be happy you did.

Soup and Pie Potluck

Yesterday after church, our Sunday School class all got together for a Soup and Pie Potluck. It was so much fun! And we had such an unbelievable spread of food. I think we had about 5-6 different kinds of soup and 5-6 different kinds of pie. YUMMO! I sent out an email asking each family to either bring a soup or a pie, which ever they make or feel like making. And it just worked out super. We had plenty of soup and plenty of pie. Don't get me wrong, the Soup and Pie Potluck was definitely a 5 smiley star event!

For those of you who don't know who Pioneer Man is, I have pointed him out to you. See how happy he is when there's yummy food, fun, and fellowship? Hi Steve!!Look at all those smiley stars!! We are so thankful for our Sunday School Class! Love ya! And not just because you made all those yummy soups and pies...really.

I am sure that you can imagine how excited I was to see Italian Meatball Soup on her website this past week. Since I did NO cleaning whatsoever on Friday, I decided I would really be on top of the preparation for all of the weekend's recipes. It worked out well. I made the meatballs and stuck them in the fridge, cut up all the veggies except for the potato, and stuck them in the fridge, chopped my parsley and added it to the bay leaf and peppercorns and stuck the little container in the fridge also. I was ready now to make my soup when Sunday morning came!

I got up pretty early so the soup would have time to boil, simmer, and what not before I put it in the crockpot for after church. There are quite a few steps to Italian Meatball Soup . I think it is really good. Like really good in a "have your girlfriends over to eat" kind of way. Steve woke up to the strong smell of the meatballs (fresh parmesan cheese in them) and herbs boiling in beef broth. I think he would have preferred to wake up to the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls baking, however. I don't know if that did him in or what, but he did not like the soup. My kiddos ate the chicken and noodle soup that was at the potluck and very curtly turned up their noses at Italian Meatball Soup.

I liked it. I will maybe make it again. Although it is a lot of work if I am the only one to eat it. And furthermore, not one person asked me for the recipe... hmmm, so I'm not too sure how big of hit it was.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Guess what I bought?!

I know, it's the little things in life that excite me. This last week was payday and I could hardly wait to go get my groceries for this next week. Besides the groceries, a black iron skillet made the list. Looking through her recipes, I knew that it was inevitable. I was going to need one. Do you all have black iron skillets? I know it was the furthest thing from my mind when I was registering for any type of cookware 13 years ago. Hmmm....

Well the Buttered Rosemary Rolls have been in sight for quite some time now. But I did not have a darn black iron skillet. I had some cinnamon roll dough that I mixed up on Friday for whatever the spirit would move in me to make this weekend. Buttered Rosemary Rolls were it! And were they ever!! I LOVED these rolls. There was something about they way they baked in my black iron skillet that I also loved. They browned nicely and were soft and almost had a buttery crust! YUMMO!

I did not give this a 5 smiley star rating due to my critics. A few of them could not get past the fresh rosemary adorning the top of their buns! And once they have made their minds that their buns should not have green sprigs on top, they pretty much didn't eat them.

I have a new found love, as I said in a previous post, for fresh ingredients. And truly, there is nothing quite like fresh herbs when cooking and even baking. I am excited to get my own little herb garden growing! Buttered Rosemary Rolls could be made any time without any thought at all if I had rosemary growing in a little pot on my deck.

I am sure that Buttered Rosemary Rolls could be made in any type of baking pan. But if you have a black iron skillet and Rhode's rolls or cinnamon roll dough begging to be made. Well, you know what to do.

Bummer Beef Brisket?

As I said before, there are bound to be recipes we just don't like as much as others which doesn't mean you glorious people should not try them! You may love Brisket, Baby. You may not. We did not love it.

When you prepare something and it marinates for a day and a half, then bakes for another almost whole day I think the expectations begin to soar. Do you know what I mean? On Saturday we had a day filled with our little girls' basketball games. I was very prepared in the fact that all I had to do was put the Brisket, Baby. in the oven and I could leave for the day knowing that our dinner would be ready when we returned. Is that not the best feeling? Preparation. Expectation. Brisket, Baby.

Last night we had some other preparation we needed to do (which you will learn about soon!) so Steve cut the fat off the brisket, carved it, and stuck it back in its juices and we headed to my parents' house. I was mildly excited for them to review the Brisket, Baby. also. Like I said, we just didn't love Brisket, Baby. Landon barely ate any of it--said it was "too sour". Which in his little mind I am guessing meant it was too salty. Which both Steve and I concurred. I thought the girls would pound it down because of their love for roast, but I don't think any of them went back for seconds.

My point is this: the Brisket, Baby. that I made was not very big. Four adults and four kids later there still remained some leftovers.

So what do you think?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!!!

Oh my goodness...where to begin?! Today, instead of having a clean house for the weekend, I have been a slave to my greasy kitchen---pretty much all day. It was well worth it, the critics exclaimed as they ate their fried chicken and Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes.

Because I am trying to attain the title of daughter-in-law of the year, paired with the fact that my father-in-law absolutely LOVES fried chicken, we invited them to our house for the 2nd meal made mostly of recipes from this woman. Can't say they complained though when the smell of fried chicken welcomed them in through the door.

It was as down-home as you can get over here tonight. Good 'ole fried chicken, Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes, and gravy. The critics were restless and could hardly get through the prayer.

Fried chicken may be one of my very least favorite things to make on this earth. I do not like cutting up a chicken, for one. I am horrible at it. No pieces were identifiable tonight and everyone got a kick out of that. Yes, you're welcome, family, for the free Friday night entertainment. I also do not like touching raw chicken. I feel like I am swarming with salmonella and I have to wash my hands over and over again. And I still feel contaminated. PLUS, I am not a fan of grease spritzing all over my clean stovetop, shirt, face, and countertops. But that's just me. All of that being said, there are times in my life that I will put all of that aside and fry a chicken for my family. How's that for a martyr?

This fried chicken recipe is the BEST that I have ever come up with. It is in her cookbook that you all hopefully own by now. I could not find it on her website anywhere-- (althought there is something similar that I will be posting about another day). Everyone loved the chicken and did not seem to care one bit about the agonizing I did to prepare it. Again, martyr!!!

A sure winner, along side the fried chicken is the Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes. Do you want to make someone happy? Make these potatoes. Do you want to make someone feel like they need to immediately jump on the treadmill? Make these potatoes. Do you want to be daughter -in-law of the year? Make Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes.

And now, I am going to tackle my greasy kitchen. Because in the end, it is all worth it to see such fine smiley stars!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment

Before I even get in to this whole experiment that was conducted today, I must clarify a few things that I believe to be true: (disclaimer: this does not necessarily make them true, just what I believe to be true-)

1.) It is morally wrong to use margarine EVER!! Please use butter when ever you see that word. Butter is all natural, cooks better, bakes better, and tastes better!!

2.) There is not a place for instant coffee in this house and never will be. Especially if a recipe calls for just a teaspoon!

3.) Chocolate Chip cookies should not make you poop.

There. Thank you for letting me get that off of my chest. And now I will proceed with the experiment with the modifications I have made to her chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Let me begin by saying that my mom has got the best chocolate chip cookie recipe that I NEVER stray from. My kids love them, but not near as much as Steve. In fact, when I make them, it makes about 4 dozen so I stick the remainder in the freezer. I am not kidding when I tell you that they do not last more than a week. And it's not my kids digging them out of the freezer...

When I saw Good Ol’ Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies I've gotta admit, I skimmed over them and thought, forget it. I've got the only recipe I need. But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became with Good Ol’ Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies and so here we are on this drab, dreary day. Two different recipes awaiting the results of the critics final determination...

My modifications to Good Ol’ Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies are as follows:

**I used a full cup of butter instead of half margarine. If you want to know why, ask me!
**I used a tbsp of strong brewed coffee instead of instant coffee granules. Added a tad more flour to even out the extra liquid.
**When I think of flax seed I think fiber. And when I think fiber, I think how many darn times is Landon going to be in the bathroom today. Putting my selfish thinking aside, I broke down and put the 2 Tbsp. of flax seed in my cookie dough. Only I bought the flax seed that was already ground--I don't think hers was ground. So as far as providing added crunch/texture, mine did not. Adding extra toilet paper? Maybe...that is yet to be seen.

Here is the verdict!!! The critics have spoken:

Kassidy said "They have a different feeling (texture) to them. Did you put cornbread in them?"
Kourtney said "I LOVE them!" (keep in mind, there's really not a cookie she doesn't like"
Landon said "I like both kinds of cookies"
Natalie said "I like them both, but kind of like yours better"

I am taking them to the biggest cookie critic of all right now. I"ll let you know what he thinks. I think they are actually very good. And I'd make them again.

Will Good Ol’ Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies replace my mom's recipe? Probably not. But I am guessing these won't last in my freezer any longer than the others.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"What a Weird Name!"

"What are they called?? Spreads?" Needless to say, after hearing the name of the after-school snack, my girls were somewhat leary. It did not take long for them to give me their chocolate covered smiles.

“Spreads” – My Brother’s Favorite Cookie is really just a variation on a chocolate chip cookie. I did have a moment of panic while mixing these up when I could no where find baking powder or baking soda listed (note my previous mishap...). “Spreads” – My Brother’s Favorite Cookie does NOT call for baking powder or baking soda, so if you are craving a chocolate chip cookie and are all out of said ingredients, “Spreads” – My Brother’s Favorite Cookie is the recipe for you.

Our little neighbor boy even got in on this snack today. I'm pretty sure that Steve would give these a "thumbs up", "smiley star", whatever you want to call it. Since Steve did not get in on this snack we have a critic stand in. And I KNOW this neighbor boy loved “Spreads” – My Brother’s Favorite Cookie. Even though I could barely see his smile amongst all the chocolate smeared across his sweet little 7 year old face! Landon managed to keep it mostly off his face but looked like he had painted his hand with chocolate. Don't ask me how that boy does it. To his credit and that of the other critics, Spreads” – My Brother’s Favorite Cookie are rather messy. A chocolate chip cookie IS much easier to eat. But then again, getting messy is a lot of fun too, right?!

I, for one, am thankful the weather was so nice today so I could push all the chocolate covered children on to the deck to eat their snack...

A weird name, but yummy just the same! Put it in the recipe file!! (shocker!!)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


If you have ever wished you could pick up a piece of macaroni and cheese and eat it, make Cheese Muffins and all of your dreams will come true! Honestly, I thought they tasted like a piece of macaroni and cheese. And they probably should with 3 cups of cheese in the recipe.

You could not make anything simpler in a pinch if you were needing a type of "bread" with your meal. I think it may have taken me all of 10 minutes from the time I started until the Cheese Muffins were in the muffin tins ready to go in the oven. Let me tell you---I LOVE THAT!!! My girls thought they were divine, Steve said they were a keeper, but Landon just kind of picked at his. He picked at all of his food though, tonight. Must have been the apple, peppernuts, clementines, and extra chicken he was grazing on all afternoon.

Cheese Muffins would be especially good with soup. And I plan to do just that the next time I have soup. But first, I'm gonna need to hit the grocery store and buy some more cheese.

Comfort and Joy

There are just some days that call for "comfort" food. Today would be one of those days. Actually, if this fog continues, it may be one of those weeks. It is so weird outside here. It's very pretty, but yet it's the kind of weather that kind of makes you want to stay in bed. My little boy is not sharing the same sentiments. He wants to go, go, GO! Playing outside will work, but riding bike anywhere is unsafe unless just on our driveway. Therefore, today will be a "creative" kind of day. The fog is so thick, that I don't think we could see the football coming at you if we were playing catch. I am envisioning crafts with glue today...

That is UNLESS I convince Landon to join me in the kitchen. We are eating Chicken Spaghetti, or The Only Casserole Marlboro Man Will Eat tonight. I have made this recipe many times already and it always makes enough to put a couple of pans in the freezer. I am going to make 1 1/2 recipes today. Talk about comfort food...Chicken Spaghetti, or The Only Casserole Marlboro Man Will Eat is definitely it. My kids absolutely LOVE this meal. It is not hard to make, freezes unbelievably, and goes great with anything green (tonight's it's green beans), fruit, and a bread/biscuit type thing (I'm trying a new recipe from the one and only that I will post about later).

I can usually get a 9x13 pan for supper and at least 1 cake pan size casserole for the freezer. I love to have these on hand for when I go to work and Steve needs to get supper prepared. It works great, although there will be NO leftovers.

I have always boiled the chicken and taken the meat off the bone like she
says to, but today I have chicken breasts to use, so I will just be baking them. If you have children, it is almost a guarantee they will love Chicken Spaghetti, or The Only Casserole Marlboro Man Will Eat.

Tidings of comfort and joy...that's what we're talking about.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Perfect Pound--It's Not Pretty!

Are these recipes keeping you at the perfect pound? Do you have more perfect pounds than you would like? It is January, and instead of blogging about weight loss tips, treadmills, gym memberships, elliptical trainers, P90x, and weight watchers meetings, I am heavily getting in belly deep with her recipes.

I know some of you may be a little freaked out by the amount of butter, heavy whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, half and half, sour cream, and cheese that you may have seen in some of these recipes. But please don't bill me for your weight watchers register's fee, or your gym membership... Someone told me not too long ago "the first bite tastes the same as all the rest of the bites, so don't worry about all of the other bites if you've had your first--you know what it tastes like!" I thought that was a good bit of advice. a bit wasteful, perhaps, but none-the-less some good advice. Just thought I'd pass that along...

Did I have you all worried? This post is NOT about weight loss, gym memberships, or elliptical trainers. It IS all about Perfect Pound Cake. Have any of you ever made a pound cake from scratch? What did you serve it with? I personally thought Perfect Pound Cake was delicious!
It has a just a very hint of lemon and a wonderful moist texture. I loved the crusty outside edge the best, but unfortunately for me, most of it stuck on to my bundt pan. I really thought I had sprayed the thing 'til kingdom come, but apparently not enough. So, my only gripe was that it WAS NOT PRETTY coming out of the pan. So when I took it to my inlaws the other night, it didn't scream Perfection like its name implies. But looks aren't everything, right? Perfect Pound Cake is a great basic pound cake that can be served with anything you can dream up. We had a yummy fresh blueberry sauce (made by my MIL), and whipped cream. I loved it and will definitely be making it again. The Sprite was so fun to pour in! I may make it again, but I do know that Kourtney will not be eating it, Landon will take a few bites, Kassidy will have seconds, and Nat will lick the batter.

Seriously, folks--make Perfect Pound Cake the next time you need to take a dessert somewhere or just need something sweet at home. I pounded down 2 pieces with a cup of coffee on my way to witness the miracle of SIX babies being born yesterday on my niece's birthday (HAPPY 9th BIRTHDAY, ELLEN!) Yep, you all did listen and decide to have babies. Thank you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pioneer Man

Pioneer Man...using his resources, raising the bar past 5 star. How good was that roast today? Let's just say, I got 'er done.

Nat said "This is the best way to eat carrots"
Kourtney said "I love this roast, Daddy and I want more (b)otatoes"
Landon said "I love these onions"
Kassidy gave it a thumbs up.

Steph called from work to see how it was and I told her that if she's begging for some leftovers, she is out of luck.

I think that maybe Pioneer Woman should call Pioneer Man for a couple of tips. I highly recommend the Excalibur Steak and Roast Rub which can be purchased from butcher shops. I browned the rubbed roast, browned the carrots and onions, and I added potatoes that were seasoned with olive oil and other seasonings. The only thing I didn't have were some of the spices and the beef stock. So not entirely her recipe. I actually made my own beef stock when browning everything.

I'd like to tell you all of my secrets, but then you wouldn't buy my cookbook once it is published.

This post needs to ROCK Steph's posts, so give me some comments baby.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Exciting News: Guest Blogger--TOMORROW!!

Well, you all listened to me and decided it was time to have some babies. So, tomorrow morning at 0600 I will be off to work for 12 hours. I generally don't work the day shift, nor do I work 12 hours very often. Tomorrow just happens to be one of those times. I am very thankful for my job and I love getting to see the miracle of birth almost each time that I am there. But it doesn't take away from the fact that I leave at home a husband with four children who are going to be hungry the minute they get up in the morning, and then again the minute they step in the house after church, and then again in the afternoon, and, oh my, don't forget supper.

Steve does such an awesome job with them and they generally come up with some very interesting meals when I am not home. And it is a guarantee that most meals are 5 SMILEY stars. I have learned that I don't ask much about what they are eating when I am away. It is usually best that way...

That being said, Steve, is going to try his hand at a PW recipe for lunch tomorrow. AND that's not all...he is going to be the GUEST BLOGGER tomorrow night to give you all the yummy (or not so yummy) details. He is so prepared that the meat is already thawed and he is getting his sleep as I write as to have enough energy to prepare the meal prior to church. What a guy!

I can hardly wait until tomorrow...but for now, I am thinking I need to brush my teeth again after that pesto on that pizza. And go to bed.

Pizza, Pizza Daddio!

Tonight I decided to venture out beyond my own critics that I live with and try some new recipes on my parents-in-law. My mother-in-law is a very good cook and loves to cook things that are "different". So, it's always fun trying new things over there. I have never been nervous to cook for either one of my parents-in-law---they are very gracious, but I definitely know if they like something or not. So who better to try these recipes out on? By the way, I gave my mother-in-law a PW cookbook for Christmas too. Have I told you all that I ordered 17 cookbooks from this wonderful woman?

I made Tomato-Basil Pizza, Two Ways: An Experiment. for everyone to try using PW's Pizza Crust recipe that is in the cookbook. If you don't have a cookbook, you really need to get one! The Pizza crust recipe is NOT on the website that I could find anywhere. I have found my new love...and that is the pizza crust recipe. First and foremost, it takes all of 10 minutes to mix up. Secondly, this pizza crust dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 6 months!!! That is just amazing to me. I am going to load up my freezer THIS week with this dough. She describes this crust perfectly. "Crisp on the outside, and chewy in the middle". I think it could use maybe a bit more kosher salt, but all in all, I thought it was great and I am readily going to switch out my old recipe. How many recipes have I said that about now???

One thing I have discovered with Tomato-Basil Pizza, Two Ways: An Experiment. is my new found love for fresh ingredients. The fresh mozzarella is so yummy and I went a step further and topped the tomatoes with fresh basil. Everyone agreed this pizza was great. I did make another pizza loaded with real pizza sauce and hamburger for the kids. But to my surprise, they pretty much liked Tomato-Basil Pizza, Two Ways: An Experiment.. I did not use roma tomatoes like she recommended because I couldn't find them at the grocery store. The roma tomatoes would work very well because they do not have near as much juice as other tomatoes. I think Tomato-Basil Pizza, Two Ways: An Experiment. will be even better in the summer when we can use our own tomatoes from the garden. I can't wait!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Simple and Perfect, uh huh!

"These are the best enchiladas I have ever eaten"...states Critic #1.

"I want more, and I want A LOT more"...states Critic #2.

"This meat is so good"...states Critic #3.

"Yep, this is good"...states Critic #4.

"This is HOT!"...states Critic #5.

"I wish there was more than a spoonful left"...said me.

I was very productive in my kitchen yesterday. But not so much in the rest of my house. In fact, the rest of my house kind of went by the wayside. Not intentionally--my intentions were to cook AND clean. So when I got the call that the plans had changed for the evening and we would not be eating together as a family, I was a bit frustrated. Well, a whole lot frustrated. I had worked in the kitchen for this meal last night and I really wanted to be able to blog about it to you all, and now we weren't even going to be able to eat it. Luckily for me, the Simple. Perfect. Enchiladas! worked well to be made ahead of time and put in the fridge.

Sometimes, the best thought out plans are not always the best plans. This whole ordeal which really irritated me last night helped me gain a little bit of perspective. I am sure all of us have heard the horrible catastrophe in Haiti. How easy it is for me to completely take for granted how blessed I am! Even though the evening did not go as planned, I still had my husband who came home at the end of the day. I still had my four precious babies to kiss goodnight. And we all still have a roof over our heads. I am blessed.

So now that I have perspective, let's get on with it. BECAUSE I cooked yesterday and neglected my house and we did NOT eat what I had made...I was able to CLEAN my house TODAY and completely stay out of my kitchen. Which means my kitchen was clean and did not get messed up from my cooking!! And the best part about it?? My house is clean for the weekend and we had a fabulous dinner tonight that all I had to do was stick in the oven. Simple. Perfect. Enchiladas! were just that: simple and perfect! Oh my goodness, you guys. These were so good! We all loved them.

I did change one thing about the recipe. I added almost a whole tablespoon of sugar to the sauce as it was simmering. I think it helps take that really strong acidic taste out of the tomatoes in the enchilada sauce. But other than that, I followed the recipe.

I promise you, you will love Simple. Perfect. Enchiladas! if you are an enchilada fan at all.

***And here is the bonus of this post. If any of you can name who the critics were as stated above, I will make you and your family your own pan of Simple. Perfect. Enchiladas!. For my out of state friends, when you come to this area I will have them ready for you. ***

BUT, you have to get the name of the critics right. Good Luck!