Thursday, March 24, 2011

A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Holy Beatles Themed Party!



She thought of everything. EVERYTHING!! So there.

Home Cookin'

(this photo is a sham, I forgot to take a picture of the actual meatloaf. So There.)

Last time I made meatloaf, I used ground turkey and added shredded carrots and other veggies, and put them into cute little  (I had already lost Joe at "cute".......) muffin pans, so we had individual, healthy meatloaf servings. Well, this was not the "meatloaf" Joe was expecting that his mom used to make. Albeit, they were really very delicious!!
So, this time I went traditional. I googled "recipe mom's meatloaf" and found exactly that.

He likes it served with white rice, instead of mashed potatoes, and A1 steak sauce, instead of ketchup or bbq sauce. So rice and A1 is what I did! 
This recipe is SO EASY, so that was nice...and I left it simple - restrained from adding additional spices (or vegetables.....). sigh.

It turned out very well - a success! Proven by us eating the leftovers the very next night for dinner! Also proven by the fact that I RARELY eat beef, and I liked it.

I think next time I'd add a bit less milk and cook it for longer, as it was so moist it pretty much fell apart when I sliced the middle sections. But still tasted great.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Saltine cracker crumbs (I pulsed these in the food processor)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (also pulverized in the food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten


Mix all ingredients together gently. Form into a loaf and place in baking dish or loaf pan. Top with more ketchup if desired. (Here I topped it with half ketchup, half A1 sauce about 30 minutes into the cooking) Bake at 350° for about 1 hour.
Serves 4.

Mom's Meatloaf. Check!  So there.

I'm gonna shine

Wow, these look really cool!

See the Free People blog for the How To - I really want to try this!
Free People blog - sun jar

A rose is a a pillow

Hooray! I finally bought this pillow! Loving it!!

 if only the amazing chair came with it..........!!!

And today, the child was taught what a "decorative pillow" is...haha. No LAYING ON IT!! ;)

Monday, March 21, 2011


My parents came to visit this weekend, and my mom brought me this candle she bought for me, from my blog post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Yum smells like jasmine, and is oh so pretty!


Tried my hand at some whoopie pies for St. Patrick's Day - green velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.

Whoopie pies seem to be becoming pretty popular lately - those, and the similar macaron.
It was hard to find the right consistency for the cake/cookie part;  tried a couple different recipes, and ended up with a batch of pancakes?? first, and the second I had to still add quite a bit of flour to to get them from a cake batter to more of a free standing cookie dough.

Basically a whoopie pie is two round pieces of cake with a creamy filling. But, to make the cake circles on a flat cookie sheet (they make whoopie pie pans just for this problem!!), you have to change the cake batter to more of a cookie dough consistency.
Anyway, they still tasted pretty delicious...the second batch, that is; the first seriously tasted like pancakes!!  Strange.

Here is the recipe I used - Thank you Paula Deen!  But, I had to add quite a bit more flour to the mix, like I mentioned.  I halved this recipe, and once halved, I added about 1/2 cup or more of extra flour. (and I used green food coloring instead of red, duh! Just guessed the amount - dropped in the liquid color until it looked right to me)

Since I tested out 2 different pie recipes, I ended up using the frosting from this recipe blog instead of the one below. It was delicious!!

Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 oz package of softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 bag powdered sugar (2 lb bag)
  • Milk as needed
Cream together cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.   Gradually add in powdered sugar and continue mixing.   I add in milk as needed to get to the desired consistency.

Pie recipe: (Like I said, I halved this recipe) The full recipe is listed below.

Servings: 24 Pies
Prep Time: 20-30 Minutes
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes


For the pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
One 1-ounce bottle red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk

For the filling:

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two cookie sheets. Sift the flour, baking soda, and cocoa together. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, food coloring, and vanilla.
Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs together until they turn pale and double in volume. Add the oil mixture and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in five small additions, starting and ending with the flour.

Drop the batter by teaspoons onto the baking sheets, allowing 1 inch between drops, as the cookies will spread. You’ll be making 48 cookies. Bake until the cookies are firm but not crisp, about 12 minutes. Transfer immediately to racks to cool.
**Mine barely even baked for 7 minutes! Watch them closely!!

To make the filling, put the flour into a medium saucepan and slowly add the milk, whisking until smooth. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until very thick, about 3 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Cream the sugar, butter, shortening, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add the cooled flour mixture and whip until fluffy. Spread onto one cookie and top it with another to make a sandwich; repeat with the remaining cookies and filling. Cover the filled whoopee pies with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lasagna Night

Made a yummy ground turkey lasagna last week, and snuck in some shredded carrots, spinach, and chopped mushrooms, too!
I just layered lasagna noodles in a casserole dish with tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, and shredded mozzarella cheese, as well as the mixture of cooked ground turkey with the veggies.

It turned out really well, but I tried those no boil lasagna noodles, and I don't like them. They aren't cooked all the way yet, so during cooking I think they sucked up all the moisture in the sauce, veggies, and ricotta, because once baked, there wasn't a whole lot of sauce or moisture to the layers. Plus, I probably cooked it a bit too long overall, the already-cooked ground turkey was a little dry, and the cheese on top was a little too browned.
That's what I'll change next time.
But, I hadn't made lasagna in forever, so it wasn't bad! I like that it was healthier, too.

Also served it with Trader Joe's cheesy garlic bread, sold in the freezer section....SO GOOD! very garlicky, but I love it.

So there. Lasagna.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Old-Fashioned Peanut-Butter Cookies & Chicken and Dumplings Crock Pot Soup!

Made a successful crock pot soup on a Saturday afternoon!

Chicken and Dumplings Soup

Sorry, I forgot to take photos.

I filled the crock pot halfway with chicken stock.
Added 4 (raw) chicken breasts, chopped carrots, onion, celery, leeks, some herbs and spices and let it simmer for 4 hours on high.
Then, I mixed up some biscuit dough (Bisquick, or I used an awesome Trader Joe's multi grain mix) and drop spoonfuls right on top of the simmering soup. Let cook for an additional 30 minutes until the dumplings are set. Add just less than 1/4 cup of cream at the end for a richer soup - although I didn't notice much difference.

(I wanted to speed this along so I brought some chicken stock up to a boil on the stove and cooked them in there since the crock pot soup liquid never gets close to a boil, then added them to the soup)

I don't really have a specific recipe, I kind of just added what I had....but it was actually good!!

I used these both as a guide:

Oh, and Kylie helped me make some peanut butter cookies, too!
This recipe is flour-less, and I under baked them a couple minutes and let set up on the cooling cookie sheets.
They are so good!!

Old-Fashioned Peanut-Butter Cookies

Makes 18 cookies


  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (not the all-natural variety)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1. Heat oven to 350° F.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in the eggs, baking soda, vanilla, and salt.

3. Roll heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. With a lightly sugared fork, press the dough to a ⅜-inch thickness, making a crisscross pattern on top of each cookie.

4. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the edges are set, 10 to 12 minutes.
(I only did about 8 minutes!!) Cool to let set up on the baking sheets.  Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

And the Oscar Goes to....

Made some adorable Red Carpet/Academy Awards themed mini cupcakes for an Oscar viewing party tomorrow!
Red velvet with cream cheese frosting

Bought some edible gold dust at Michael's! Their cake decorating section is so awesome.

Then, I took a piece of cardstock (ahem, one of those Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons I get in the mail), and traced a star on it (from this template, or just draw one). Cut out the star, so you are left with a stencil.

Poured some magical gold fairy dust into a little bowl and found my small pastry brush.
Carefully set the stencil on top of the first cupcake, brushed over some gold dust, and even more carefully lifted the stencil up off the cupcake. This pulled at the frosting some, and made a few of them not such recognizable stars, but I tried!!

and there you have it.
Cupcakes fit for a red carpet!

Academy Awards Viewing Party Cupcakes!

Academy Awards Viewing Party Cupcakes!

Enjoy your party!!