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, February 28, 2010

Spring Fever!

I have always found it interesting that in the fall, when the temps start to drop like into the 70's--we all start breaking out the jeans and sweatshirts. Likewise, in late winter/early spring--when it hits mid 40's we break out the shorts. And in our case today, the grill! We are just as guilty of it as every one else. Landon wore shorts yesterday. I don't think it ever got above 40 degrees. So enter the grill this fine day, with Steve in a sweatshirt, stocking cap, and shorts...

With "extra"-ordinary kids who love to eat salad, Steve and I and the rest of the critics have always loved steak salads in particular. In fact, they are on the menu frequently during the summer and early fall months. We love them. So I was pretty certain that the Ginger Steak Salad would get some high reviews.

Ginger Steak Salad has kind of an Asian flare to it. The dressing is excellent. In fact, Natalie asked if I would just make it and keep it on hand for whenever we have salad. It has just enough bite with the jalapeno pepper and you could easily add as much as you'd like. As I've said enough times now, I love the fresh ingredients in these dishes. Fresh ginger and garlic--yum! I was definitely more excited about the dressing than Steve was. I looked over at his plate, and instead of drizzling the homemade dressing on his salad, to my astonishment he was saturating his salad with a Ranch/BBQ sauce mixture!!!!!!! Oh my...

We used T-bone steaks which is a very good steak, but so thick that it did not take on the marinade very well. Either that or I needed more marinade. So keep that in mind when making this dish.

Ginger Steak Salad may not be pleasing to those kiddos who aren't salad eaters, obviously. But for my odd children, it hit the spot!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Missing the Kitchen...

Wow! It has been a whirlwind of a weekend already and it's only Saturday! Yeah! My Sunday is actually looking like it will be a Sabbath. At least compared to the last few days anyway.

We spent a night in Kansas City at the Great Wolf Lodge. My kids absolutely had a blast! For me, I was not quite as excited to get myself in to a swimming suit at this time of the year. But, I took one for the team and joined in on the fun.

After our whirlwind KC/Lawrence trip, we woke up early today for another basketball tourney. Our second to the last one for this year. It has been fun, but we will definitely be ready to wonder what to do on the weekends...

After all of that, it's obvious I have not spent ANY time in my kitchen the past few days. And I've gotta say, I am missing it and excited for a Sunday full of new recipes to try. Move on over McDonald's, Quizno's, McDonald's, Subway, etc...because I am back for the attack.

Take a look at this.

This is Ree Drummond, a.k.a. THE PIONEER WOMAN in the flesh at her appearance on The Fox News Morning Show and Good Morning America.

I am in awe of her!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Chocolate Success!

I knew already before even trying it that The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. would be super. It is very similar to my own chocolate sheet cake recipe that never fails--with the exception of one teeny weeny ingredient that is in mine and not in The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. And I am betting you would never guess which ingredient it would be. And it does make a difference in the overall taste of the cake. In fact, by leaving out this ingredient, Steve much rather prefers The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. than mine. How dare he.

Are you dying to know what the secret ingredient is? Try to contain yourself! It's cinnamon.

So, The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. is a never fail cake recipe. It will impress the socks off whoever you serve it to. It's easy, homemade, moist, chocolatey, and delicious. And if you want to change it up a little, add a teaspoon of cinnamon and tell me what you think. And it FREEZES amazingly. Gotta love it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In Need of a Zester...

Mother's Day is coming up, right? Do you hear me Steve??? I need a zester. And then I would not have near the stress in making these types of recipes. Granted, Steve, if you've already bought me some jewelry, I will get my own zester.

Why do I need a zester? Because I have been zesting with my grater now for the last year. PW keeps talking about a "microplane zester" and I am sitting here with my grater--green with envy. I am going to have to find me one of those. That, or quit making recipes that require zest. And that wouldn't be fun!

This morning I was looking for a new muffin recipe to try and Orange Mini-Muffins with Brown Sugar Glaze is one I have been wanting to try. Let me tell you all, the batter was delicious. I could not quit licking my fingers--and that is big for me because there are raw eggs in that batter. Gag me!

I had 4 grumpies sitting at the bar watching me zest and whip up Orange Mini-Muffins with Brown Sugar Glaze as they longingly looked at the cereal boxes. Not this morning baby critics!! Mommy is making Orange Mini-Muffins with Brown Sugar Glaze and you WILL try them. And hopefully WILL like them.

Well not the case for the youngest two. I missed my opportunity to get a picture of their faces. I am going to attribute their dislike to immature taste buds. Because Orange Mini-Muffins with Brown Sugar Glaze were really good and the older two thought they were good. Especially after the shock of citrus flavor that surprised them all. Maybe that is what did it to the younger two. Who knows. But those cereal boxes they were longingly looking at? Quickly became their breakfast this morning.

Will I make Orange Mini-Muffins with Brown Sugar Glaze again? I think they'd be a great addition to a brunch menu. Especially if you are having different types of muffins. They are an interesting citrus flavor that are soaked with a yummy brown sugar glaze. Best served warm, although these leftovers are good as well.

Worth making for my children for breakfast? Maybe with a microplane zester and cereal on the side...

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Found It!!!

I have been searching for this flavor ever since I lived in Kansas City and frequented a restaurant that made the BEST Shrimp Diablo. I could have lived on that stuff. And I think while in nursing school, I quite possibly did.

Did it come as a surprise that PW would be the one to have a recipe that comes as close to that favorite dish I enjoyed almost 14 years ago? Not a bit! She's awesome. And Shrimp Pasta in a Foil Package confirms it.

However, I did make just one change to Shrimp Pasta in a Foil Package. I know it will come as a big surprise, but I added sugar to the simmering tomato mixture. I just can't help it. I can NOT eat a tomato dish that does not have a bit of sugar in it to combat the acidity of the tomatoes. So add it if you'd like. But if you don't wanna, then don't! See how easy I am to get along with?
A couple of things I have discovered this weekend and about Shrimp Pasta in a Foil Package.

**Sam's Club has the biggest bundle of garlic I have ever seen for only $3

**Sam's Club has the biggest, sweetest strawberries for this time of year

**I can't believe how yummy an Italian meal is without the use of canned spaghetti sauce
**Leftover ganache from a previous failed stick to the pan cupcake recipe is delicious served on big beautiful strawberries and bananas

Our week is going to be extremely busy. To start out with on this fine Monday evening, Steve has a meeting in which he will not be getting home until late. Pair that with basketball practice at 6:00 pm and you now know why we ate at 5:00 tonight. I kind of like it actually...although Steve will have to eat alone.
Shrimp Pasta in a Foil Package was easy to make, very flavorful, and kind of fun baking it in the foil and serving it up. The only complaint the critics had was to gripe about who had more shrimp in their serving.
Call me if you need some garlic...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Just Make Cheese!

Friday night is fast becoming our "pizza" night. Generally we have some basketball games we are heading to and it just works well. I get bored with the same old cheese and hamburger pizza, so when I saw My Favorite Pizza I was intrigued and ready to buy my first ever eggplant!

My Favorite Pizza will probably not be real pleasing to your kiddos as evidenced by the questionable looks as My Favorite Pizza settled in on the middle of our table. Thank goodness the cheese and taco pizza accompanied it, otherwise LOTS of popcorn would have been bought and eaten at the basketball game last night.

I personally loved My Favorite Pizza and Steve said it was "ok and I'll definitely eat it again". I am now thinking that maybe I will try to grow some eggplant. I wonder if they grow around here? Now if only I could grow fresh mozzarella...

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I had such high aspirations for this evening. For some reason, I never did call anybody to come for Life by Chocolate after my sweet girl's music program this evening. Don't get me wrong. I did make Life by Chocolate. And it was definitely yummy. Like major 5 star rating. I heard things like "can I please just have one more" and "oh, thank you mommy for making these", and "these are really good". None of that masked the fact that Life by Chocolate frustrated me to no end this afternoon!

My day was met with very good intentions. My little girl was so excited for her school music program this evening. You would have thought it was her graduation. So, I thought, how neat would it be to end the evening by inviting friends and family over for a new recipe I was trying, Life by Chocolate. Call me vain. I don't care. I am so happy I did not make the calls for a dessert gathering after I worked and worked to get these cupcakes out of my pans...
U.G.L.Y. you ain't got no alibi you UGLY, UGLY, THIS MOMMA SAYS YOU UGLY!!! Seriously. I think the problem was that the hershey's kiss sunk to the bottom of the cake batter and wedged itself into the muffin tin. Therefore, making it difficult to impossible to retrieve a cupcake in one piece from the tin. I can not even tell you the frustration I was feeling. I sprayed the muffin tins!!!
Once I got over it all, and had these beauties on my cooling sheet, I made the ganache. And really, just taking one bite of the ganache with the biggest spoon I could find made almost all of my troubles disappear. Ganache is gorgeous! Shiney! Gleaming! I loved it. And as beautiful as the ganache was, it still could not make the Life by Chocolate look any better. The cakes could hardly even sit flat on a plate. Looks aren't everything though, as we all know. They tasted superb! But for tonight, vanity won over taste--and only my family got to indulge in the Life by Chocolate.
Beauty was found, though, in the voices of some precious children at their music program. After listening to them, it really didn't matter how ugly those darn cupcakes were.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bring on the Pancakes!

What is this now? My 3rd post about pancakes... at least? I am having so much fun trying all of these different pancake recipes on my critics! I especially love the mornings that I can accomplish a hot breakfast. It really doesn't happen as often as I would like unfortunately. But it did today!

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes are just delicioius! We all thought they were super! I have even been pondering a pancake feed at our house with a variety of pancakes for people to try. So far, Cinnamon Bun Pancakes are my favorite.

They fry up darker making your critics think that you may have used whole wheat flour (GASP!), but after their first bite, your critics will thank you for making such a beautiful pancake. Even though it looks dark. And looks dark ONLY because there is bountiful amounts of cinnamon in them (and also if you grill them up on your cast iron skillet and your skillet is too hot).

I did also go ahead and make Maple-Butter Icing for Pancakes to go on top of the pancakes. And yes, despite the very traditional pull of the maple syrup I also had sitting out, the critics loved the Maple-Butter Icing for Pancakes too.

It was just a winner of a morning over here. Except that eating Cinnamon Bun Pancakes this morning caused us to be a little bit later than our oldest "child", type A, critic would have preferred. But she and the others made it to school on time with a tummy full of Cinnamon Bun Pancakes.

I am guessing that the minute you take a look at the Cinnamon Bun Pancakes you are going to want to make them too. Mine were all down the hatch before I could get any pictures of them. If that tells you anything...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Butter? Gotta be good.

Butter Chicken. Need I say more? I mean really. It's gotta be good. Right?

Let's take a look at what Kourtney thought of Butter Chicken tonight...

Kourtney is still working on her culinary tastes. She ended up eating her applesauce and a bite of the Butter Chicken. As for the rest of us, we agreed that Butter Chicken is as good as its name implies. I just love a one dish meal. This has your veggie (tomato sauce), meat (chicken), grain (rice), and cream (dairy--ha!). All you need to add is your fruit and you've got a well balanced dinner. Besides being well balanced, it is Y.U.M.M.O!
Butter Chicken was simple to make. You marinate the chicken breasts all day with lime juice, garlic, and seasoning. Saute your onions in butter, add the chicken and cook for a few minutes, add a can each of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes while you set the table and referee the fighting from your 4 children. Once they are off playing hide and seek, make a couple of cups of rice, quickly call your hubby to see when exactly he will be home--realize it's sooner than you think, and add the cream to the simmering chicken and tomato sauce mixture. Let simmer until you hear the garage door opening.
Really very simple and really very good. But of course, we're not surprised now are we?
And to all of you out there who have as many children as I do, if it's only one grumy child at the table scowling at the meal, it is still considered a success.
Go Butter Chicken!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Darn Good Drip!

Ok, so the name sounds a little, uh, funny. Like can something with the word "drip" in it even be good? Oh yes it can!! Drip Beef, Two Ways did NOT disappoint! Just look at this yummy goodness...mmmm!

Seems like every recipe I try lately, I have to make a confession upon changing up the recipe. For Drip Beef, Two Ways, I was astonished to check my deep freeze and find NO roast. No roast!! We always have roasts! ARGH!!!!! Although we had no roasts, we did have a ton of different cuts of steak. So you guessed it, I pulled out a T-bone and a ribeye steak. And they worked just beautifully! I did get Steve's consent. I know some of you may be gasping at the thought of using perfectly good steaks. But let me tell you--we've got a lot of them. And we need to use them. And we did not have a roast. And I was making Drip Beef, Two Ways TONIGHT one way or the other.
There are two different recipes of Drip Beef, Two Ways featured on her blog. I did the recipe with the beef consomme', pepperocini's, and italian seasonings. We will definitely be eating these again. The flavor of the beef was so good with just a little bit of bite to it. The meat shred very easily with a couple of forks and then I just let it soak in its own juices until we were ready to eat. Place this tender meat in between buttered and toasted homemade rolls and some mozzarella cheese and there you have it. Drip Beef, Two Ways. We loved it!

And we are all so darn full right now. Look how big those sandwiches were! Mercy!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love is in the air...

It's Valentine's Day and this is the first time I've had a chance to really sit down and relax this whole weekend. It's been super fun filled with basketball, eating with grandparents, and just running around! We didn't really do anything really special for Valentine's Day today. But sometimes just being together at the end of the day says it all.

Because it is Valentine's Day I thought we really needed something "chocolate" to celebrate. Don't you think? Baked Fudge just sounded too yummy to pass up. So tonight as the critics were finishing homework and showers I quickly baked up the Baked Fudge and whipped some cream to go on top of it. This was really such an easy recipe to whip up. Not many ingredients, but Baked Fudge does bake for about 40 minutes. Think of the inside of a brownie but all gooey! That's exactly what Baked Fudge is all about. And we all loved it. Granted we all love chocolate and I can not even explain how much I love homemade whipped cream. I served the Baked Fudge in parfait dishes which always makes things taste extra special.

We concluded our little Valentine's celebration by telling each other one thing we really loved about each other. It was very sweet to see the smiles on each of their faces listening to the others say why they loved them. And for Steve and I? The classic answer was:

"I love mommy because she cooks for us and I love daddy because he builds us a fire".

Who could say it any better than that?

Now go make yourself some Baked Fudge and light a fire. All will be right with the world.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

PW's Valentine's Day Giveaway!

Check this out everyone! Make a comment on PW's post here and you could win some really cool things. Including a new mixer which I need desperately! All you have to do is answer one of the questions she has listed in the comments and you will be entered to win.

Obviously, she has quite a few readers. There were 17,000 comments when I made mine. Holy cow. She is awesome.
Have a super Valentine's Day Weekend everyone! Cooking anything special???

P"W" Changs!

It is the week of love and that is just the exact word each and every one of the critics used to describe A Tasty Recipe: Lettuce Wraps, Step-by-Step.

Let me start by saying that I made quite a few modifications to A Tasty Recipe: Lettuce Wraps, Step-by-Step. But I kept the sauce the same. I was proud of myself for not freaking out when I realized I had no red pepper. It was completely used in another recipe I made this week, remember? So, I needed to modify because darn it, I had these on my meal plan--and I never stray from my meal plan. HA! Anyway, you all know better than that.
So without the red pepper, I proceeded. I chopped up about a 1/2 cup each of carrots, cabbage, and mushrooms instead of the red pepper. And I am guaranteeing you THAT would be one of the reasons the critics liked it so much. I'm not so sure we would have had the same love for them had it been red pepper. But YOU do what you like. A Tasty Recipe: Lettuce Wraps, Step-by-Step were so good and really did taste like the lettuce wraps you get a P.F. Chang's, Pei Wei, etc. Those with rice and some oranges shaped up our dinner last night very nicely!
I felt like I spent a fortune on everything I needed to buy for the sauce and then barely used much of any of them. So if you have a hankering to make A Tasty Recipe: Lettuce Wraps, Step-by-Step this week, call me. You can use my sauces! But don't ask me for any red peppers.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

And There was Lemon

I love the feeling of when she posts a new recipe and I have all of the ingredients on hand! It is awesome. Don't have to plan, get things at the grocery store, etc. It's just all there. Love it! When I saw
Olive Oil Cakes with Lemon and Thyme I almost skimmed over it because I did not have any fresh thyme on hand (imagine that, ha!). But as I read throught the recipe, she said she thought rosemary would be just as good. DING DING DING!!! I have fresh rosemary. And therefore, I was going to make
Olive Oil Cakes with Lemon and Thyme.

I will be honest here in saying that I did not like using a blender to mix these up. I would have rathered just used a good old mixing bowl and wooden spoon. I'm not sure that wouldn't have done a better job anyway. I was irritated because when I went to pulse it, it bubbled out the top leaving me with a huge mess. The sugar stuck to the bottom of the blender and I almost chopped up a spatula trying to scrape it all around the sides. Can you tell I was irritated with the blending process of
Olive Oil Cakes with Lemon and Thyme?

My favorite part about these cakes was using a fresh lemon. Again with my fresh ingredients, I know. I do know now that I need to get a better zester which would have made my life easier. I was also a bit intimidated by the rosemary and probably didn't use enough to make a difference. I could barely taste it. So what we ended up with was a very strong, "lemony" cupcake with an even stronger "lemony" icing. I thought they were good. They baked very pretty, and came out of the muffin tins super.

Natalie and Kassidy got in on the action of icing them and did a good job. Each of them enjoyed the muffins, Kourtney thought they were "ok", and Landon took one bite and gave me the face like he just bit in to a straight lemon. Steve did not even try them to my knowledge--he is NOT a lemon person. So, sorry PW--I did not enjoy the process of making them, and they didn't knock my socks off to where I want to make them again. If ever I am in the mood for lemon, I'll eat the Perfect Pound cake and leave the
Olive Oil Cakes with Lemon and Thyme for someone who enjoys using their blender.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hail the Saints!

I really did not make Cajun Chicken Pasta in honor of the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl win...but I thought it sounded good. Ever since she posted Cajun Chicken Pasta I have been excited to try it.

Of all pictures, I really, really wish I could have been able to get a picture of Kourtney and Landon's plates during this meal. I got called in to work so I was unable to, but it signifies perfectly what those two thought of Cajun Chicken Pasta. Gotta say, as far as "kid-friendly", probably not so much. There are a lot of green peppers and onions! And you don't realize how many there are until your kids pick all of them out and separate them from the noodles and chicken. Seriously, you should have seen their plates--it made me laugh.

Even though a couple of the kiddos rearranged the Cajun Chicken Pasta, it still was a very good dish. I would agree that there were quite a few peppers (a whole green pepper and a whole red pepper), and a half an onion that was pretty overpowering in Cajun Chicken Pasta. But it gave it really good flavor. The definite BEST part of this dish was the sauce made of white wine, chicken broth, and cream. That in itself over seasoned chicken and fettucine would suffice for all of us over here. The cajun spice was a nice twist. Not flavors I generally cook with, so it was great to try something new. If and when I make Cajun Chicken Pasta I will cut back on the peppers and onions and make sure they are cooked long enough to be soft. And besides, I'll need to make it again after buying all the Cajun spice! What else can I do with it? Hmmm...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Oh my Richness...

If you like mushrooms, you will love A Tasty Recipe: The Mushroom Soup. There is really no need to explain much about this soup. It is chock full of mushrooms, flavor, and cream. Absolutely so rich, I did feel like I needed to ask for forgiveness eating the bowlful that I did. A Tasty Recipe: The Mushroom Soup is that RICH.

Both Steve and I thought it was delicious. I knew the critics would be split. I could not even get Kourtney to try it, Kassidy had one bite, Landon ate a few bites, and Natalie finished off her bowl and Kassidy's bowl. Granted, I put very little soup in their bowls. To the majority of the critics' delight, we had grilled cheese sandwiches with A Tasty Recipe: The Mushroom Soup. Now looking back, I think a nice light turkey sandwich would be a better pairing.

The key to A Tasty Recipe: The Mushroom Soup is that you eat VERY little of this soup even though you want to inhale the whole kettle full. Seriously, this is a wonderful side. The recipe does not make a lot, so along side a green salad and sandwiches...excellent! It is very filling just in itself.

If this soup were $$$, it would be a million. A Tasty Recipe: The Mushroom Soup is just that rich. And as I said, you will love A Tasty Recipe: The Mushroom Soup if you are a mushroom fan in any sense of the word.

Monday, February 8, 2010

You are Right Kaitlen!

The cake I made in the previous post for the Super Bowl was indeed

After hearing the many raving reviews of this cake, there was no way I could go any longer without trying this cake. And let me tell you, there are about 8 people who are very glad that I did.


Everyone loved it! And I will be making this again, and probably very soon again...

The only variation that I strayed from the recipe was with the strawberries. I could not find any yummy looking strawberries ANYWHERE that were within a reasonable price. Like so many of her yummy recipes, I can not wait to use fresh ingredients that are in season here in a few months. Definitely an awesome summer dessert! Back to the strawberries, I used sweetened, sliced frozen strawberries and it worked super. They are essentially just strawberries and sugar and that's how you are to prepare the fresh strawberries too. So when strawberries are yummy and in season, I will definitely be making Strawberry Shortcake Cake again with the fresh. Know from my experience that the frozen work just as well too.

Just taking a look at Strawberry Shortcake Cake you will notice that the cream cheese buttery filled icing is going to be unbelievable. The cake bakes so nicely and actually came out of my cake pan beautifully! I kept Strawberry Shortcake Cake in my fridge after making it Saturday night for our Super Bowl extravaganza on Sunday evening...

and this is what is left of Strawberry Shortcake Cake--

and that was with restraint on the 4 youngest critics. If you do nothing else this week, make Strawberry Shortcake Cake. You'll love yourself for it, and Valentine's Day is coming up!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pioneer Man "Brees"es Thru the Appetizer

After looking through the list of PW's appetizers, I decided to go with the Steak Bites. Really not much to this recipe. Chose a sirloin steak from the freezer, thawed it, trimmed the fat, and followed PW's recipe. Seasoned the cubed steak with Kosher salt and pepper. Made sure the pan and butter were hot, like almost ready to burn hot. The key is to not over cook the meat.
This recipe is easy to make, low prep, and a good meaty appetizer. I would go one step further and recommend a dipping sauce to add variety and help with the bites that may have overcooked. Like BBQ or creamy horseradish. That would be awesome.

Everyone seemed to enjoy Steak Bites. Not a recipe that can be made ahead because the meat is best right off the skillet.
So I did "Brees" through another challenge and came out a hero. Great option for a meaty delight.

Hurry Up Super Bowl!!

I wonder...

if this will make it until the Super Bowl.

Good thing I am working...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thinking Out of the Box

Any one ever been at the place where your husband refuses to let you spend $$ out of your means. Meaning, that I must have CASH in hand before I go to the grocery store. None of this Discover card stuff so you can earn extra cash back. Why would you want to do that? And none of this writing checks kind of stuff, because you'll be tempted to spend money that is allocated to other bills, necessities, etc. So, it's a CASH only grocery shopping trip. Don't get me wrong. I get it. I totally get it. It's responsible, it's spending with in our means, it's uh, frugile. But, I will argue, I won't get any CASH back by using only CASH. And Steve would argue against that philosophy...

My point to all of this, is that we are down to 1/4 cup of milk, no orange juice, no hamburger, no chicken, and a few eggs. I had buttermilk, eggs, and most baking supplies available. So I decided to get creative and find a recipe that would double as a good snack for the critics and also could be a good breakfast. Since last night was church night, I did not have to worry about supper and today is grocery shopping day! To help me out, of course, I turned to the one and only. And like always, she had just the thing I was looking for. Mini Maple Chocolate Chip Pancake Muffins.
These are so easy! And the kiddos really liked them. Cute too, aren't they? The recipe says that you should serve these warm out of the oven, smother them with butter, and dip them in syrup. YUMMO! Now, that is out of the box thinking. I love it!
A quote from my youngest critic was this-- "They don't have a lot of taste". Does that sound like a professional food critic or what? At the young age of 5, I think he is taking his job very seriously. And I'm proud of him for it... (now smother it with butter and dunk it in syrup and then tell me it's tasteless, boy!) Just kidding. I take his criticism very seriously. He wasn't the most impressed with Mini Maple Chocolate Chip Pancake Muffins. Although he did eat his fair share.

Mini Maple Chocolate Chip Pancake Muffins will definitely be added to my breakfast freezer recipes along with my old standby Cinnamon Chip Muffins as pictured above. Ahhh, at least we have breakfast taken care of for the rest of the week...

Now off to make my grocery list. Because as good as these muffins are, I don't think the critics will appreciate Mini Maple Chocolate Chip Pancake Muffins for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Just Eat the Ice Cream!

I should have known. What is up with a pie crust made out of all egg whites, nuts, and sugar? I actually did think it sounded interesting and why not try it? But, I am here to tell you--do not waste your time making the crust in Ice Cream Pie with Easy Caramel Sauce. I know, I know, you're thinking...well, it's just because she doesn't like eggs. Yes, you are partly right. But, there is just absolutely no point to this crust. The caramel sauce aspect of Ice Cream Pie with Easy Caramel Sauce is amazing. Make it for your ice cream! Make it to eat with a spoon when you just need something sweet. But I repeat, there is no need to make Ice Cream Pie with Easy Caramel Sauce. Granted, this is MY opinion. We would have been just as happy eating ice cream and topping it with caramel. But that's just us. So take it for what it's worth.

Still didn't change my love for her though. She is just pretty much amazing and I can hardly wait to try the upcoming recipes. And who knows? YOU may love Ice Cream Pie with Easy Caramel Sauce. I'd like to know if you do...

Back By Popular Demand

Well, Pioneer Man, a.k.a. my husband, Steve, made a name for himself when I worked a few weekends ago and he posted this.

I am planning to work again this coming Sunday which is of all things...THE SUPER BOWL!!!
I will be gone all day again like I was a few weeks ago. Thankfully, we are not having a party at our house, but will be going to my parent's house to join them and my brother's family. Of course, when talking with my Mom, the first question was: "What are we going to eat?"

Since I won't be home, the Pioneer Man is going to be in charge of whatever we decide to take. This is where the fun begins!! He is going to be choosing an appetizer to make and take. There is only one stipulation, as you might have guessed, that it must come from P-Dub’s Appetizer Recipes. There are quite a few to choose from and he is open t0 suggestions, so let him have it! Is there an appetizer that looks good to you that you'd like him to try out on our critics? Let him know. He will take suggestions in to careful consideration.

So here is the deal...choose one of P-Dub’s Appetizer Recipes and comment and let Steve know what you'd like him to make. Because there have been significant requests to hear from the Pioneer Man again, he will be posting all about the chosen recipe, if the critics liked it, and anything else he would like to tell you. So look for that post after the Super Bowl!!

I'm going to go look at P-Dub’s Appetizer Recipes right now and get my suggestion in!! If he knows what's good for him, I would think he'd choose mine...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A PW Pow Wow

Some friends of ours came over on Sunday afternoon, and you guessed it...we had some PW recipes! We both agreed to make a dessert recipe for all of our many critics to enjoy. Fun! My friend definitely went to much more effort than I did with Caramel Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake. So There. In fact, the poor girlie stayed up until midnight the night before just to get it done. Thank you, DeAnn! We thought it was worth all your trouble--ha!

I can not tell you if she thought Caramel Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake. So There was worth all of the trouble or not. I'll let her comment on that. But it was very yummy! And would be especially yummy at Thanksgiving time. I don't particularly enjoy making cheesecake so I am so thankful she did it for me and I will tuck that recipe back in my brain for Turkey Day next year.

I opted to make an apple pie and apple-rhubarb pie. Let me tell you, I've got a grandma who makes the BEST pies ever and it is my goal to get as good as she is at making them. She used to bake pies for our local cafe which specialized in home-baked goodies and meals. I am not kidding when I say she is one of the best. Which she passed down to her daughter (my mom) and now it is slowly filtering down to me and hopefully my girlies too some day. Who knows? Landon may be a pie baker too!

I do my fair share of pie-baking for our church when we have funerals. To me, pies are easy to make. The worst thing about them is dealing with the pie crust. UGHH! I hate to roll out pie crust. I have always used my Mom and Grandma's pie crust recipe and loaded up my freezer with balls of dough that I can just pull out when I need to make a pie. That is the way to do it! I was excited to see P-P-P-Pie Crust. And It’s P-P-P-Perfect. on PW's site. She also stocks her freezer up with pie crusts.

I really think P-P-P-Pie Crust. And It’s P-P-P-Perfect. is a great recipe. Once I learn the art of rolling out pie dough, pie-making will be a breeze. I thought P-P-P-Pie Crust. And It’s P-P-P-Perfect. was very flaky but I made it too thick. It definitely needed to be rolled out thinner. I'm not gonna lie, it was NOT any easier to roll out than any other pie dough recipe I've used. But I liked it. And I'm gonna keep working with it. I have another friend of mine who is an absolute AWESOME cook, baker, etc. and she is changing from her pie dough recipe to P-P-P-Pie Crust. And It’s P-P-P-Perfect. recipe. So if she is going to do it, I am too.

Now I'd like to see what Grandma thinks of it...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Get Yourself Some Cake Flour!

This morning I was actually feeling like a "morning" person, which I am not. I was jolly, ready for the day, and excited to make Perfect Pancakes! If you remember, I had made another pancake recipe by PW a few weeks ago that the critics loved and I could not stomach (due to the incredible egg-like texture...) Anyway, since I had cake flour I was prepared to make Perfect Pancakes. They passed the test with flying colors, although one critic does not think they're as good as my normal pancakes (which would be Bisquick...). More on that in a minute.

But first, is this not just the perfect picture of a

Happy Monday Kassidy!! Looks like you need some Perfect Pancakes to me!

Kourtney surprisingly was extremely happy this fine Monday morning while she waited patiently for the Perfect Pancakes. They grilled up really thick! Kassidy looks a little more thrilled now that she's dressed and spreading butter on her Perfect Pancakes. This batch made a lot of Perfect Pancakes!! I was impressed and you all know how I love to have leftovers to put in the freezer for another day... But between these two girlies, I think they put away 6-8 Perfect Pancakes between them. Wait girls!! Slow down! Natalie has to eat yet.

Whew! That was a close one. Thankfully Natalie got in on a few, although THIS is the critic who likes the Bisquick cakes better. Doesn't look like she's minding these, though.

Had to slow her down too because "the boy" was still asleep until 9:00 am today! And he loves Perfect Pancakes. So I am left with around 6 or so in the freezer for another day. That will take care of the girls' breakfasts at least.

This is what I am left with when it's all said and done. Yes, it was worth the mess. And as soon as Sam's starts selling cake flour in bulk, we will be having these much more often.