Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blog Love

I love blogs! I'm not really sure how we did things before blog posts but my guess is that it involved the telephone and before that, letters and conversations with friends and family. Well, I think that we need to make sure that we continue using the telephone, letter and conversations with family and friends to share ideas and informations (blogs are not a substitute for real people) but I think that blogs are part of how we communicate in this new age of technology. That said, I'd like to introduce you to one of my favorite blogs:

This blog is great because Anna has tips for cleaning and organizing just about everything and anything you can imagine. When I have a cleaning question, her blog is the 1st place I go (well, her blog and calling my mother). If you've got a cleaning quandary, she's got the answer! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Return of Menu Monday

Well, it's Monday and this means a return of Menu Mondays! Yes, I know you are all anxious to see what I'm planning to cook up for dinner this week... then again, you probably aren't but I believe in sharing so I'm gonna share my menu for this week with you anyway! :)

Monday: Homemade spaghetti and meatballs (with homemade sauce, my FAVORITE part! Actually, I just love that my kitchen and the rest of our apartment smells like an Italian kitchen!)

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff with egg noodles

Wednesday: Italian Beef Sandwiches with Nanny's Baked Italian Tomatoes (New tomato recipe from Hubby's grandmother and oh-my-gosh it's AMAZING!!!! I don't particularly eat tomatoes but I could eat these all the time! Super simple. Super yummy. Super fast and super cheap. That all makes it a keeper!)

Thursday: Slow Cooked Juicy Chicken with rice Pilaf and broccoli (roasted or sautéed) Note: I will make 2x as much as I need because I will be using 1/2 of it for my chicken quesadillas later in the week.

Friday: Lasagna with salad (and this is a store bought lasagna, folks. It's easier and really cost effective. And I had a coupon.)

Saturday: Chicken Quesadillas (using our second 1/2 of the juicy chicken) with salsa and black beans

Sunday: ????? Right now, I'm not sure what we will eat on Sunday night. To be honest, it might be macaroni and cheese.  Then again, it could be something else from earlier in the week.

Our schedule this week is really open to changing very quickly and it is possible that some of these meals won't actually get cooked or eaten this week. As usual, there is also a definite possibility/likelihood that meals will get switched around. I don't believe in having a schedule so ridged that you can't change things up if needed.

Hope this week's menu inspires you to cook up something yummy that makes you smile one of those big-I'm-so-content smiles :)

Happy cooking!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Link Party- Boost My Blog

Well, today I'm trying to link up to my first blog party! We will see how it turns out!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A rather full few days

My lack of blogging lately has been due to several things:
1. We are finally home from house sitting and I have been more tired than I was anticipating.
2. I haven't really had much to blog about. Well, not exactly. I have thought, 'Oh, I'll blog about this...' but then I forget about what it is.
3. Yesterday, I spent the day cleaning and cooking because last night we had some friends of mine over for dinner. That will be the "topic" of today's post :)

It was SOOOOOO good to spend time with Aaron and Jenn last night! We have all been friends since high school ( just to give you an idea of time: Jenn is a junior in college not, Aaron is a 2nd year law student and I'm a senior in college). The Hubby had met them at our wedding, if you can call that meeting someone since the whole day is kinda fuzzy, but didn't really know them. I think that all parties involved at last nights little dinner party.

Because I'm a foodie, you know that I have to share last night's menu with you! So here it is:
Main course~ Herb crusted pork tenderloin with roasted potatoes and onions
Dessert~ Peach and blueberry crumble with vanilla ice cream

Sorry, no pictures. I had an issue with my oven not cooking fast enough with the main course and then too fast with the dessert. Go figure. The other reason for no pictures is because there wasn't anything left. Well, there was a little bit of crumble left but I don't have a picture of it. Anyway, that's what we ate.

It was a great night with good food but even better conversation and friends!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Frozen Solid, part 2

Well, I roasted that chicken from yesterday. It is currently sitting on the counter cooling. I feel victorious after having finally cooked the evil frozen bird. Silly. Overly dramatic, I know.

I will show you the picture if you cross your heart and promise to 1. Not base your judgment of my chicken solely on the basis of my picture. I used the camera on my phone because I don't have my camera handy.

Ok, here it is...

While it may seem like roasting a chicken might be difficult, it really isn't. I used parts of two different recipes and a few ideas of my own. It really isn't difficult at all. I promise to post the recipe I used soon, but not tonight. Tonight, I want to bask in the glow of having roasted my first chicken... or work on my knitting project... or finish cleaning the kitchen... or read a book... or.... You get the idea. Now, go roast a chicken. It will complete your life :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Frozen Solid

Well, tonight's dinner was going to be homemade roasted chicken and vegetables. Please note the past tense of the verb "was"... Why am I using a past tense verb? Because my chicken is still frozen. That's right- frozen S-O-L-I-D!!!!

I like to buy meat when it is on sale and then freeze it in individual meal size portions (ex: I take 1 package of chicken breasts and put 2 breasts in each freezer bag for our next meal that calls for chicken breasts. I take English roasts and cut in half and freeze each half individually, etc.). Well, you can't exactly cut a whole chicken in half so I froze the whole thing. I put the chicken in the fridge two days ago so that it could thaw. Not wanting for the chicken to spoil, I was planning on cooking it tonight but as I was removing it from the plastic wrapper and preparing to rinse it, I came to the startling realization that my bird was still frozen.

Now, what do you do when your bird is frozen? Call your mother! This was a food 9-1-1 and my mother, the Food Queen, would surely have a solution! And what was that solution? Cook the chicken tomorrow and eat something else tonight.  Ok, I already knew that but I was hoping that there was another solution. The worst part was that I had prepped all the vegetables that I was going to roast with the chicken, which means that I had to do something with them.

What then are we having for dinner tonight? Rotisserie chicken from Kroger with homemade roasted vegetables and rice. Basically the same thing but I didn't get to roast my chicken like I had planned. I will be roasting it tomorrow but I will be using it in something rather than just as roasted chicken.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I started studying the book of Ezekiel today for my daily time with the Lord and all I can say is "WOW"! If you haven't read Ezekiel before (aka are like me and it just never really crossed your mind to read it) and are in need of a new book to study for your Bible time of just because you want a good read, then I HIGHLY recommend it!

Today, I read chapters 1 and 2 and was really struck with how current the message it. (Imagine that! God is current and His Word is timely!) I'm not going to give you a commentary or even tell you what it says because I want you to do that on your own (for help on discovering the Truth of Scripture for yourself, check out these guys! Or contact me and I will share with you the tools that have helped me not to read my Bible with a commentary close by.)

On that note, here are Ezekiel chapters 1 and 2

Ezekiel 1
1 Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God2 (On thefifth of the month in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's exile3 the word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priestson of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar ; and there the hand of the LORD came upon him.) 4 As I lookedbehold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire5 Within it there were figures resembling four living beings. And this was their appearance : they had human form6 Each of them had four faces and four wings7 Their legs were straight and their feet were like a calf's hoof , and they gleamed like burnished bronze8 Under their wings on their four sides were human hands. As for the faces and wings of the four of them, 9 their wings touched one another ; their faces did not turn when they movedeach went straight forward10 As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man ; all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle11 Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above each had two touching another being, and two covering their bodies12 Andeach went straight forward ; wherever the spirit was about to go, they would gowithout turning as they went13 In the midst of the living beings there was something that looked like burning coals of firelike torches darting back and forth among the living beings. The fire was bright, and lightning was flashing from the fire14 And the living beings ran to and fro like bolts of lightning.15 Now as I looked at the living beingsbehold, there was one wheel on the earth beside the living beingsfor each of the four of them. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their workmanship was like sparkling beryl, and all four of them had the same form, their appearance and workmanship being as if one wheel were within another17 Whenever they moved, they moved in any of their four directions without turning as they moved18 As for their rims they were lofty and awesome, and the rims of all four of them were full of eyes round about19 Whenever the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. And whenever the living beings rose from the earth, the wheels rose also. 20 Wherever the spirit was about to go, they would go in that direction . And the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living beings was in thew heels21 Whenever those went, these went ; and whenever those stood still, these stood still. And whenever those rose from the earth, the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels.22 Now over the heads of the living beings there was something like an expanse, like the awesome gleam of crystalspread out over their heads23 Under the expanse their wings were stretched out straightone toward the other ; each one also had two wings covering its body on the one side and on the other24 I also heard the sound of their wings like the sound of abundant waters as they went, like the voice of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army camp ; whenever they stood still, they dropped their wings25 And there came a voice from above the expanse that was over their heads ; whenever they stood still, they dropped their wings26 Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance ; and on that which resembled a thronehigh up, was afigure with the appearance of a man27 Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire ; and there was a radiance around Him. 28 As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy dayso was the appearance of the surrounding radianceSuch was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.

Ezekiel 2
1 Then He said to me, "Son of manstand on your feet that I may speak with you!" 2 As He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet ; and I heard Him speaking to me. 3Then He said to me, "Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day4 "I am sending you to them who are stubborn and obstinate children, and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD.' 5 "As for them, whether they listen or not-for they are a rebellious house -they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 "And you, son of man,neither fear them nor fear their wordsthough thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions ; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house7 "But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious8 "Now you, son of manlisten to what I am speaking to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious houseOpen your mouth and eat what I am giving you." 9 Then I looked, and behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. 10 When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back, and written on it were lamentationsmourning and woe.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Confessions of a Foodie

Ok, so in case you haven't noticed, I'm a foodie... or at least a wanna-be foodie. I love food and not just the eating part although that is fun too. I actually love cooking and creating fun, yumminess with food. Food is flexible, which means you can change things around and alter/create pretty much whatever you want/like and I LOVE that! I am getting to the point that while I'm constantly looking for new recipes I don't always follow them to the letter, particularly when it's the recipe for something I've made several times before.

I said that I would post recipes for a few dishes that I've made recently and that's what this post is about: recipes!
1. Tex-Mex Rice
2. Enchiladas
3. Ravioli Sauce
4. Chocolate pie
{No. 3 and 4 are per special request } 

1. Tex-Mex Rice 

You will need: 
~ 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
~1 medium onion, chopped
~2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
~2 cups boiling water
~ 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
~ 1 and 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
~ 1 teaspoon salt
~ 1 can (14ish oz) diced tomatoes, drained {if you wanted to make it hotter you could use Rotel}

In a large skillet, saure the rice and onion in the oil until the rice is browned and the onion is nice and tender {and turning translucent}. Stir in the boiling water, green bell pepper, chili powder and salt. Bring the yumminess to a boil and once the boil is reached reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender. Once the rice is tender and yummy, stir in the tomatoes {or Rotel} and heat them through. Time to eat! This is what it looks like when finished: 
{recipe is compliments of Taste of Home

2. Enchiladas

You will need: 
~1 lb of ground beef {or turkey or whatever if you are being health conscious}
~1 medium onion, chopped
~1 can enchilada sauce {red}
~1 clove of garlic, minced
~1 {4oz} can of diced green chillies
~6-8 large {8in} flour tortillas
~3 cups {at least} Sharp/medium/whatever kind you like shredded cheese
~1/2 cup chopped green onion {garnish, optional}

Cook the meat, onion and garlic in a pan/dutch oven until the meat is no longer pink and drain off the excess fat {I have also been known on occasion to rinse the meat a little to remove a bit more of the grease/fatty goodness, but that is optional}. While the mean is cooking {aka before the draining of the fatty goodness} begin to heat the enchilada sauce in a medium sauce pan on the stove. Once the sauce is heated and the meat,onion and garlic mixture is all cooked, you can begin to assemble the enchiladas. Assembly works best on a cookie sheet {my hubby usually does this part, although I'm not sure why}. Coat each tortilla in a little bit of sauce and down the center of each layer a little bit of meat, some green chillies and cheese; fold the sides of each over like you would a soft taco and place it in a greased 13x9 inch baking dish that has a little bit of sauce on the bottom. Repeat the filling and placing of the tortillas {single layer} until you are out of tortillas, the pan is full or you don't have any meat left. Now, take the remaining sauce and pour it over the top of the enchiladas. The last pre-baking step is perhaps the most important: pile the rest of the cheese on the top of the sauce coated enchiladas! {We are firm believer that you can't have too much cheese so we use more than I've actually included for the recipe, but use as much or as little as you like}. Once you have covered everything in cheesy goodness, pop it in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes, just till the sauce and cheese are bubbly and melted. Top with chopped green onions and serve with Tex-Mex Rice and black beans. :) 
{my adaptation of The Pioneer Woman's enchilada recipe}

3. Ravioli Sauce

You will need: 
~1/4 cup butter
~1/4 cup flour
~1/4 teaspoon slat
~1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
~2 cups milk 
~1/4 cups white wine or vegetable broth 
~1/2 cup minced fresh basil 
~1cup shredded mozzarella cheese
~1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
~2-1/2 cups marinara or spaghetti sauce

Melt the butter over low/medium low in a large sauce pan. Once the butter is melted whisk in the flour slowly, making sure there are no clumps. The roux should be thick but smooth and not lumpy/clumpy. Stir in the salt and nutmeg and slowly add the milk and wine. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to cook for about a minute or until it has all thickened nicely. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the basil, mozzarella and parmesan cheese and marinara sauce. That's it! You're done! Well, you're done with the sauce now you just need to add it to some cooked pasta. I poured it over ravioli and it was amazing but honestly I think it would be great over almost any kind of pasta. {Sorry, no picture here folks. When I make it again I will try and take a picture.} This is a recipe is part of a larger recipe from Taste of Home

{make sure it is the REAL DEAL! Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES are you to use a butter substitute, it will not work right. Trust me, I know from experience. In most cases it doesn't matter but this will be used to make a roux and if you use margarine then your roux will not thicken properly.}

4. Chocolate Cream Pie 

*this is the Vanilla Cream Pie recipe, it is the base for several others*
You will need: 
~1 cup sugar
~1/2 cup all-purpose flour or 1/4 cup of cornstarch 
~1/4 teaspoon salt
~3 cups milk
~4 eggs 
~3 teaspoons of butter or margarine 
~1-1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
~1 9-inch baked pastry shell 

For the filling, combine the sugar, flour/cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Gradually stir in the milk and cook the mixture over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. In a separate bowl, separate the egg yokes from the egg whites. Beat the yokes slightly and gradually stir 1 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yokes. Return the egg mixture to the saucepan. Gently boil. Cook and stir the mixture for about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour filling into pie shell and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Cool at room temperature and then chill for several hours before serving. 

To make it Light Chocolate: 
Decrease the sugar for  3/4 cup and add 3 oz. of chopped semi-sweet chocolate with the milk. 

To make it Dark Chocolate: 
Increase the sugar to 1-1/4 cup and add 3 oz. of chopped unsweetened chocolate with the milk. 

From Better Homes and Gardens cookbook from 25 years ago. I only mention the publication date because it differs slightly from the current edition, which I haven't tried yet. 

{this is the light chocolate pie and it's very yummy
but you want to make the dark chocolate pie. TRUST ME!}

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

I love dessert. It makes me happy. It is the perfect ending to any meal (except breakfast... but only because I haven't tried dessert after breakfast). Tonight I tried these...

I got the recipe from here (it's different from the above link b/c the one above is for a gluten-dairy-sugar free cake and where's the fun in that?). Ya know what? It needs work. The cake turned out to be heavy and not quite sweet enough... So guess what? I'm gonna work on! Let ya know when I've created the prefect 5 Minute Chocolate Mug cake!

Confessions of a domestic diva

It is sooooo nice to be home again! Ok, we haven't gone anywhere but we have been house sitting for friends from church (2 whole weeks) which makes for a busy two weeks (we still had to take care of our place and our kitties). Since "returning" home from our house sitting adventures we haven't actually spent much time at home which means that things were sufficiently messy and chaotic looking. Thus, today I was nearly ecstatic with possibility of staying home and getting things in order. 

I have come to the conclusion that I love being a domestic diva! I love being home and taking care of my apartment! It's not that I love cleaning or running the vacuum but I love the feeling of accomplishing something that can be seen instantly and that helps not only my life but the life of my husband. It's like my way of "providing". Obviously, this isn't a monetary provision (the man does that) but it is my way of giving my family (the man and our 2 kitties) a clean, and inviting place to call home. 

I get excited aver the little things in life: splash-less bleach, findin a cleaner that will actually get rid of the mold and mildew that had grown behind the caulk in my bathtub (yes, that was today's success; gross I know but I didn't know it was behind the caulk until it all came up.... a job poorly done on the part of the person laying down the caulk); the smell of something yummy in my oven or on my stove, etc. I love it! And the best part is that it's my life! 

This doesn't mean that there aren't time when I don't just sit and do nothing or not want to do nothing. There are times when I don't feel like cleaning or cooking or doing much of anything and sometimes I actually don't do anything. But all in all, I love being at home and I love creating a home for my family. 

A home is more than the house and it's more than the cleaning and decorating. It's about the heart. It's about love. The old saying is right: Home is where the heart is. 

{compliments of etsy.com}