Monday, November 7, 2011


In the past year, my husband and I have really been paying more attention to what we eat and trying to exercise more. My husband even ran his first 5K this past September after only 4 months of training and never running before! Well, it made me jealous and I am now running also. Anyways, in our quest to be healthier we have been eating a lot of yogurt to which we will sprinkle granola on top. Well, a good granola can be on the pricey side. That's when Clinton Kelly (love him!) on the new show "The Chew" came to my rescue. A few weeks ago, he showed how to make his homemade granola and it costs so much less to make your own. As Clinton mentioned, you can customize this to your own taste but here is how we have been enjoying it.

I started off by mixing together 3 cups quick cooking oats with 1/2 cup each coconut, pecans, dried and chopped dates, and dried blueberries.

In a measuring glass I combined 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup honey, and 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. I stirred to combine them and poured it over my oat mixture. I mixed it all together until everything was moistened and poured it onto a cookie sheet.

I placed the granola into a preheated 250 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes taking it out at the 30 minute and 60 minute mark to stir it. Once it is cooled, store it in an airtight container.

Video from "The Chew" of Clinton Kelly making his Granola.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Haunted Gingerbread House

Remember the Gingerbread House Kit I posted last December? Well, did you know that there are also Haunted Gingerbread House Kits?!

This kit came with 4 different kinds of candy, black and orange icing, purple and yellow fondant, and 3 additional gingerbread cookies for decorating. Unlike my Christmas gingerbread house, I did have assemble this one but it had slots pre-cut in the base for easier assembly. I also transferred the icing into pipping bags to make it easier to use.

I decorated the front and sides of the house before I actually put the house together. It was much easier for me to decorate these pieces while they were still laying flat. I also didn't have to hold any candy until it dried this way. 

Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicken Queso Pizza

Hello! This pizza is more of a method (if you remember me talking in previous posts about other things like that) instead of a recipe.

Look Good??

So I started off with what I call a "pre-baked" pizza crust. The kind you find on the store shelf, not in the refrigerated section.

I spread a THIN layer of jarred queso dip over the crust......

.....and on top of the queso I spread out some cooked and chopped chicken, green bell peppers, and onions. Previously, I had cooked 2 chicken tenders that were chopped with a chopped bell pepper and 1/2 chopped onion. Using just a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and chili powder, I cooked them all in a frying pan until the chicken was cooked through and the pepper and onion were softened. This part could be done right before you put them on the pizza or in advance.

Once the queso and chicken/onion/pepper mixture is on, I topped the pizza with shredded cheddar cheese and sprayed the exposed crust lightly with cooking spray (like Pam). I then sprinkled the exposed crust with chili powder and garlic salt.

I followed the baking instructions on the package of my pizza crust and when it came out of the oven, I drizzled sour cream that I thinned with just a tiny amount of milk over the top.

Viola! Chicken Queso Pizza!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Time has just gotten away from me the last couple weeks.....but tomorrow I will be posting Chicken Queso Pizza! We had it tonight for dinner and if I do say so myself, it was pretty tasty ;) See you tomorrow!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Banana Cake

This Banana Cake is Fabulous! It has become my go-to for ripe bananas and I can't get over how moist it stays.

Butter Yum Banana Cake

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Corn Casserole

I love this stuff! It is such an easy and filling side dish and really warms your tummy when the weather starts to get cooler. This casserole is almost always on our holiday table.

Corn Casserole

3 Tbsp butter
1 pkg. Jiffy corn muffin mix
1/2 Cup corn (I use frozen)
1 can creamed corn
1/2 Cup milk
1 egg
salt and pepper

In a 13x9 inch baking dish, place in the butter and put the dish into the oven. Turn the oven to 350 degrees to preheat and to melt the butter.  In a bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Make sure everything is thoroughly combined and pour into the preheated baking dish containing the now melted butter. Do not stir the butter into the batter. Bake for 30 to 40 or until the casserole is set in the center.

We ate our corn casserole with BBQ Pork Chops that you get just a peek of in the picture above.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lemon Angel Food Trifle

So a couple of weeks ago, I went to make my Lemon Angel Food Cake for a potluck at my work. Well, it turns out it is very important to let your angel food cake cool completely before trying to take it out of the pan. I tried to rush it and remove it from the angel food cake pan while it was still warm a tire. It looked awful. So I still made the glaze hoping to somehow "cover up" what I had done. I poured on the glazed and now had a glazed deflated tire.... So I covered up my mistake the best I could by turning it onto a trifle and it was wonderful!! And Angel Food cake is already fat free and I used sugar free pudding, sugar free jello, and sugar free cool whip. No one ever would have known if I didn't tell them!

Take one glazed Lemon Angel Food Cake and cut it into cubes, set aside. Mix 1 small box of strawberry sugar free jello with two cups boiling water. Stir until jello dissolves and pour over 1 1/2 cups sliced frozen strawberries and place in refrigerator until cool but not set. In another bowl, mix 2 small boxes instant sugar free vanilla pudding with 4 cups milk (I used skim milk) and stir until combined. In a trifle bowl, place half of the angel food cake cubes in the bottom. Spoon in half of the strawberries out of the jello liquid and spoon in enough of the jello liquid to just "wet" the angel food cake. You will NOT use all of the jello liquid. Next, spoon in half of the pudding followed by half of the sugar free cool whip. Repeat all the layers again. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

French Country Chicken

This is a great chicken dish to make if you are looking for something different to do with chicken and are tired the same old chicken dishes. I didn't take any pictures while making this dish, but I promise it is super simple! Hope you Enjoy!!

1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 Cup white wine (something you would drink or like the taste of)
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 bag egg noodles (I used whole wheat but any variety is fine)
2 to 3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp dried parsley
Olive oil
salt and pepper

In a large skillet, add enough olive oil to coat bottom of pan and turn heat on to medium. Add in chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. When chicken is about half cooked through, push to edges of pan and add in onion and carrot, season with salt and pepper. Cook veggies until they start to soften and add in thyme and white wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits off bottom of pan and stir in. Add in can of crushed tomatoes. Season again with sprinkle of salt and pepper, stir everything together and turn heat down to a simmer for 20 minutes. While the sauce simmers, put a large pot of salted water on to boil. When water boils, add in noodles and cook through. When noodles are done, drain and add back into the pot with butter, parsley and salt and pepper. Stir to combine and melt butter. To serve, place the  buttered noodles in a dish and spoon the chicken tomato sauce over the noodles. Start to finish, takes about 30 minutes to make.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lemon Angel Food Cake

My Brother's Birthday was yesterday and I wanted to make him a cake using the angel food cake pan he had given me. I have made angel food cake from scratch before and the box mix is SO MUCH EASIER and tastes just as good, maybe even a little better! Most of the box mixes only require you to add water and use an ungreased angel food cake pan or loaf pans. That is really important because if the pan is greased, the batter will have nothing to hold on to to rise while it bakes. The tube in the center of an angel food cake pan also gives the batter something to grab on to.

So, I followed the instructions on my box of mix but also added the zest of one lemon. You may recall me talking about lemon zest and microplanes when I made Lemon Cookies. I poured the batter into an angel food cake pan being careful to keep as much of the air that you beat into it while mixing as possible. I baked it according to my directions and then let it cool in the pan when done. When it was completely cooled, I took a butter knife and cut around the outside edge and the center tube and removed the bottom from the outer ring. Angel food cake pans should be two-part pans. Once the cake is out of the outer ring, take the butter knife and slide it in between the bottom of the cake and the bottom of the pan to remove.

I then took the juice from two lemons and mixed that with powdered sugar to make an icing to drizzle over the top. Depending on how runny you want the icing depends on the amount of powdered sugar that you use.

I had to box this up to take with us but how good would a slice of this be with some fresh berries! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vegetable Soup

Vegetable soup is one of those great meals that I never get tired of. It seems like I can eat leftovers of it for days. And with all the great produce available right now, it seemed like a great time to share my recipe. However, I am not sure if recipe is the right word.....more like method.

In a large pot over medium high heat, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add in 1 pound of trimmed stew meat cut into bite size pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Brown meat for 2-3 minutes and add in 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped carrots, and 3 chopped potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Let the veggies brown with the meat for another 2-3 minutes and pour in 1/2 cup of red wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan and add in a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, 4 Cups beef broth and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Bring pot to boil and turn to low and simmer.

Above is the base of my vegetable soup. This is how I start it every time. It's the next part that seems to change every time and it has to do with what vegetables I have on hand or what is in season. Once the liquid comes to simmer, add in any vegetables you like. Really. You can add in as much or as little as you like. Just make sure that everything will be able to be submerged under the liquid. Canned, frozen or fresh vegetables can be used. Don't worry about thawing anything frozen but I do like to drain any canned veggies I use. Once all the vegetables are in, season with more salt and pepper. Simmer for 3 to 4 hours until the beef is tender and serve.

The vegetables I used for this batch were: fresh broccoli, canned green beans and wax beans, frozen peas and corn.

But also think about: lima beans, brussel sprouts (frozen work great!), cabbage (one of my favorites), cauliflower, diced tomatoes (canned ones work well) and really anything else you want to try.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Fun and Honey Buns

I know.....the 30th came and went and I didn't post anything..........Because we have been having too much summer fun! Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the fun we have been having lately.

Now on to the Honey Buns, Honey Bun Cake that is! We attended a company picnic this last weekend for my husband's work and I made a honey bun cake to take. It is a wonderful and easy dessert. I read a lot of cooking blogs and look at Pinterest for inspiration and ideas for my own recipes. One thing that I kept seeing time and time again was a honey bun cake. Instead of giving you my recipe, I'm going to have to just give you the link for the recipe that I liked best. While I did make a few changes, I feel they were minor changes and that I can't take credit for it being my own recipe. Here is the link to the honey bun cake I like best. And here is a list of the minor changes I made to better fit our tastes/liking:

I used 3 eggs instead of 4
I used 3/4 Cup brown sugar instead of 1 Cup
1 used 5 Tbsp milk instead of 6 Tbsp

This cake is so delicious and moist, I really hope you will try it!

Honey Bun Cake:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cake Boss

My friend Madelyn recently got back from New York where her and her family went on vacation. While there, they visited Carlo's Bake Shop, home of the Cake Boss. Here is the cake they bought:

How cute is that?! The top layer was white cake and the bottom was chocolate cake with a chocolate filling in between the two layers. Madelyn's daughters loved it and what a opportunity to have!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


It's hot out there......too hot. And I'm not about cooking and baking when its an oven outside so I thought I would share how I make sangria.

Using a chilled sweet red wine, fill your wineglass a 1/3 of the full. I used a nice apple raspberry wine my parents brought us from Maine. Then fill the glass another 1/3 full of chilled seltzer. You can add any fruit you like but I added a wedge of orange, a wedge of lemon, a wedge of lime (I also squeezed all of the wedges into my glass) and a couple of slices of granny smith apple. Enjoy and stay cool out there!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Jason's Birthday Cake

On July 4th my husband celebrated his (I won't the his age) Birthday! Last year I made him a Mario Bros. themed cake and wanted to stay with that theme this year as well. I had an idea ready but unfortunately didn't have the time to get it done (hopefully next year. So I typed "Mario Cakes" into a Google image search hoping I could find something easier to do then what I had planned. I came across a very cool picture of an 8-bit Mario made out of cupcakes and thought "I can do that!"

I made 141 mini cupcakes in three different flavors: Vanilla Funfetti, Carrot, and Dark Chocolate. I used boxed cake mix but made my own butter cream icing that I dyed the appropriate colors and laid it all out on our coffee table. Thankfully we had friends and family over to help us eat these cupcakes.

Here is Jason with his friend Ryan whose birthday is also July 4th. The two of them have literally known each other and been friends since birth! They think their moms shared a hospital room when they were born.

Hope you enjoyed seeing Jason's Birthday Cake!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fresh Pineapple Part II

Now that you may have all this fresh pineapple as we did, you may want some ideas of what to do with it all. Here are some of our favorites:

I really enjoy it with yogurt and granola for breakfast

It works wonderful on homemade pizza.
This is a pepperoni, pineapple and green pepper pizza.

My favorite is the BBQ Chicken Kabobs!
Cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces and marinate them in your favorite BBQ sauce for about an hour in the refrigerator. Alternate the chicken, fresh chunks of pineapple and chunks of green bell pepper onto kabobs and grill. Serve over rice.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fresh Pineapple

One of my favorite things about this time of year is all the fresh pineapple the stores are getting in and how cheap it is! Stores around here have been selling it for a $1 each! To pick a pineapple there are a few things you want to look for:
~A small crown (green pointy leaves) compared to the size of the bottom portion (the actual pineapple)
~You want it to feel heavy for its size
~ All of the eyes (circles) on the flesh should be roughly the same color, it is OK if its still green, it will continue to ripen

Start off by cutting off the crown and the bottom from the pineapple.

Then using your knife and staying close to the flesh, cut off the flesh going straight down and making your way completely around.

Cut it in half

Then in half again to make quarters

Taking each quarter, cut out the core (it is edible but very tough, your knife should just glide along it)

Then cut each quarter into strips and then crosswise into pieces.

But if you want to get fancy, cut the pineapple in half first, even through the crown.

And then into quarters

Using a paring knife, I still take out the core but you can leave it, it is easier that way

Using a knife, "fillet" the fruit away from the flesh

Cut the fruit crosswise into strips without going through the flesh

And alternate the pieces pushing them in opposite directions


Come back in a few days for a few ideas of what to do with all this Fresh Pineapple!
Happy July 4th!!!