Monday, December 26, 2016

Ranch Potatoes (Crock Pot)

I had a discussion with one of hubby's cousins last night (which was SO nice! Miss her!)

She is one of those types that would take care of everyone and everything on the planet if she had the means. Genuine heart.

She has 3 (wonderful!) kids as well as two dogs at home.

Then she heard of this other little doggy down at the pound who needed love. She went down to look and the poor thing had pulled out all of its own hair! It was a mix of unhappiness and food allergies.

Cousin brought her hubby and their youngest down to look at the dog and they were like "seriously? this must be a joke".
A joke it was not! She brought her home and worked her magic!

A couple of months later, and you would never have known that this pup had a sad beginning. She is thriving and loving life with her new "siblings".

Thank you cousin, the world needs more people like you!

Ingredients:
6 Bacon strips (chopped)
2 ½ Lbs small red potatoes (cubed)
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
10 ¾ oz cream of potato soup
¼ Cup milk
1 Envelope ranch dressing mix
3 Tbsp thinly sliced green onions


Directions:
1. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp.
2. Remove and drain, reserving 1 Tbsp drippings
3. Place potatoes in slow cooker
4. In a bowl, beat cream cheese, soup, milk, dressing mix, and drippings until belnded
5. Stir cream cheese mixture into potato
6. Sprinkle potatoes with the bacon
7. Cook on low 7-8 hours or until potatoes are tender
8. Top with green onions

Print



Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas 2016


I truly wish that everyone enjoyed their holiday and made some wonderful memories.
For those who are struggling with the holidays due to those who cannot be with us anymore, please remember they are sharing the holiday in your heart.

We do Christmas Eve at my house with hubby's side of the family and some friends. This year there were 13 of us and we ate, drank, and made quite merry!
Usual traditions include using stockings that my mother in law and sister in law made (many years ago) we do small gifts for everyone.
Not to mention, having A Christmas Story on loop as soon as it starts.
We have one friend who stays after everyone else leaves, and we all visit for awhile. The girl child is then forced into bed so Santa can come.

Food:
Cowboy Caviar
Reuben Roll Ups
Ham
Spinach Balls
Christmas Tree Bread
Cheese Tray
Chips and Dip
Gingerbread Brownies

Christmas Day is always at my Uncle and Aunt's house.
We do a yankee swap and just enjoy the day together.

This year one cousin and his family went to his wife's side because a family member is moving to the west coast just after the 1st.
Guess we can allow this :)

Now we are home, wading our way through Christmas mess, cleaning up as we go.
Love this season and every chaotic minute.

I hope you loved yours too!

Week in Review: Week 51: Dec 18, 2016 - Dec 24, 2016

Sunday Dec 18, 2016
Pork Chops
Scalloped Potato

Monday Dec 19, 2016
Steak Tip Salads

Tuesday Dec 20, 2016
Spaghetti O's

Wednesday Dec 21, 2016
Baked Potato

Thursday Dec 22, 2016
Cheese and Crackers

Friday Dec 23, 2016
Pot Roast and Mashed Potato

Saturday Dec 24, 2016
Black Forest Ham
Spinach Balls
Stuffed Cheesy Bread Pull Apart
Cowboy Caviar
Reuben Roll ups
Finger Sandwiches
Ham rolls
Onion Dip
Cheeses (oh so many cheeses)
Nuts
Cinnamon Pie
Gingerbread Brownies
Pumpkin Bread


Monday, December 19, 2016

Cheese Dip

It's that crazy crazy time of the year!
No matter what you celebrate, one theme is the same....everyone thinks they have a good handle on it until crunch time, then it's panic season.

In my case, the shopping is done and wrapped.
Lists are made.
Plans completed.
Yet I am still AAAARGH on the inside.

I decided not to stress over this all this year. Left hubby and the girl child a list of everything that needs to get done between now and when everyone shows up Christmas Eve.
(hey, it's his side of the family...get to dusting!)
At least this way, when they each have a minute, there is no question as to exactly what I want done around the house.

Since I was doing the whole "leaving lists around" thing, I added my grocery list too. Everything I need for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. As they find themselves out and about, they bring me home bits and pieces. The girl ran to Target last night and came back with all the cream cheese I need (since it was on sale). Yay!


I am so looking forward to the craziness, it's just part of the whole season.
Hope everyone has some wonderful memories to make!

What do you do for the holidays?




Ingredients:
8 oz Wispread Sharp Cheddar
8 oz Cream cheese (softened)
8 oz Sour Cream
1 Tbsp White wine
½ Tsp Garlic Powder
½ Tsp Onion Powder


Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients
2. Stir until smooth

Print



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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Week in Review: Week 50: Dec 11, 2016 - Dec 17, 2016

Sunday Dec 11, 2016
Cheesesteak Subs

Monday Dec 12, 2016
Manicotti

Tuesday Dec 13, 2016
Surprise dinner date with hubby and my MIL

Wednesday Dec 14, 2016
Chinese

Thursday Dec 15, 2016
Pork Chops
Blue Cheese Scalloped Potato

Friday Dec 16, 2016
Nothing

Saturday Dec 17, 2016
French Fries



Monday, December 12, 2016

Double Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

A group of us decided to do a cookie exchange...via USPS!
We all are scattered around the country, so we talked about all the virtual ones you see online...but we missed that home touch.

I gathered a list of everyone who wanted to participate, put their names in a hat and matched people up.

We had a two week window in which to create, bake, and ship.
It was about 80% successful, not too bad all in all.

A long time friend, whom I have not seen in years participated. Through email we decided that since neither of us were randomly selected to send to each other, that we would just send them on our own.

In true fashion, life got in the way. We thought we had given each other enough time, but as it came down to the last few days, we both remembered our promise.
A quick email and we are back on track!

This Hershey's recipe sounded like the perfect, yummy, comforting cookie to send to my dear friend.
She won't notice that I stole one...

and shhh...don't tell Hubby and the Girl that I did, I have been telling them that I need this exact amount to send. hehehe.

Ingredients:
1 ¼ Cups all purpose flour
½ Tsp baking soda
¼ Tsp salt
1 Egg
½ Tsp vanilla extract
¾ Cup sugar
⅓ Cup creamy peanut butter
½ Cup butter (softened)
1 Cup milk chocolate chips
1 Cup peanut butter chips


Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350
2. Beat butter, sugar, and peanut butter until creamy
3. Add egg and vanilla, beat well
4. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt
5. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing well
6. Stir in chocolate chips and peanut butter chips
7. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet
8. Bake 12-14 minutes

Print



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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Week in Review: Week 49: Dec 4, 2016 - Dec 10, 2016

Sunday Dec 4, 2016
Mexican Tater Tot Casserole

Monday Dec 5, 2016
1 Slice Swiss Cheese
(yup. bad day. didn't want food)

Tuesday Dec 6, 2016
Veggie Chili

Wednesday Dec 7, 2016
Noodles and Butter

Thursday Dec 8, 2016
Tex Mex Chicken Soup

Friday Dec 9, 2016
Pizza

Saturday Dec 10, 2016
Macaroni and Cheese
Salad


Monday, December 5, 2016

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

Hubby and I ran to Target yesterday to pick up some necessities...and all those random items that somehow make their way into the cart.


We were walking down the main aisle at the back of the store and I saw two kids, a girl and boy. Both young, he might have been 5-ish and she maybe 7.
She was standing on the bar at the base of the cart, leaning over the handlebar and he was pushing. He was too short to see over the handle, so she was directing "straight" " a little left" etc.

Passed them and kept on going.
Next thing I hear is a crash and hubby sort of yelling out "Ow! you didn't have to do that!"
I turned around and he was bent over, grabbing his ankle.
The kids had rammed him with the cart. Whoops.

Dad was headed our way.

Here's the part that gets me.
Sadly, in this day and age, my first thought was "oh man, this guy is going to come have a fit that hubby said anything to his precious babies".
So many times now, it's never the kid's fault, and heaven forbid the parent take blame for not watching them.
Then my second thought (as the poor dad was watching gimpy husband and looking at me with wide eyes) was....holy schnikes, he's afraid we are going to sue. (once again, it's the effect of this day and age)
All these thoughts took less than 10 seconds.

Then, I felt totally guilty for all my thoughts because all Dad was concerned about was if hubby was OK, explaining to his kids why this was wrong, and trying to get the little one to apologize.

Hubby has a very deep voice, and when it (rarely) gets raised, it's a scary sound. The little boy was so shy and nervous that he refused to apologize. Understand. Loud voices are super scary to little people.
Hubby looked at the kids and said "it's OK. I got hurt, but it will go away", which I think relaxed the little girl a bit.
Then he joked around with the dad a second about rubbing mud into it and walking it off.

I was proud of the other dad for making his kids aware they did wrong.
I was proud of hubby for biting his lip and joking with the family.
I was proud of everyone for just realizing that kids will do silly things, they certainly didn't mean to hurt anyone. 
More than anything, my faith has been a slight bit restored. Not everyone is "my kids do no wrong" ridiculous.
Hubby has an ugly bruise, but that will go away, everyone involved will remember this little moment that we all feared would be so much worse, worked out just fine.

'Tis the season...remember that in everything you experience.



Ingredients:
1 ¼ Lb Ground beef
15 oz Tomato sauce
½ Tsp Salt
Ground black pepper
8 oz Egg noodles
½ Cup Sour Cream
1 ¼ Cup Small curd cottage cheese
½ Cup sliced green onion
1 Cup grated sharp cheddar cheese


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Brown meat in a large skillet, drain fat
3. Add tomato sauce, ½ Tsp salt and pepper to taste
4. Cook egg noodles until al dente, drain and set aside
5. In medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese
6. Add plenty of pepper
7. Add noodles to sour cream mixture, add green onions
8. Add half of noodles to a 9x13 baking dish
9. Top with half of the meat mixture
10. Sprinkle on half of the grated cheese
11. Repeat
12. Bake 20 minutes

Print

Adapted from: Tasty Kitchen




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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week in Review: Week 48: Nov 27, 2016 - Dec 3, 2016

Sunday Nov 27, 2016
Salad (me)
Turkey Sandwich (hubby)

Monday Nov 28, 2016
Pierogies

Tuesday Nov 29, 2016
Popcorn

Wednesday Nov 30, 2016
Baked Potato

Thursday Dec 1, 2016
Steak Tip Salad
Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

Friday Dec 2, 2016
Hot Dogs

Saturday Dec 3, 2016
Steak Tips
Fried Mushrooms


Monday, November 28, 2016

Mascarpone Berry Cheesecake

A couple of years ago we held a yard sale at Nana's house to share some of her excess with others
(isn't that a clever way to put it?)

We met some true characters...some were fantastic...others, well, let's just say it took 4 of us to keep these two little kids from destroying everything that was put out for sale.

Anyhoo...
Since it would be running from breakfast past lunch, the aunties and I split up the food duties.
I brought breakfast burritos, Auntie V brought some pulled pork, Auntie A brought all the chip type foods, and Auntie N made sure we had plenty of drinks.
I also made this Pillsbury cheesecake...as, well, no meal is complete without something sweet!

Ingredients:
Crust
1 ½ Cups graham cracker crumbs
6 Tbsp butter (melted)
Filling
2 Packages (8 oz each) cream cheese (softened)
1 ¼ Cups sugar
12 oz mascarpone cheese (softened)
3 Eggs
2 Tsp grated lemon peel
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Topping
2 10 oz bags frozen berries (drained)
⅓ Cup jam


Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350
2. Spray bottom and side of a 9 inch springform pan
3. In small bowl, mix crust ingredients
4. Press crust in bottom of pan
5. Bake 7 minutes or until set
6. Reduce oven temperature to 300
7. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar
8. Beat in mascarpone cheese
9. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended
10. Beat in lemon peel and lemon juice
11. Pour filling over crust
12. Bake 70 minutes
13. Turn oven off, leave door open a minimum of 4 inches, and leave cheesecake for 30 minutes
14. Cool in refrigerator overnight
15. Spoon berries over top of cheesecake
16. Microwave jam 45 seconds or until melted. Drizzle over berries.

Print


No pictures of this cut as I did not take the pan off until we got to Nana's...and then I didn't think about it!! Not to mention the barbarians attacking this!


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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week in Review: Week 47: Nov 20, 2016 - Nov 26, 2016

Sunday Nov 20, 2016
Celery and Cream Cheese

Monday Nov 21, 2016
Left Overs

Tuesday Nov 22, 2016
Sloppy Joe's

Wednesday Nov 23, 2016
Egg Salad and Tomato Soup

Thursday Nov 24, 2016
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Friday Nov 25, 2016
Pizza

Saturday Nov 26, 2016
Really late lunch, so, no dinner tonight!



Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Happy Happy Turkey Day to you all!

I hope everyone got to spend quality time with friends and family today, I sure did!

Today started off with a bang...woke up with the start of a migraine. Panic mode!
Fortunately, I was able to stave it off to be able to make what I needed to make what I needed to make and get through the day. Hubby and the girl child pulled all the prep work together for me in order to keep me back on my track.

As the years go by, and the kids get older (not to mention losing the ones we love) and have their own families to celebrate with, the group gets smaller.
This year, we were about 50% of our normal. Very quiet.
Though, my aunts and I have yet to master the art of COOKING for 50% less people.

Oh...my...word...the food.

We had everything one could ask for in front of us. The abundance was a slight bit shameful.

My contributions this year were:
Deviled Eggs
Mashed Potato
Dill Salad
Carrots
Sweet Potato
Corn Casserole
Pecan Pie
Key Lime Pie


I was bringing the mashed potato.
Could you imagine if my head prevented me from going today?
It's one thing if you tell the host that "oops, the carrots can't make it" but the mashed potato isn't making it? That's Thanksgiving sacrilege!

I could go on and on about cute things that happened, or funny moments...but I know you all had your own!

I am thankful for everyone around me.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Anti-Thanksgiving Post

At some point on Thursday or Friday...after everything a whole bunch of cleaning and digesting...I will discuss how fantabulous my Thanksgiving was.
How could it not be?
It will truly be epic. It always is!

But in the meantime...let me let you peek in a little bit on my private life.

My name is Jay and I am a picky eater.
Not just a little picky: massive, annoy all my family and friends kind of picky.
Amazingly, it just seems to get worse as I get older.
Yay me. (please note the deadpan obvious sarcasm)


An article popped up in my FB feed from thekitchn.com and it hit home oh-so-much.
5 reasons why (someone other than me!) hates pumpkin.
This article started my spark. I had to fill people in on why Thanksgiving is one of my least favorite food holidays.



My co-workers actually had me run down the list of Thanksgiving foods and my thoughts on all of them. They are also amazed at the amount of stuff I bring to my own Thanksgiving...but, this is the only way to ensure I actually will eat something, (my dishes will be in red)

Turkey: I do not like turkey. I do not eat meat on the bone, Strike 1 and 2 all wrapped up into one featherless friend. At Thanksgiving I will have 1 bite of skin. Done.
Stuffing: Do not eat
Gravy: I like gravy, but not all gravies.
Bread: If they are not burnt, I will eat this.
Carrots: Simply spiced
Stuffed Celery: YUM!
Pumpkin Bread: See link to article above
Deviled Eggs: I would eat them...if I could get to one before they are gone!
Mashed Potato: Forget the turkey, to me, this is the star of the day (but only if I make them)
Sweet Potato: Never tried one. I make them every year, but have never eaten any, My dad has been critically allergic forever, so, we just avoid them.
Relish Tray: No olives for me, I can live without pickles.
Corn Casserole: love love love
Green Bean Casserole: only like this if it is actually made with french cut green beans
Turnip: why, oh why, do people eat this?
Squash: I eat no squash of any kind
Creamed Onions: only if sliced, and not in a glue like gravy.
Dill Salad: mmmmmm
Apple Pie: not a huge fan, but I avoid it for the most part (as I do most desserts not made by me) due to my own artificial sweetner allergy. Easier not to eat it than hope people remember if they used real sugar or not.
Key Lime Pie: No citrus for me
Pecan Pie: The one time of the year I actually get a piece
Pumpkin Pie: see article above

Do you all feel enlightened now?
What is your most fave and/or least fave part of Thanksgiving?


Monday, November 21, 2016

Roasted Tomato Soup

It's the pre-thanksgiving countdown!

Popped into the grocery for a couple things to make to eat during the football games yesterday...yowza!
Which then reminded me, I have yet to do my Thanksgiving shopping.
Fortunately, hubby has offered to brave the crowd today or tomorrow during the day...hopefully the crowd will be a bit less.

Gah!

What are you making this Thanksgiving?






Ingredients:
1 Large can roasted tomato
4 ½ Tbsp Olive oil
1 Small onion (diced)
1 ½ Minced garlic
2 Tsp Sugar
1 ½ Tbsp thyme (chopped)
½ Cup Roasted red pepper (chopped)
¾ Cup Water
Salt and Pepper
Basil pesto


Directions:
1. Add 1 ½ Tbsp oil to a large saucepan
2. Saute onions until translucent and soft
3. Add garlic and thyme to pan
4. Add red peppers, water, sugar, and tomatoes (with juice) and warm through
5. Blend with blender, add salt and pepper to taste
6. Top with basil pesto

Print







Adapted from: What Were Cooking

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Week in Review: Week 46: Nov 13, 2016 - Nov 19, 2016

Sunday Nov 13, 2016
Pork Roast
Roasted Potato
Parmesan Corn

Monday Nov 14, 2016
Leftovers

Tuesday Nov 15, 2016
Burgers

Wednesday Nov 16, 2016
Burger

Thursday Nov 17, 2016
Cheese Quesadilla

Friday Nov 18, 2016
Beef Tips in Mushroom Gravy

Saturday Nov 19, 2016
Burgers


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Blogging for Books: Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss


I love everything classic and foreign.
German flavors and combinations are infused into so many items we eat everyday, but one might not know it.
Flipping through this book there wasn't a single page I didn't ooh and ahh over.
All the cookies, cakes, and breads look so amazing.
The instructions are very clear, and most of the ingredients are common enough to find at any grocery.


**Note** I was provided a free copy of this book from www.bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Spaghetti with Broccoli Pesto

My magazine swapping friend handed me a copy of All You magazine one day.
I flipped through, per usual, and came across this recipe.

Maybe we be weird type folks, but Hubby and I love us some broccoli. Even the girl child has always loved broccoli.
(grammar nazis...I know, I know...but it just felt right to say it that way!)

As I am one of those deprived wives, I have no food processor. (sigh) Anyone else out there have this problem?
If so, I was able to do this in my blender just fine! I just did it in batches, adding some oil and garlic in with each batch of broccoli.

Oh the garlic smell is delicious.
The broccoli and Parmesan paired perfectly!
I have leftovers in the fridge...I might need some now, hey, it's veggie, right?! Good for you and all that stuff!

Ingredients:
Salt and Pepper
1 Lb broccoli stems and florets (chopped into 1 inch pieces)
1 Lb spaghetti
¼ Cup olive oil
1 Clove garlic (minced)
½ Cup heavy cream
1 Cup grated Parmesan


Directions:
1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil
2. Add broccoli and cook until soft
3. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to food processor
4. Add spaghetti to pot and cook to al dente
5. Add olive oil and garlic to broccoli and process until smooth
6. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in heavy cream and parmesan
7. Season to taste with salt and pepper
8. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water
9. Mix pasta with pesto adding water 1 Tbsp at a time if pesto seems to dry

Print




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