Friday, January 09, 2009

Bacon Explosion!

A heart attack waiting to happen...

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • 2 pounds thick cut bacon
  • 2 pounds Italian sausage
  • 1 jar of your favorite barbeque sauce
  • 1 jar of your favorite barbeque rub
Click the link for the instructions and images of the steps:

Doubt I'll ever try... but it would be good. ;)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Beef "sausage" stick

This is a Christmas favorite for our family.

5 lbs hamburger
3 tsp garlic salt
4 ½ tsp pepper (cracked)
4 ½ tsp mustard seed
5 tsp tender quick salt
2 tsp liquid smoke
  1. Put in plastic, 2 gallon, ziplock bags.
  2. Knead everyday in bag.
  3. On 3rd kneading day, bake @ 150 for 8 hours. Turn at 4 hours.
  4. While baking, meat should be placed on rack and sheet.

Store in ziplock or foil or you can freeze it.

It makes 3 – large, 4 – medium, 5 – small

For pictures click here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Barefoot Contessa Brownie Mix

I bought this brownie mix last week because it was the only one I could find at the store that had no artificial flavors or colors (for Isaac's new food regulations). I made it last night. I was going to save them for today. But when Nate asked me (at 10pm) if I wanted some I agreed. Well, they are fabulous tasting brownies. They should be with 1/4 pound of real butter and real very dark chocolate chunks! They were so good, in fact, that I had two.
Maybe that wasn't such a good idea. Suddenly I had a really bad case of the jitters. Apparently all that really dark chocolate had more caffeine than my body could take so late at night. I was up until 1:30 am.

But they were good brownies.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Don't eat it if you don't know what it is

Nate and I started the ingredients game when we were first married. Someone would get the container of food and ask the other to guess the ingredients in the food. It was always fun to actually be able to guess them all or remember from the last time we played. Food has some pretty weird stuff in it. Take vanillin (artificial vanilla) for example. It is derived from a waste product from paper mills! Gross. Artificial vanilla is in so many things too. Artificial colors are in even white foods (like marshmallows).

Well, now we look at the ingredient label for another reason. Isaac. Isaac has ADHD. He takes medication to help him control his impulsiveness and to be able to focus enough to do even basic things like tie his shoes, button his shirt, or write legibly. Well, we have tried every medication out there. And eventually they all stop working after a few months. So now, in addition to the medication, we are trying to tweak his diet to see if that will make a difference.

The first things we are taking out are artificial colors and flavors. Also really heinous chemicals like BHT and MSG. Now, this is so much easier than it would have been a few years ago. With stores like Whole Foods and organic food/brands available at even our local grocery stores, there are many choices. Still it has been a little be of a challenge. There are foods that I didn't think would be a problem, that I thought were pretty wholesome. Even fruit cocktail has artificially colored maraschino cherries.

So I've concluded that I won't eat it if I don't know what it is. I hope that this will help Isaac. I think our whole family will be healthier. The doctor says that it takes 6-8 weeks to really see the difference (I guess it takes a while to get all the nastiness out of your body). Meanwhile, I'm trying to use up all the fake stuff and/or replace it. I'm also going to have to be a little better about menu planning. Buying organic and shopping whole foods puts a much bigger dent in my wallet than the way I used to shop. I hope it works. The next step is to take out items with salicylates in them (even in good stuff like apples, grapes and oranges). There aren't apple substitutes out there, it would be goodbye forever. We'll see...

Friday, August 01, 2008


and the living is easy. Grilling is one of my favorite easy ways to cook dinner. The kids love to light the grill. Shish kebabs are one of our family's faves too. Put it on a stick and kids will eat just about anything, well, maybe not anything, but a lot of things. This time we had teriyaki shrimp kebabs and some chicken satay. What's your favorite?

Friday, June 13, 2008

bread and jam for us

I usually don't ever make bread. The 5 or 6 times I've tried, it turns out like a brick. So I stick to other types of bread like sweet rolls, pizza, etc. (It's the same recipe, I know. But bread in a loaf never seems to work out.) Well, last night I started making bread on a whim (not a good thing to start at 9PM). I put it in the fridge overnight and baked it this afternoon. actually turned out! It was a little salty because I used Hazel friendly soy margerine (which is salted already). But it was fluffy and the kids devoured it.
There is a hole in one loaf where Toby stuck his finger in. He wanted to see if it really was dense as a brick. Oh well, looks aren't everything. And maybe, since it worked this time, I'll actually try it again!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Pecos Shrimp and Sausage

Pecos Shrimp and Sausage
(See on plate in photo below)

1 pound shrimp, peeled
1 link Andouille sausage (cajun), cut into 1/2" pieces
1/3 cup Cookwell Pecos 83 Marinade (or Bock and Brown Sugar) or any other BBQ type marinade
1/2 cup thinkly sliced bell peppers
1/2 sweet onion, thin sliced
1 Tbsp Adams Val Verde Rub (or other southwest style spice seasoning)
1 Tbsp oil

Sprinkle rub on the shrimp. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook shrimp about 1 minute per side (DO NOT OVER COOK). Remove from pan
Cook sausage until browned then add veggies. Cook until crisp tender. Return shrimp t pan, add marinade and cook 30 more seconds. Serve over white rice or with The salsa rice recipe below.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa Rice

This dish can be made with store bought salsa or you can make the basic salsa from scratch. It tastes good either way, although my children prefer it from scratch. I always double the recipe and it lasts for 3 meals for our family. Without the tomatoes makes this side dish a little more versatile.


1 cup Cookwell brand Corn and Black Bean Salsa (or any other brand) See substitution recipe below.
1 cup basmati or jasmine rice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 1 quart sauce pan. Add rice, onion, garlic, and salso. Cover with a tight fitting lid and reduce heat to low. Cook 20 minutes. Fold in butter and cilantro. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let stand 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Substitute salsa recipe:

1/2 can unseasoned black beans
1 cup corn
1/2 jalepeno, seeded and diced (optional)
1 plum tomato, seeded and diced (optional)


Bring chicken broth to a boil in a pan. Add rice, onion, garlic, beans, corn, and tomato and jalepeno if desired. (I've done it both ways. I think my kids liked it without the tomatoes and peppers. It is just a different taste.) Cover with a tight fitting lid and reduce heat to low. Cook 20 minutes. Fold in butter and cilantro. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let stand 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Count the ridges

Today, since it was Mother's Day, I made myself a strawberry torte. My mom used to make this all the time when strawberries were in season. The cake mix always made 2 tortes. That may seem like a lot. But divide that by 11 or more and no one gets more than a regular slice. Well, as kids, none of us wanted to get a smaller slice than anyone elses. So my mom would count those ridges on the cake and cut it so that everyone had the same number and thus the same size slice. We all double counted just to be sure. Anyway, just a little flash back as I was slice up this torte after dinner.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


One of the things on my list of places to go has been Austin's Farmer's Market. So last weekend we finally got there. But we only had $8 in cash and it was the end of the day so we didn't get much. We got some baby carrots and beets. We ate the carrots on the way back to the car. Can I tell you, they were soooooo sweet!! We ate most of them before we got home. Even Hazel ate them, which is highly unusual for her. Those carrots reminded me of the gardens my dad planted growing up. It makes me want to get in gear and change my lawn into a garden if it would mean eating produce that good all the time. I try to buy organic when the cost isn't too different. And most of the time I've found the better taste is worth the extra money. It's a fine example of getting what you pay for. I highly recommend it. I've actually found some canned organic produce that is good too. Del Monte makes good canned green beans (which is nice because no matter how hard I try, half of my family still dislikes fresh and/or frozen ones; so we trade off). And our grocery store's own organic brand of unsweetend applesauce is awesome. Anyway, I still am amazed at how sweet those carrots were.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Another Sweet Deal

Put this on your calendar for Wednesday night: Baskin Robbins is holding a 31 cent scoop night in honor of America's firefighters. So take your kids out and get them a cone!

Don't Forget!!

Don't forget that tomorrow is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Shops! I think I'll stop by a couple times!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Beef and Bean Enchiladas

You will need:

1-2 pounds ground beef
1 10oz. can refried beans
1 16 oz. can red enchilada sauce
1 package tortillas in soft taco size

In large skillet, brown and drain ground beef.
Return to skillet and add refried beans.
Mix until well blended with beef.
Drop mixture by spoonfuls onto tortilla, roll, and place in pan.
Continue until pan is filled with rolled tortillas.
Shake Enchilada sauce, and pour over top or rolled tortillas.
Top with as much cheese as you like.

Bake at 350 until bubbly.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Summer Salad

1 or 2 packages ready to eat salad (I like romaine and spinach)
1/2 package Craisins
1 Bartlett Pear, sliced thin or thick, your preference
1 package Bar-S bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 small Red Onion (optional)
1 jar Brianna's Poppy Seed Dressing (this is the BEST!)

Add all together and enjoy!

You can also mix it up by adding chunks of Swiss Cheese, Radishes, Mandarin Oranges, or whatever else would make a yummy mix of sweet and salty with the bacon.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Philly Cheesesteak Pie

Soooo yummy! And Easy!

1 lb. Stew Meat
1 med red pepper
1 med yellow onion
mushrooms (optional, and I didn't use any)
1 can Campbells beef broth (get the kind that says "double rich, double flavor under the title)
Mozzarella cheese (I like cheese, so use as much as you'd like)
1/3 C. flour
1 Tbs Italian Seasoning
2 Tbs. Olive Oil (although I use Grapeseed because it has a higher temperature rating)
1 package Flaky Layers rolls
Casserole Dish
Deep sided skillet

Preheat oven to 350, and spray casserole dish lightly with Pam.

Add Olive (or Grapeseed) Oil to skillet, and heat on medium heat
Cut pepper and onion into small strips and add to warmed pan
While veggies cook, mix 1C of beef broth with flour
When veggies are limp, add stew meat, Italian seasoning, and broth mixture to pan.
Cover and simmer until thickened.

Meanwhile, take Flaky Layers rolls and pull each roll apart to double the batch. Take half and put along bottom of casserole dish. Lightly brush with melted butter.

When meat mixture is thickened, add to casserole dish. Take Mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks, and disperse throughout mixture. Top with remaining Flaky Layers rolls. Brush lightly with melted butter.

Cook until top is browned and bubbly.


When I made this, the whole family loved it, and ate the ENTIRE thing! I will double the batch next time and freeze some of the meat mixture to make an easy meal even easier!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pico de Gallo & Gwock

I discovered a great looking recipe for pico de gallo and guacamole. I'll be trying them this weekend, only because the pictures (from the link below) look sooooo delicious. (Check out the link, it's a photographic recipe)
I found it here on this blog.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Chocolate Praline Cake from a mix (outstanding!)

Here's a show-stopper of a dessert, a fancy layered thing with a quick praline of butter, brown sugar, cream and pecans in the bottom of the pans, and chocolate batter on top. You sandwich the layers with sweetened whipped cream. Works well with a pudding-in-the mix cake, but if you want to use plain devil's food cake mix, that works great too.

  • Preparation time: 12 minutes
  • Baking Time: 35-37 minutes
  • Assembly time: 15 minutes
  • 8 T. (one stick) butter, cut up
  • 1/4 C. heaving (whipping) cream
  • 1 C. packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 C. chopped pecans
  • 1 package of devils food cake mix with/without pudding
  • 1 C. water
  • 1/2 C. vegetable oil (canola, corn, safflower, soybean, sunflower)
  • 3 large eggs
  • Sweetened Cream (see below) made with 1 C. heavy whipping cream and 1/4 C. confectioners' sugar
  • 1 square (1 oz) semisweet chocolate, grated or shaved for garnish

  1. Place rack in center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set aside two 9-inch round cake pans.

    (NOTE: Alternatively, for a cake that totes easily to other locations, bake this cake in a 9x13 inch baking pan for 55 minutes. Cool the cake for 10 minutes in the pan, and then invert the cake onto a serving platter. Let it cool completely, then frost with the sweetened cream and garnish with the grated chocolate. Not as high-impact visually, but still an attractive cake that everyone will devour!)

  2. Place the butter, cream and brown sugar in a small heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the butter is melted, 3 minutes. Pour the mixture evenly into the cake pan(s) and sprinkle it evenly with the chopped pecans. Set aside. (I won't tell if you lick the saucepan too...YUM!)

  3. Place the cake mix, water, oil and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping the sides again if needed. The batter should look well combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pan(s), pouring over the pecan mixture, then smoothing it out with the spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side.

  4. Bake the cakes until they spring back when lighly pressed with your fingers, 35 to 37 minutes. Remove them from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edge of each layer and invert each onto a rack to cool, praline side up.

  5. Meanwhile, prepare the sweetened cream.

    Place a clean, large mixing bowl and electric mixer in the freezer for a few minutes while you assemble the ingredients (1 cup heavy whipping cream and 1/4 Cup confectioners' sugar). Pour the whipping cream into the chilled bowl and beat with the electric mixer on high speed until the cream has thickened, 1 1/2 minutes. Stop and add the sugar. Beat the cream and sugar on high speed until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes more. Makes enough to generously fill or thinly frost a 2 layer cake, 12-cup bundt cake, 10-inch tube cake or 9x13-inch sheet cake.

  6. Grate the semisweet chocolate for the garnish.

  7. Place one cake layer, praline side up, on a serving platter and spread half the sweetened cream on top. Place the second layer, praline side up, on top of the first, and frost the top of it with the remaining cream, working with clean, smooth strokes. Scatter the grated chocolate on top of the cake. Slice and serve.

    * You can store this cake, covered loosely in waxed paper, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Super easy Choclate Cream Pie

1/3 c. milk
4 oz. milk chocolate
2 tbsp. sugar
3 oz. cream cheese
1 prepared graham cracker pie crust
Cool Whip

Heat chocolate plus 2 tablespoons milk until melted. In a large bowl beat cream cheese, remaining milk and sugar. Add melted chocolate. Fold in Cool Whip. Pour into pie shell and refrigerate. Serves 8.

This recipe originally called for 4 oz. German Chocolate, but when I made it with that, it was too bitter. Milk chocolate is more my taste. I'm sure you could also use chocolate with toffee pieces or almond pieces as well.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


One of my student's mom made these for me for a Christmas treat. They were so good I went home and looked for the recipe on google and then tried them myself. They are so GOOD!!! So I thought I would share the recipe.

1 (18-ounce) package cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (Take out the cream)
1 (8-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 (12.5-ounce) package chocolate-covered creamy mints
2 (12-ounce) packages semisweet chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon shortening

PULSE half of cookies in a food processor 3 or 4 times or until crumb consistency. Add remaining cookies to crumbs in food processor, and pulse until crumb consistency. Cut cream cheese into 4 pieces; add to food processor, 1 piece at a time, processing well after each addition.

ROLL cream cheese mixture into 1-inch balls. Push one chocolate-covered mint into the center of each ball; roll each ball smooth.

MICROWAVE chocolate morsels and shortening in a glass bowl at HIGH for 90 seconds or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds.

DIP balls in melted chocolate mixture; place on wax paper to harden. Store in refrigerator.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Perfect Party Salsa

I thought with the holidays approaching I would share a favorite recipe of mine that my Uncle Rod shared with me years ago. It is always a hit! and so easy to make!

3/4 bag frozen white sweet corn
1 can black beans ( do not drain juice)
1 bunch green onions ( chopped finely)
5-7 roma tomatoes ( chopped finely)
1 large lemon

Just chop up the ingredients, mix everything in a large bowl and then cut then squeeze the juice from the lemon over the mixture and mix thoroughly! Serve with corn chips. It is very yummy and fresh! I like the Tostitos brand that are called Scoops ( they come in regular or baked, I especially love the baked ones!)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Freezer Stuff

I am so glad to have a freezer full of ready to eat, or at least greatly simplified meals that my family will love. I think that last part is the key. The meals that you freeze shouldn't be new or some just for food storage type meal. I decided to make my food storage stuff we'd actually eat, not just stuff to survive on. So these are some of my favorite recipes. There is a list at the end of the ones I used.

I made all of my freezer meals in a three day period. That makes a lot of mess and takes a lot of work. An easier way is to just double or triple whatever meal you are making (really easy with soups, stews and sauces), and then freeze the extras in meal size portions. A few tips I discovered the hard way:

1. Don't put hot meals directly into the freezer. My freezer had so much hot food in it that the alarm on it went off (yea, I had no idea freezers had alarms!).
2. I used disposable plastic containers. But Ziplock bags also work and things freeze faster and flatter so that you can put more in your freezer.
3. Stock up on frozen veggies, and the add ins.
4. When adding pasta, rice or other grain to a sauce or soup, don't let it cook too long (maybe half the time). When you thaw it out and reheat it, the pasta will finish cooking.
5. When adding fresh tender vegetables to dishes, don't cook them at all. I used zucchini and squash and just cut them up, put them on the bottom of the container, and added the hot sauce on top. The vegetables will be blanch cooked and then you will freeze it. When you reheat the dish, the vegetables will finish cooking but not be too mushy or slimy.
6. Buy bulk meat and divide and brown or marinate it before freezing.
The meals that I froze were the following (most I have already posted on the blog and have linked them to the recipe):
7. Be careful stocking up on cookies and muffins, mine got eaten way too fast. Perhaps you will have better luck at the will power thing.
8. when freezing pancakes lay them flat so that they don't stick together. After they are frozen put them together in one big ziplock. Also applies to berries, vegetables or meat chunks that you don't want to clump. They take less time to defrost and it is easier to use small portions instead of thawing a big bag when you just need a little bit.

Thai Red Curry Chicken
Indian Curry Chicken
Chicken Makhani
World's Best Sugar Cookies
Swedish Pancakes
Green chicken Enchilladas

(These are ones I still need to add)

Masaman Curry Chicken
Beef Barley Stew
Chicken Noodle Soup
Bubble Gum Icecream
Banana Bread
Pumpkin Bread
Zucchini Bread
100% Whole Wheat Pancakes

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Opulent Chicken

6-8 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts
sliced swiss cheese
2 cans cream of chicken soup
½ c. sour cream
½ c. water
2 c. Ritz cracker crumbs (1 wrapped stack approx. 2 c.)
½ c. melted margarine

Lay chicken in greased baking dish and put a slice of cheese on each. Mix together soup, sour cream and water. Pour over chicken. Mix cracker crumbs and margarine and sprinkle over chicken. Bake 2 ½ hours at 275.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Applesauce Cake

This is for you Tracy. It's Jeanette's recipe. Have fun with all your apples.

Applesauce Cake

1c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. shortening
2 c. applesauce
2 c. flour
2 tsp. soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Mix and pour into a greased 9x13. Bake @ 350 for 35-40 min.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Laura's Caramel Popcorn

On Med. Heat, mix the following:

2 squares butter
2T water
2C brown sugar
1/2 C Karo

Bring to a boil, and boil only 1 minute! The longer it boils the stiffer it will be.

After boiling, add:
1t vanilla
1/2t baking soda
Mix over 2 bags of microwave popcorn.

One thing I forgot when I did this was to transfer the popcorn from bowl to bowl a few times to get the seeds out. So now when I eat mine, I have to spit the seeds into the garbage can. It's a beautiful sight.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Jakes Chicken Curry with Onion Naan (YUMMY!)

My brother-in-law made this for us when we were visiting and it is DELISH! I'm definitely going to make it, but thought I'd share his recipe with you in the meantime.

Onion Naan
(You can take the onion out and just have
naan if you prefer)

3 T. butter (room temp is best)

1 C. finely chopped or grated onions

1.2 C. warm wager

1 tsp. salt

1.5~2 C. Bread or all purpose flour

Sauté the onions until clear (add butter to skillet at

medium-high heat. Add onions and reduce to low heat.

Cook until the onions turn clear.

Meanwhile -

Melt butter in skillet and pour into a large mixing

bowl. Add warm water, onions, salt and 1.5 cups of

flour (.5 cup at a time). Work the dough into a ball

by hand. If it continues to feel sticky, add 1 or 2

tsp of flour. Work the dough with your hands until it

is slightly firm, 1-2 min.

Shaping -

Divide the dough into 8 pieces and form each into a

ball. Cluster them into a group on a floured work

surface and let them rest for 3 min. Flatten each

ball and roll out as thin as possible. If a piece

resists, move onto another and come back later. Cover

Naan with a towel as each is completed.

Baking -

Using an ungreased heavy non-stick pan, cook naan or

high heat 3-4 minutes on each side. Don't be

concerned if they brown unevenly.

The Curry is very easy.

I chop up and cook the vegetables separately usually in

butter (potatoes, onions, carrots) I usually boil

chicken, but you can grill it or cook it how you like.

While this is going on I cook the rice in our rice

cooker. After the rice, chicken and vegetables are

all cooked, I combine them into a large fry pan and on

low heat I add a chopped up block of either House or

Vermont Curry (You can find it at an Asian mart or a

lot of regular grocery stores have started to carry it

these days to). You can add a little bit of the chick

broth if you boiled the chicken (this steams and helps

the curry blend in a littler better). Mix it up until

the curry is all mixed through. (this is the dry


For wet curry -

Keep the rice separate. Check the curry box, but you

add the curry block to a pot with the vegetables

and water and heat it up until the curry has dissolved

in and you have a thick stew. Pour over the rice.