Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

When your husband tells you last minute that you need to take a dessert somewhere, and you don't want to go to the store, this is your cake. I thought my last minute cake would be a fitting last post of 2014. :) It's not exactly last minute because of the baking time, but if you have all the basics, and about an hour, you can make this! The glaze I use when I don't want to do a lot of work is just powdered sugar and milk, but if you prefer frosting, you can easily top the cake with that.

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake
adapted from
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 TBSP cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 TBSPs milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch bundt pan.
2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Mix in vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Pour flour mixture into batter alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with flour, mixing until just incorporated. Fold in walnuts, mixing just enough to evenly combine. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan.
4. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with the cinnamon.
5. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the batter in the pan. Drop remaining cake batter in heaping spoonfuls over filling, covering it as best you can.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
7. Combine powdered sugar and milk, adding enough milk to make desired consistency, and mix until combined. Drizzle over cooled cake.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Peanut Butter Ritz

I have been trying to keep it low key this Christmas with my baking and candy making. I haven't made much except for some Cranberry Orange Bread and a few cookies. One new thing I did try however, was these peanut butter crackers. I got the idea from a cook book I own called Eat More Dessert by Jenny Keller. I love this cookbook! It has such cute and easy dessert ideas for parties. I also love it because I was able to go to a book signing and she autographed my book. :) I won't post her recipe, because I'm sure she would like you to buy the book, but I'll give you the basics. I spread some peanut butter between 2 Ritz crackers and then dipped it in melted almond bark. I also tried it with green and red. You could make these for any occasion really, and they are extra cute with a little piped on design on the top.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mulling Spice

This isn't a recipe, more of a suggestion. :) I'm in love with this mulling spice. I get it from Winco in the bulk spices section. I wrap up about 2 TBSPs in a little square of cheesecloth and tie it with some kitchen twine. I heat up 4 quarts of apple juice, dunk that little packet down in there, and let it simmer for about 2 hours. You can add orange slices for a citrus flavor. It makes the kitchen smell amazing and also makes a cute and cheap gift. Go buy some.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Thanksgiving Leftovers Shepherd's Pie

One more leftover turkey recipe I want to post before I forget. This is what I did with a bunch of our leftovers, and I might have liked it more than the original turkey dinner meal. :) I looked at my regular Shepherd's Pie recipe as a guide and this is that I came up with.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Shepherd's Pie
3 cups leftover turkey pieces, bite size
1 cup leftover turkey gravy
2 cups leftover vegetables (I used green beans and corn)
3 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 cup cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 x 12 or 3 quart baking dish.
2. Combine turkey, gravy, and vegetables, and spoon into baking dish.
3. Cover with potatoes and sprinkle with cheese.
4. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Turkey Cranberry Sandwich

Hope everyone had some yummy food yesterday! I know I did! If you are looking for something to do with your leftover turkey, this is for you. 

Turkey Cranberry Sandwich
Sourdough bread
Leftover turkey (can also use turkey lunch meat)
Sliced Cheese (I used cheddar in my pic)
Leftover cranberry relish
Lettuce or spinach
Butter or margarine for grilling

Layer the turkey, cheese, and a little mayo on the bread. Spread some butter or margarine on the outside of the bread. Grill in a pan on the stove top or in a panini press. After it's golden and the cheese is melted, open it up, spread on the cranberries, and top with lettuce and tomato.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cruise Food

I've been slacking with the blog lately for a reason. We went on a cruise last week and I had been trying to lose a little weight beforehand. I haven't made anything good for the last couple of months and because of that, I was able to reach my goal. :) One of the reasons I wanted to lose weight, was so I could enjoy LOTS of food on the cruise, and we ate A LOT! :) Possibly the best thing about being on a cruise is all the food, and I DON"T HAVE TO MAKE IT! And no dishes! I took a few pictures of things, but the dining room didn't have the best lighting and they are phone pics, but I wanted to share.

 First, my awesome friend, Amber, brought me some Blue Bell. It had been over a year and a half!

 Buffets are the best!

 Chocolate Panna Cotta

 A Fancy Looking Salad

 Chilled Peach Soup (tasted like peach juice)


Baked Alaska! Had never tried this before. Yum!

 Carrot Cake

 We ventured out to a restaurant in Jamaica to get some real jerk chicken.

 Johnny Rockets Chicken Sandwich

 Ate loads of soft serve.

Saved the grossest for last. My hubby tried escargot. Said it was squishy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Healthy Solutions Spice Blends - Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew

This is my first product review! I was contacted and asked to review the Healthy Solutions Spice Blends spice packets. I chose 4 spice packets to try and received samples in the mail: Savory Meatloaf, Authentic Chili/Tacos, Italian Meatballs, and Hearty Beef Stew. Each of them come with a recipe on the back. They are all natural, and most contain no salt or sugar. I'm not a health nut, so normally this isn't something that I really care about when buying spice packets, but I couldn't say no to trying something for free. You can't buy these at the store in Washington, but they sell them in a few states at Whole Foods and other stores, and of course you can buy them online on their website here. If these were available in my local store, I would probably buy them again. So if you live in one of the lucky states (like Texas), or are into online shopping, give these a try! I used the recipe on the stew packet and tweaked it a bit. It originally called for wine, which I don't usually cook with, so I substituted water and beef bouillon. It made a very flavorful broth and my family loved it. My husband really liked the flavor of the spices on the meat (said it tasted a little like bbq). Some of us opted to eat it over rice. I will use this recipe again, even if I don't have the spice packet.

Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew
adapted from Healthy Solutions Spice Blends
1 1/2-2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 onion, chopped (I like big chunks)
1 cup green beans, washed and trimmed (or other vegetable you like)
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalk celery, sliced
2 cups water
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 pkg Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Hearty Beef Stew or other stew spice packet
2 lbs beef stew meat or cube steak, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup chili sauce

1. Place all vegetables in bottom of slow cooker. Add water and bouillon cubes. Sprinkle 1/2 of spice packet over the top of vegetables.
2. Place meat on top. Sprinkle meat with remaining spices. Pour chili sauce on top of meat.
3. Cook on low 8-10 hours. (I like to cook on low for about 7 hours and then high for the last 2-3 hours just to make sure that meat is tender).
4. Stir and serve.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Apple Pie Muffins

It's fall! We went apple picking last Saturday and brought home lots of beautiful apples! This was our first experience picking apples and it was very exciting, except for the bee sting. :/ We tasted different varieties while picking, but the ones we brought home were Tsugaru. Never heard of them? I hadn't either, but they are a very sweet apple, and we love sweet! They aren't necessarily a baking apple, but I had to try something new! We loved these muffins! I especially like that they aren't full of cinnamon like most baked apple dishes. Even though fall is apple season, apples are always available, so you can make these anytime!

Apple Pie Muffins
adapted from
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups diced apples (about 1 large apple, I leave my peel on)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin tins or line with paper muffin cups.
2. For topping: Combine topping ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix using a pastry blender or fork, cutting up the margarine into no bigger than pea sized pieces. Set aside.
3. For muffins: In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/4 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. In a separate smaller bowl, mix together the egg, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla.
5. Pour into the flour mixture and sprinkle the diced apple into the bowl as well. Stir just until everything is blended.
6. Using a large scoop (about 1/4 cup), scoop batter into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle each cup of batter with 1 1/2 TBSPs of topping mixture.
7. Bake for 20-22 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.
Makes about 18 muffins.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet Dinner with Bacon

We love pretty much anything with bacon and cheese, so if I can add those ingredients to a dinner, my family will love it. This is just like a chicken and rice casserole, but assembled in an oven proof or cast iron skillet. If you don't have one, you can transfer everything to a casserole dish, just make sure it's safe to use under the broiler. There is a lot of Tabasco flavor in this dish, so beware that you might need to cut down on the amount for kids.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet Dinner with Bacon
adapted from
1/2 pound bacon
4 TBSPs butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 TBSPs Tabasco Sauce
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
4 cups cooked white rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Cook bacon, drain and set aside. Reserve 2 TBSPs bacon drippings.
2. Place butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted whisk in flour, and pepper until smooth and bubbly. Slowly whisk in chicken broth. Increase heat to high whisking broth until thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese. Stir in Tabasco sauce. Reduce heat to a simmer and set aside.
3. Place reserved 2 TBSPs bacon drippings back to oven proof skillet. Stir in cooked rice. Add chicken and cheese sauce, mixing to combine. Top with 1 cup cheddar cheese then top with crumbled cooked bacon. Place under oven’s broiler for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Oreo Sheet Cake

Yummy yum yum! We're trying to only eat dessert on the weekends right now, so when I make something it has to be GOOD! I made this last weekend to take to a potluck BBQ. When I picked up my platter it was all gone, but luckily I saved a few pieces at home. ;) This is a basic chocolate sheet cake with some chopped Oreos in the batter, topped with cream cheese frosting, and more Oreos. Next time you're making a chocolate sheet cake try throwing in some cookies!

Oreo Sheet Cake
Chocolate Sheet Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup hot water
1 1/2 cups chopped Oreo cookies
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
5 - 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Oreo cookies, chopped-for topping the cake

1. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare sheet pan by spraying it with cooking spray. I used a 10 x 15.5 in. pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add cocoa powder and hot water and whisk to combine. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. When the mixture starts to boil, turn off the heat.
4. Add the melted butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Stir in the egg mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the chopped Oreo cookies.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
6. While the cake is baking, make the cream cheese frosting. In a mixer with paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and shortening until combined. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat on high for 5 minutes.
7. When the cake has cooled, frost with the cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle the cake with chopped Oreo cookies. Cut into squares and serve.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Flat Bread Pizzas

School started today, which means I have time to post! This is what we had for dinner last night. We all like different toppings on our pizzas, so this is what I do to make everyone happy, with out spending a lot of time and/or money! I posted a BBQ Chicken Flat Bread Pizza recipe awhile back and this is basically the same thing but with tomato sauce and regular pizza toppings. You can use ANYTHING you like on these. We do pepperoni, sausage, cooked shredded chicken, olives, spinach, tomato, sautéed onion and green bell pepper...or whatever I feel like throwing on there. I love using the flat bread pitas because they are cheap and easy! 

Flat Bread Pizzas
6 Flat Bread Pitas
1 - 1 1/2 cups pizza or spaghetti sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Prepare any toppings that need to be precooked, like chicken and sausage. I also sauté my onion and bell pepper first.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the pitas on 2 large baking sheets.
3. Spread about 3 TBSPs of sauce over each pita leaving a small space around the edge (we like a lot of sauce).
4. Sprinkle 1/3-1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese over sauce on each pizza.
5. Place your desired toppings on top of cheese. Sprinkle a tiny bit of cheese on top (I used cheddar in my pics).
6. Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes until crust is crispy and cheese is melted. Rotate pans halfway through baking.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles

My sister has been trying to get me to make this for ages. I haven't had much luck with Asian flavored noodles. I don't really like fish or oyster sauce, and I hadn't found any recipes I am partial to. I loved this one! I made it spicy with 1 1/2 tsps of Sriracha sauce, and it was pretty hot! My kids would have probably preferred a little less kick. If you don't want to buy a whole bottle of Sriracha sauce for this recipe, (the bottles are big) you could substitute some crushed red pepper flakes, but I really liked the flavor of the sauce. This would also be great with the addition of chicken or tofu.

Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles
adapted from
8 ounces linguine noodles
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 TBSPs minced fresh ginger root
3 TBSPs soy sauce
3 TBSPs peanut butter
1 1/2 TBSPs honey
1 - 2 tsps hot chili sauce, like Sriracha sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

1.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender according to package directions. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, combine chicken broth, ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, chili sauce, and garlic in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until peanut butter melts and is heated through. Add noodles, and toss to coat. Garnish with green onions and peanuts.
Serves 4