Thursday, May 28, 2009

Don't Stop Believing or Dancing!

Nothing like a good Journey song to start you to tapping, marching or just plain ole flippin!

Cutie Patootie the parrot better known as Zeke

Today as I was leaving for a doctor's appointment, Ezekiel followed me to the door. I quickly told him I would be back soon and walked out the door with a quick "I love you" I was quite shocked when he responded in kind. My heart just melted. I am amazed at how quickly he is picking up language. He repeats what we say to him most of the time even when we would rather he not :) Today Joaquin was upset because I had gotten on to him. He went in his room and crawled under the bed??? (not sure why he did that) but anyway, of course, Ezekiel was curious what was wrong so he went and peeked under the bed. Joaquin was very unhappy with this as he just wanted to be left to his misery so he yelled at Ezekiel to go away. Right on cue Ezekiel mimicked his brother perfectly in pitch, volume and tone "GO AWAY!" He is my little parrot and I love it.

I'm A Big Boy Now - Part II

Part of encouraging Joaquin to give up the pete was to celebrate his 3 1/2 birthday. We did this with the cake of his choice and of course he chose a superhero "Spider Man". Although, I have decorated cakes before never one like this. It wasn't too difficult just time consuming...making the cake, the homemade buttercream icing, coloring the icing just right, filling the bags and so on. I think you get the picture. When I finished I let out a very big sigh of relief. However, it was well worth it. Joaquin loved it and kept saying it's sooo COOOOL mom! That alone made it all worth while. It also helped give us a reference point that he could grasp. We now refer to his 3 1/2 birthday party and remind him what a big boy this means he is whenever he starts to make unwise choices. He understands and although he doesn't always immediately comply it doesn't take long with him reflecting on all the we have talked about for him to understand and choose the right.

As you will note in the picture Joaquin currently has an adversion to clothing. I dress him every morning and some time during the day I will walk in and his shirt will be off...I ask him why is his shirt off and he answers with some jibberish that I have yet to understand. We came home from the library yesterday and not only did he take his shoes off but yes, you guessed it...his shirt and shorts as well. He is comfy and runs around and plays and has a good ole time feeling free with just his diaper/loin clothe :) He is so fun.

Pasta Primavera

Any recipe by Giada is delicoso and this one is healthful and super easy to make to boot. It makes a great summer meal. We served it with a cesar salad.

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis


  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
  • 1 pound farfalle (bowtie pasta)
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat.

Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

Spider Man Birthday Cake w/homemade Buttercream icing

My Son is crazy about super heros especially Spider Man. I recently made him this cake just to make him feel special. We celebrated his 3 1/2 birthday. I have never before made a cake like this before. It was a first and turned out better than I expected. I purchased the cake pan at Micheals and used a boxed cake mix. The cake pan comes with terrific directions to prepare and decorate. I used a great buttercream icing recipe from the Bakerella blog. It was yummy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Classic Ground Beef Tacos

I so named these tacos because they are a hodge podge of recipes from friends and family who live south of the US border. We take tacos very seriously in our home. It is a family favorite. I am certain that my children craved beans, rice, lemon, avacado and corn tortillas from birth as they are the mainstay of my pregnant diet.

As you can see from the picture we don't pre-prepare our tacos before sitting down to eat but, our plates serve as mini buffets for preparing our tacos as we like, once we are all seated. Above is our typical "latin american taco plate".

The picture below beginning shows each dish - Clockwise (starting at the noon postion) Black beans (my husbands favorite), flour and corn tortilla, arroz nicaraguense, avocado chileno, pico de gallo mexicano, center(taco meat americano) and radishes or rabanos chilenos. (all recipes are posted here on my blog).

The recipe below all serves 4-6.

Classic Ground Beef Tacos
by Caprece Curtis
1 TBS of olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 lbs of ground beef
1 TBS of chile powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (commonly called cayenne pepper)
1 can tomato sauce

Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook until onion is softened. Add beef and cook. Add chili powder, salt, cumin and red pepper; cook stirring one min. stir in tomato sauce and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 min.
serves 4.

I'm A Big Boy Now - Part I

Rodrigo and I decided it was time to take away Joaquin's Pacifier.  I know, I know he is well past three and still has a pacifier?  Well, now, no he doesn't.  A good friend and I were talking one day about how he was still using a pacifier even if only at night and that I knew I needed to take it away.  She suggested that I do something like the tooth fairy.  So, I took her idea and put a spin on it.  This week is Joaquin's 3 1/2 birthday and on Sunday I explained that to Joaquin that when a little boy turns 3 1/2 we celebrate but that at this time he no longer needs a "pete" (short for chupete which is spanish for pacifier.  It is pronounced choopetay and petay for short.) and as a result the "pete" fairy comes and takes all the "petes" and leaves a suprise in return.   We, as a family, decided to celebrate today, Wednesday, which meant last night Joaquin helped me round up all the "petes" and put them in the pete fairy basket.  He then chose a special place to put it for her.  We went to bed and he fell straight to sleep.  Proving my point exactly that he doesn't need it anymore.  He awoke this morning to a big boy dart gun (really for little boys it has soft darts with suction cups on it so it can stick to walls and not harm them :)  He was firmly instructed that the game was not for shooting people or animals but walls, beds, etc....  He absolutely loved it.  Tonight we are celebrating his 3 1/2 birthday and you better believe we are milking it for all it is worth!  Lots and lots of potty talk (as in it is time to use that like a big boy too!).  More on the birthday celebration later.  

Monday, May 25, 2009

Quadruple-Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Chocolate: luscious, lumpy. load of love......
I am not sure exactly what it is about chocolate but whatever it is...I need it.
Ooey gooey is a definate must in a brownie for me. I have been on a quest to find the perfect ooey gooey brownie recipe and up until yesterday had been sadly dissappointed in my search. This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Gourmet September 1992. It is the exact dark, luscious, ooey gooeyness I have been craving. You gotta eat it with a spoon. Go ahead take a taste for yourself.
Yield: Makes 24 brownies
  • 4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces fine-quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
    In a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water melt the bittersweet chocolate and the unsweetened chocolate with the butter, stirring until the mixture is smooth, remove the bowl from the heat, and let the mixture cool until it is lukewarm. Stir in the sugar and the vanilla and add the eggs, 1 at a time, stirring well after each addition. Stir in the salt and the flour, stirring until the mixture is just combined, and stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into a well-buttered and floured 13- by 9-inch baking pan, smooth the top, and bake the mixture in the middle of a preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out with crumbs adhering to it. Let the mixture cool completely in the pan on a rack and cut it into 24 bars.

Chicken Fiesta Pasta Salad

Adapted from "My Sister's Kitchen"
I found this recipe @ "My Sister's Kitchen" blog seeing the picture just had to try. It definitely did not dissappoint. I made it for Sunday dinner and served with some nice bread. I think next time I will serve it with tostitos or corn chips. This is a great one for picnics or pot lucks this summer. I love how colorful it is because it is full of all kinds of yummy veggies. You gotta try it!
  • 2 cups chicken breast cooked and cubed or sliced (season with a little salt and pepper and garlic powder) I used high quality canned chicken and seasoned as directed (it was delicious and made this recipe even easier.
  • 1 lb. package bowtie pasta cooked according to package directions * Tortellini is also a delicious substitute*1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 package grape tomatoes, halved or red pepper diced
  • 2 cans sliced olives, drained
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 package Hidden Valley Fiesta Ranch Dip mixed with one 16 oz container of sour cream. (The original recipe asked for 1 pkg. but I thought it made the dressing a bit overwhelming so I recommend that you start with 1/2 pkg. You can always add more if needed.)
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced.
  • 1 jalapeno seeded.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool. Add all ingredients in a bowl. Toss and mix in dressing.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chocolate Covered Caramel Apples

As I have mentioned in a previous post some tastes like smells have a way of transporting us back in time. Green apples do just that for me. My sister, Caprece, loved green granny smith apples, in fact it was the only apple she would eat. When we were young we enjoyed jolly ranchers and guess what flavor was her favorite? You guessed it "green apple". It was the same with now and laters as well. So, now when I taste or smell green apple sweet memories of her flood my mind. We started a tradition a few years before her death in which I would purchase her a super duper chocolate covered caramel apple for Christmas. She loved it! Although, she is gone I have continued the tradition only now I make them any time I need a "Caprece" fix. These I made and donated for an auction for the Youth at our church. Thinking of her all the while. Of course, I made one especially for my family to split. They were definitely SUPER DUPER! :)


  • 5 medium granny smith apples
  • 1 pkg of Caramel Apple Wraps OR 2 pkgs. kraft caramel bits - in baking section of the grocery store. Near the chocolate chips. (Both make 5 apples)*
  • 1 pkg of Chocolate Almond Bark
  • 1 pkg of Vanilla Almond Bark OR vanilla chips.**
  • Chopped Nuts of your choice (I prefer walnuts or pecans)
  • Parchment paper

*I have used the wraps and the caramel bits and both work well. The wraps are much easier to use but their caramel does bubble on occasion. This isn't a problem if you cover them completely in chocolate. Both the wraps and the bits come with the sticks.

**Vanilla chips are an alternative if you don't use almond bark often since you will only use a very small amount for the decorating.


Rinse apples and dry. Prepare parchment paper (9 x 13 size) and spray with non-stick spray for easy removal. Cover the apples with caramel as directed on the caramel package. **Please note if using the caramel bits you will probably end up with a bit of caramel pooled at the bottom of each apple. I just cut that off before I dip in the chocolate.

Break the Chocolate Almond Bark into chunks and melt in a microwave safe bowl as directed on the package. While chocolate is melting place nuts where you can easily apply to wet chocolate. Once chocolate is melted dip apples holding the stick, turning in chocolate and covering apple. Allow excess to drip off. Now, holding apple over parchment sprinkle with nuts while turning. Place on parchment. Allow to dry. While chocolate is drying melt 1.5 chunks of the vanilla almond bark or 1/2 cup of the vanilla chips. (Start with 30 seconds stir and 15 seconds at a time stirring after each time until melted.) Using a fork, dip it into the melted vanilla then using a short back and forth stroke allow to drip over chocolate. This is the best part because 1. the vanilla covers the blemishes and 2. It is suppose to look messy. My kids even help me with this step and their apples look great. Let vanilla harden. ENJOY!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

It was fun. Really. I promise.

I am not sure if this was purposeful on Chancey's part but please note the expression on the faces in 95% of the photos she took in the slideshow below.

We all rolled down this big grassy hill like little kids.  Well, I guess we were all little kids except me :)  The tulips were gorgeous and the weather was just perfect..."baby bear weather".  I sure do love these kiddos!  

Broccoli Cheese Soup

This is some yumilicous yet super easy soup!

2 pkg. Frozen broccoli(I use Florets)

3 cans cream of mushroom soup

3 cans water

1 sm. Onion, chopped

1 small pkg. Velveeta, cubed(1 lb.)


Simmer first 4 ingredients in large pot, stirring often.  When broccoli

Done,(I use a whisk while cooking to smooth)add the cubed Velveeta.

Stir to melt.  Delicious!

Compliments of Lisa Condrey

Chicken Taco Casserole

I don't believe that I have tasted this dish by Lisa but am planning to make it this next week.  It is similar to Mariah's Mexican Casserole.  I look forward to making them both to see what the differences are.  Although I haven't tasted this I do know this...Lisa couldn't make anything that didn't taste good!


1 roasting chicken(I used chicken breasts)

1 16 oz can tomatoes(petite diced)

1 large onion

½ stick margarine

1 lb. mild cheese

1 pt. half and half

1 large can green chilies(I used 2 sm. cans Rotel tomatoes

1 large bag taco pieces


Boil chicken in salted water until tender; remove the skin and bones.  Cut into small pieces.  In a large saucepan, sauté onion in the butter until tender.  Add the tomatoes and chilies; simmer 20 minutes.  Add cheese and half and half; bring to boiling point.  Line large casserole dish with the crisp broken taco pieces.  Spread chicken evenly on top.  Pour cheese-chili mixture over all.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  This is best made several hours before baking and allowed to set.

                                                   Lisa Condrey

Strawberry Cake

It is a tradition in my family that we get to pick what kind of cake we want for our birthday and Aunt Lisa, Lisa Condrey to many of you, makes it for us.  This is a frequently requested one by family members.  One bite and you will know exactly why.  My birthday is less than a month away and this recipe has me clicking my heels and chanting "There's no place like home".


1 white cake mix     1 pkg. Strawberry Jello,sm

¾ cup oil                   ½ cup warm water

4 eggs                         1 pkg. Frozen strawberries



Mix eggs and oil.  Add cake mix.  Dissolve Jello

In the ½ cup warm water and add to the mix.

Add ¾ of the crushed strawberries.  Bake in

Three layers in a 350 degree oven for 35-40




1 stick butter

1box powdered sugar(10X)

Remaining strawberries

Mix together the butter and sugar and add

Strawberries as needed until spreading consistency(I use ALL the strawberries).  At

This point I add 3 oz.cream cheese.

Apple Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping and Brown Sugar Glaze

By Emeril Lagasse



  • 1 stick plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apples

Crumble Topping:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Brown Sugar Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter.

In a large bowl, cream together the remaining stick of butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after the addition of each. In a separate bowl or on a piece of parchment, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the apples. Pour into the prepared baking dish, spreading out to the edges.

To make the topping, in a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter, and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the cake and bake until golden brown and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

To make the glaze, in a bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla, and water and mix until smooth. Drizzle the cake with the glaze and let harden slightly. Serve warm.

South Carolina BBQ Pork Sandwiches

As far as I am concerned there is nothing better than BBQ pork...I quiver with delight everytime I hear the words "I'll bring the pig".  Pulled pork, special vinegar and BBQ sauces, hot sauce, coleslaw and fresh bread.  My mouth is watering now.  But let's not forget the best part of a BBQ is the company.   I often here jokes about bringing food to events to boost attendance but, really there is something comforting and downright fun about having parties where you not only bring the food but prepare it while you party.  I love a good pig pick'n, cook-out, tail-gate, peanut-boil, bonfire.  Every memory I have of each of these food centered parties is more about the people...the good conversation, stories, jokes and even as a child the games.  How many hours of the kick-the-can, capture the flag, freeze-tag, and plane ole hide-n-seek running around laughing adults do these events conjure?  Untold!  The sounds, sights, and smells are all wrapped up in one big wonderful memory.  So when I smell the smoke from a fire pit or a grill it's not just my mouth that waters for those first few sensational moments I am transported back in time to laughter and wonderful memories with family and friends.

This week I relived some good times with a BBQ pork recipe that tasted like I had smoked the pig all day but with all most none of the work.  I combined it with some good ole coleslaw and fresh rolls and well you know....

1 slow-cooker liner 
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 TBS each paprika and dried minced onion
1 and 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp allspice (optiona
l...I left it out)
2-2.5lb bone in pork shoulder roast
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sliced scallions
24 small dinner rolls, split
Accompaniments: hot sauce and coleslaw

1. Line a 4-qt or larger slow-cooker with liner.  MIx 1 TBS of the brown sugar, the paprika, minced onion, chili powder, salt, garlic powder and allspice(if using).  Sprinkle 1 TBS of mixture into the bottom of the slow-cooker.  Rub remaining mixture over pork.  Add vinegar and remaining brown sugar to slow-cooker; stir to mix.  Add pork.

2. Cover and cook on l
ow 8-10 hours until the pork 
is fork-tender.  Shred the pork in slow-cooker; add scallions and toss to coat.

3.  Put about 1/4 cup onto each bun bottom.  Top with bun tops.

Per serving (3 sliders):  596 calories, 39 g pro, 48 g car, 3 g fiber, 26 g fat (9 g sat fat), 110 mg chol, 948 mg sod

Recipe compliments of "Woman's Day magazine p 86 June 2009

Strawberry Jam (Freezer and Cooked)

                                                                    MAKIN JAM

I bought 12 pints without translating that into “jam work hours”.  Can you say C.R.A.Z.Y.?J.    I used Suregell (recipe for making both freezer jam and cooked jams inside package) and made 15- 8oz jars of freezer jam and 128oz of cooked jam.  Not as a pat on my own back but, as a warning to all others….I did this by myself with the exception of prepping the strawberries to be crushed.  Thankfully, Rodrigo did this for me because even with his help this was a two day project.  I don’t recommend the “go it alone” idea.  Anyhow, the jam is supper yummy.  And even with my mistake of re-using the flat lids...this is not recommended by pro jam makers as it is highly likely they won't seal properly.  Everyone of mine did.  This is some, I repeat some of the damage my house sustained while my focus was jam bound.   Having to clean the house after the jam work was done nearly put me in my grave, or so it felt like it :) 

Here is Zeke enjoying some strawberries....he is a berry monster.  Notice the next picture a few days later with a blackberry.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gluten-Free, Lemon Almond and Polenta Cake

One of my most favorite people in the world is cursed with celiac disease so I am always on the look out for yummy gluten-free treats. My new found favorite baking blog Joy the Baker posted this delicous gluten-free lemon cake recipe. I myself haven't tried though I am going to next week. I'll let you know how it goes but in the meantime you can check it out on her blog.

Chicken Tetrazzini

I don't know if you are familiar with Giada de Laurentiis but she is an italian cook on the Food Network. I love her dishes. They aren't crazy difficult and they never fail to excite the palate. One of the reasons that I began this blog was to try and get a raved over recipe for chicken tetrazzini from a good friend. I am still hoping she will share but in the meantime I tried Giada's version. It didn't dissappoint. I started by doing a search for the recipe and ended up with three different versions...1 - super easy all pre-made ingredients 2- semi easy half pre-made and half home-made ingredients 3- Giada's from scratch recipe. I wasn't crazy about Giada's because it would require the most work but in the end I decided if I really wanted to know if this dish could become a "tried and true" I needed to do the from scratch version. I think I chose the right because it was melt in your mouth good!


9 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 ounces linguine
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a deep large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until pale golden and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool slightly. Coarsely shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and into a large bowl.
Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil to the same pan. Add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 12 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the chicken.
Melt 3 more tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, broth, nutmeg (I omitted the nutmeg...just not crazy about this spice in dishes), remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Drain. Add the linguine, sauce, peas, and parsley to the chicken mixture. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta and the mixture is well blended.
Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes.

Recipe compliments of Giada de Laurentiis of the Food Network.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bloodrun 2009

Today on one of my favorite blogs...

I discovered a mother who has organized an annual 5k to raise money for the Utah Hemophilia Foundation. A cause that has special significance to me since my 2 year old nephew has Hemophilia. I am currently training for a Battle of the Sexes triathalon in September. Rodrigo and I are doing it together. So this will be perfect practice for me and I will be helping a good cause. I encourage any who live in the area to join me and those far away to donate what you can. You can click the icon on the top left of my blog to donate and learn more about hemophilia.

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

I am not a woman who loves to cook. I consider it rather a necessary evil. So, when I find a good crock pot recipe I get really excited! This one is scrumplicious! Well, if you like beef stroganoff. I served it with egg noodles and a green salad. The whole family ate it up. I made just a couple of changes to the original recipe. Crock pots aren't ideal for browning things so, I brown my meat in a skillet then put it in the crock pot. I also do the same for onions or garlic when called for in a crock pot recipe. I have found in my experience that this improves the taste of the dish.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours,
1 package stew beef (or your favorite type, cut into cubes or strips)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup beef broth
1 - 8 ounce container sour cream
salt, pepper and paprika
Preparation:Brown the stew beef then place it in the crock pot. Saute the onion and garlic in the same skillet you browned the meat in then add it to the crock pot. Combine all ingredients, except sour cream, salt, pepper and paprika, in a slow cooker. Cook for several hours. (I usually let it cook for 6 hrs. on medium)
Before serving, add sour cream, salt, pepper and paprika, to taste. If you want it a little thicker, you can mix some flour or cornstarch with water and add it to the mixture to thicken it. Serve over rice or noodles

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Corn Salad - Tried and True

My family loves salads...all kinds and this is one of our favorites. It is super easy and super delicious.
1 small bag of frozen corn, thawed
4 green onion, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 lemon, juiced
2 TBS mayonaise (you can use the light but it does change the flavor some.)
salt, to taste
1 cerrano or jalapeno chile - remove veins and seeds. (optional) I decide according to what I am serving it with.
1 TBS of chopped fresh cilantro or parsely

(Adapted from recipe by Hermana Mesa)

Combine the above ingredients in a serving bowl and toss and serve.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mississipi Mud Brownies - Something New

The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star.
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

While I am not sure that the discovery of a new dish is quite this thrilling it is definately a welcome friend! I don't know about you but coming up with variety in my cooking is a constant headache for me. I find myself coming back to the "same ole same ole". Granted there is nothing wrong with "tried and true" but my palate gets easily bored. I am creating this blog in the hopes that family and friends will rescue my poor bored palate and post some of their very own "tried and trues". Quite simply it is an online recipe exchange. So to get everyone excited (you are all excited right?!!!) I am posting a couple of recipes that I recently discovered that are a hit in my home.

Mississippi Mud Brownies
(I spun my own twist on a recipe I found to create these. Credit for basic brownie recipe goes to Jennifer Appel of Buttercup Bake Shop)

3/4 cup all-pupose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup white morsels
1/2 cup semi-sweet morsels
1/2 cup milk chocolate morsels
1/4 cup toffee chips
1/4 cup extra-dark morsels
16 - 18 large marshmellows, divided - 12 for top and 4-6 cut into fourths for center layer.

PREHEAT oven to 350ºF. Grease 8-inch-square baking pan.
COMBINE flour, cocoa and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granualted sugar and brown sugar in large bowl unitl creamy. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Once batter is mixed well reserve 3/4 cup of batter for later. Spread the remaining batter into prepared baking dish. Place quartered marshmellows an push slightly into batter. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the chopped pecans, the toffee chips, extra-dark morsels, and 1/2 cup of the white morsels over marshmellows and batter. Beat remaining egg and reserved batter in same large bowl until light in color. Spread evenly over the previous layer **note: this is a thin layer that just barely should cover the previous layer. Don't be concerned if it doesn't spread completely over all the previous layer. BAKE 26-28 min. ***Note you don't want it to be completely done because you have to cook it another 5 min once you complete the top layer. REMOVE from oven and sprinkle with milk chocolate morsels let stand for 5 mins. then spread melted morsels over top. Place the remaining 12 marshmellows whole across the top and now sprinkle with remaining morsels and nuts. BAKE for another 5-7 min depending on how you like your marshmellows. I like mine toasted so I left them in 7 minutes. REMOVE from oven and allow to cool - best served barely warm. Using the marshmellows as a guide cut brownies into squares and serve. These were an ooey gooey yummy treat!!! **Note all the morsel of course harden once completely cooled so you can either warm for 10 seconds in microwave or enjoy the now crumbly delicious mess :)

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