Monday, January 30, 2012

Crispy Southwestern Chicken Wraps


Sometimes I feel like I'm making the same thing over and over for the little man and I for lunch - PB&J, veggies and dip, grilled cheese, homemade pizza, leftovers from dinner the night before, crackers and cheese, fresh fruit, quesadillas...the list goes on and on.

When I saw these wraps on Pinterest the other day, I quickly "repinned" them onto my Food & Recipes board so I'd remember to make them.  Yesterday was the day when they came to life!

These portions make 4 good sized wraps.  I even froze one so I could take it to work later this week for lunch.  I should have made more!

Crispy Southwestern Chicken Wraps
4 large tortillas
1 cooked, shredded chicken breast
2 c. salsa
2 c. cooked brown rice
1 c. sour cream
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. black beans

Cook chicken breast however you prefer.  I sprinkled mine with garlic powder, pepper and chili powder, then baked at 375 for 30 minutes.  Shred once cooled.

Layer open tortillas with rice, sour cream, salsa, chicken, black beans and cheese.  Roll up like a burrito, folding sides in as you roll.  Place on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until crispy and heated through.

Dip in salsa, sour cream, guacamole, Greek yogurt, whatever sounds good!


The husband gave rave reviews and then complained as to why I didn't make more.  Never enough.  But, I do have to agree with him, next time I'll make a double batch and freeze some for later.

Are you following me on Pinterest yet?  You should!  Just click on the "Follow Me On Pinterest" logo on the right hand side toolbar or click here

Trust me, it will give you so many neat ideas to float around in your brain, that you won't be able to sleep at night and you'll wonder who ever in their right mind actually has time to do it all.  Prepare to feel bad about yourself.

Ha!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

DIY Sunday: Rollin' is the new Foldin'

Who wants a little history on our house?

We moved to the house we live in now when I was 8 months pregnant with the little man, which is definitely not recommend, but due to my husband's job transfer we found ourselves trekking from the Des Moines area to a small county just east of Iowa City.

Needless to say I was emotional and not very happy about it.

My husband still remembers the "worst day of our lives" as he likes to call it, when we took a day trip to the county we needed to live in, only to find NOTHING and his pregnant, emotionally, pissed off wife, crying in the passenger seat.  It was not a good day.

Long story short, we eventually settled into a small ranch style home in a small community.  There wasn't a ton of housing available in our price range, so this cute little white house with burgundy shutters was going to have to do.  Obviously the next few months included unpacking and birthing a child.  Honestly, it was all kind of a blurr.

But there is one thing I do remember very vividly.  My new house was small.  Just under 1,000 sq. feet, it had three bedrooms, one small bathroom and NO basement.  There isn't much privacy in our house, we've grown to live with it, but it can sure make a mom cranky sometimes.

I had to get creative.  Where was I going to put everything?  I am definitely not a "stuff" person.  Trinkets are not my friends, but organization is.  I would rather drop stuff off to Goodwill any day then fill a shelf in a living room with "junk".

Here is what I had to do with our drawers and closets that hold towels.  Instead of folding, I roll.

Hand towel door in kitchen
 
Hall closet holding bath towels

By rolling everything, instead of folding, I easily can fit twice as many towels in each drawer/closet.  It's a godsend.  When my mom or MIL come to visit they still sometimes struggle with how to roll them extra tight and get them squeezed in there nice and pretty like I like....but I forgive:)

Someday we will move.  We know this house is small and is temporary for our family.  But it fits us now (barely).  You don't have to have the biggest, grandest house to have a family, so we are embracing it just about as much as we can stomach it.

What space saving ideas have you come up with?  Frankly, I could use more ideas!  The husband and I are working on a project in the spare bedroom/little misses' bedroom.  I cannot wait to show you...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars


I am so glad I ate one of these bars after I went to the dentist for a cleaning on Monday.  They are stick to your teeth good and very rich.  I tempted y'all with these last week promising the recipe...well, here it is!

Imagine pecan pie, but with added chocolate bits and a buttery, flaky crust.  Then multiple that times 10.  Then you might be close to what these taste like.  Oh my gosh, perfect to gift to someone, a bake sale or a weekend stuck in the house because of snow.

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
Crust:
2 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter, softened
1/4 t. salt

Filling:
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. corn syrup
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 T. butter, melted
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 c. chocolate chips

Combine flour, sugar, butter and salt with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Press firmly and evenly into a 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

For filling combine all ingredients and pour/spread over hot crust.  Bake an additional 25-30 minutes or until set.  Cool on wire rack and cut into squares.  Yields 4 dozen small bars.


No, the little miss did not get a bite of these bars, but rather munched on Cheerios while watching me bake.  I don't know about your kids, but anytime I'm in the kitchen they are ubber-interested in what I am doing.  Not sure if we have budding-bakers on our hands or they just like to be involved.

Either way, I try and let them help as much as I can, until I want to pull my hair out or walk outside for a breather for a few minutes.  Whichever comes first.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Honey Cornbread Muffins


I'm not going to lie.  The path of existence with cornbread and I has been that little blue and white box called Jiffy.  Although she got me through many years and she tasted pretty darn good, I've found a replacement.

I like to find homemade recipes of boxed versions, not only because they tend to be better for you, but you just feel proud after you make them.  Like you accomplished something.  Anything.

Take these muffins for instance (which could easily be made in loaf form for bread).  They went great with our spicy taco soup a couple of weeks ago and for mid-morning snacks the next day.  And not to mention the taste...so much better than their boxed cousin!  My goodness, they are good.

Please, I'm begging you give them a try.

Honey Cornbread Muffins
1 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 c. milk
2 eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 c. honey

Mix together all ingredients until just combined, do not overmix.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, grease a muffin pan or use liners, fill 3/4 of the way full and bake for 15 minutes.

Top with more honey.  Or if you grew up in my family maple syrup.

I know, people think we are weird.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Slow Cooker Meatballs {two meals in one!}

The kids and I spent the whole weekend at my parents house.  With wintry weather outside we spent all our time indoors, which of course meant lots of cooking and baking!  The little man LOVED it and I think spent 50% of his time sitting at the kitchen island helping Grandma.

Maybe a budding chef?

The recipe I'm sharing today is one of the easiest and most delicious recipes I feel I've passed on in a long time.  The slow cooker does all the work and it can be made into two meals.  The traditional way as spaghetti and meatballs and the most delicious meatball subs.  Both were equally satisfying.

Working moms, stay-at-home moms, single folks, every living, breathing soul on this planet, needs to try this one.

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Meatball Subs
Slow Cooker Meatballs
Meatballs
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork or pork sausage
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. breadcrumbs
3 T. fresh parsley
1 egg, beaten
2 t. minced garlic
2 T. olive oil

Sauce
28 oz. tomatoes, drained
28 oz. tomato puree
1 t. dried basil
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 t. salt

Combine meat ingredients and stir until just combined.  Form into 24 meatballs.  In a large slow cooker, combine all sauce ingredients, then add in meatballs.  Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.

*If sauce seems a little thin when done, combine a little cornstarch and water to thicken*

Then divide up.  Eat half of the meatballs with pasta, then reheat a couple of days later and make meatball subs (sub rolls, provolone cheese, meatballs and sauce).

If you are a meal planner I've taken care of two meals for you!

Now tell me, who is going to try this one???

Sunday, January 22, 2012

DIY Sunday: Treat Bags for Your Girlfriends


I try and never go empty handed when meeting friends that I haven't seen in what seems likes ages.  A little something small, I feel, lets them know I value their friendship, even if we haven't seen each other in over a year (or longer!).

I really value the friendships I've made over the years from various jobs and places we've lived.  Do you keep in touch with your friends?

Yesterday I made up the most delicious Chocolate Pecan Bars.  See them?  They are heavenly, and every bit of sugar filled that they look like they are.  There is no hiding the calories in this bar.  But it's okay - only two are packaged up in each treat bag, just enough to get your sweet tooth on.


Here is what you'll need to make these cute bags:
  • Cellophane bags - found cheap at any Dollar Store, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.
  • Treats (preferably homemade!)
  • Ribbon or wire to tie bags
  • Wax or parchment paper
Bake your treats, let them cool, layer between sheets of wax or parchment paper, place in bags, secure with ribbon or cute wire and your done!  I put two large bars in each bag, which used up the 9x13 pan I baked them in.


If your waiting for this recipe, you'll just have to wait a little longer - I won't be revealing till later this week.  Think of it as saving you some fat and calories....

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Fun Foods

We are snowed in and at Grandma's house.  The kids couldn't be happier.  All this snow, wind and cold temps gets me screaming comfort food.

The little man just helped Grandma put together a casserole for tonight and next we'll be making dough for my artisan bread.  It's a good day to be stuck inside.

Here are some Friday Fun Foods I thought I'd share.  All of which are going on my list to make.  Being stuck inside is not good for your waist line!  Thank goodness I'll be helping to shovel the drive later...



Old Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts.  Need I say more?  If I had to chose a doughnut, this would be it.  There are many that "claim" they don't get doughnuts.  Yeah, right.


Kung Pao Chicken.  I love dishes like this.  It makes you forget you're inhaling tons of vegetables because they are covered in a decadent sauce.  Not to mention the fire from the spice - right up my alley!


Nutella Hot Cocoa.  What I wouldn't give for a swig of this right about now.  But, let's be honest, I'd eat Nutella in or on anything.  Toast, bananas, a flip-flop, whatever.

So, have these three recipes have you dreaming up comfort food today?  During a snowstorm, what food is on your mind?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mini Italian Meat Loaves



This morning I woke up craving meatloaf.  Tonight I made meatloaf.  Simple as that.

After work I reached down in the cupboard for a loaf pan and grabbed the muffin tins by mistake.  But...ah...what about mini meat loaves I thought?

Yes, perfect.

Each time I make meatloaf I dump in different ingredients.  The premise stays the same (egg, some sort of breadcrumb/crushed cereal/oatmeal, seasonings, etc.), but more often than not each loaf has a different flavor.  Tonight I went to Italy.  As we all know I love Italian food.

Mini Italian Meat Loaves
1 lb. ground turkey or beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. Italian style breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2 c. marinara or spaghetti sauce
1 t. pepper
1 t. salt

Stir together all ingredients until just combined.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray 6 regular sized muffin tins with cooking spray.  Form meat into large balls and place in tins (they will make 6).  Spread additional marinara/spaghetti sauce on top.

Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove from muffin tin and let cool 5 minutes before eating.  This will prevent a burnt tongue and lip (I didn't listen to my own advice).

Oh, and of course serve with baked garlic fries.  That's a given.

--------------------------------------------

So tomorrow is Thursday, which essentially is my Friday (yep, only work 3 days a week!), which always makes the night seem so much better.  Even though I love my job.  I start looking forward to the long weekend - which this weekend includes a trip to the rents, a lunch at Newton's Paradise Cafe with some old friends and co-workers, and a visit to the dentist.  Ugh.

I like everything but that last one.

I know one person in my life who loves the dentist (who I will be seeing this weekend, hopefully).  She's crazy.  Does anyone really love the dentist???

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Banana Oatmeal Chip Cookies


I love this picture.  Some insane, healthy cookies sitting in front of our two beautiful kids.  I won't pretend that I didn't set that picture up...

I finally got that picture up, in a frame and on display in our family room.  The pictures were taken by my friend Shawna back in October.  I'm so behind.

You should all be shocked I'm even posting recipes these days.  As each and everyday, I have the little miss hanging on my pant legs.  Everywhere I go.  She follows.  I leave the room, she cries.  I pick her up, she's happy.

I'm keep telling myself, it's the age.  As right around 9-10 months most babies get really attached to mommy.  We have not been the exception.



But, with a smile this cute, I don't really mind.  As much work as babies are, they really can lift your spirits at any given moment.


After the kids are in bed I've been reading this book.  At Christmas, my sister said she was reading it, so of course, I prompted her to mail it to me as soon as she was done.  I can't help it - I have an addiction to Hollywood gossip.

Let me just say this.  Kris Jenner works hard and from what I've read has been through some tough times in her life, made some bad, bad decisions, but in the end sounds like a pretty good lady to me.  Moving on.

These cookies!  I received the Carrots 'N Cake book for Christmas and this recipe comes from Tina herself.  Not a single person in this house disliked these healthy cookies, although the husband complained they had a few too many chocolate chips.  Whats with men and too much chocolate?  I don't get it.

Banana Oatmeal Chip Cookies
*makes 2 1/2 dozen*
1/2 c. flour (whole wheat, regular, almond, whatever)
1 c. oats
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 T. flax seed
1/4 c. agave nectar or honey
1/4 c. milk (regular or soy)
1/2 t. vanilla
1 T. canola oil
1 ripe, mashed banana
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/4 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking sheet.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well, dough will be wet.

Place a tablespoon size of dough on sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, removing cookies and allowing to cool on a wire rack.

I made these on Saturday, they are gone today.  Enough said.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

DIY Sunday: Making Your Own Granola Bars


We tend to eat a lot of granola bars at our house, or at work or on the road.  Our favorites are Larabars and KIND bars, but as you know they can get expensive with each being over $1 a bar.  When you have a husband who could easily eat 2 a day, your stash you had thought you stockpiled is suddenly very low.

So, I make my own.

I used to make this version and sell at the farmer's market.  But, as with anything sometimes you get sick of eating the same thing over and over, so I found a new recipe - which is pretty darn good!

I try and make a batch on the weekend to last us awhile, but let's be honest an 8x8 pan is often gone within 3 days or so.  Between the husband and our 2 year old, I seem to be constantly running out of groceries.  Unfortunately, I have a feeling it is only going to get worse.

Chocolate Nut Granola Bars
2 c. oats
1/4 c. flax seed
1/4 c. silvered almonds
1/2 c. chopped peanuts
1/4 c. flaked coconut
3/4 c. seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, etc.)
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. honey
4 T. butter
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients together.  Meanwhile in a small sauce pan combine brown sugar, honey, salt and butter.  Bring to a boil, constantly stirring, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour into dry ingredients, stirring to combine.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Press mixture down into pan, using buttered fingers or back of wooden spoon.  Place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours, this will help to harden.

Once set, lift up on parchment papers and cut gently into bars.  Press straight down with knife, not sawing back and forth, or bars will crumble.  Immediately wrap in plastic wrap for individual bars.  Keep in fridge for storage.


Don't you want to bite into one of these?  We'll I'm not shipping you any, so get baking!

This weekend has us pretty much stuck in the house because of the recent snowfall, which for any other mothers out there, can make me want to pull my hair out sometimes.  I hope I'm not the only one who sometimes goes a little insane with two little ones in a confined space.

Please tell me I'm not alone...

I'll be keeping myself busy with laundry (never ends!), movie watching with the little man, cooking, cleaning and whatever else I step on (literally).  Have a great Sunday!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Baked Chicken with Vegetables {gluten free}


It finally is feeling like winter here in Iowa.  We always seem to have the weather of extremes - yesterday sunny and 50 degrees (in January!) and today snowy, cold and windy.  So, very wonderful.

I don't mind it other than having to drag out two little kids in it.  There is nothing more annoying than car seats, bulky winter coats and the blowing wind!

But, yet I have a solution.  This dish.  A perfect warm and comforting meal for this cold weather.  Plus it's full of hearty veggies and is gluten free.  Yum-o.

Baked Chicken with Vegetables
4 T. olive oil
1 T. Italian seasoning
2 t. garlic
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 c. chopped red bell pepper
2 c. broccoli florets
2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 c. spaghetti sauce
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

In a bowl or plastic baggie combine oil, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper.  Add chicken, toss to coat and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

In a large skillet saute chicken with the marinade until juices run clear, about 7-8 minutes.  Add in peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes and spaghetti sauce, toss to coat.  Pour into baking dish, top with parmesan cheese.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Serve as is, or with a side of pasta.


This was really, really, really good.  Did I say it was good?  Hearty, filling and great as a leftover the next day.  If you like leftovers...

I'm heading into work later today, so for once my morning is free.  No kids, no husband, no responsibilities.  And guess what I'm choosing to do with it?  Clean out a closet.  Yes, so very exciting.  But...it is leading to something really neat in our guest bedroom/little misses room.  You'll just have to wait and see.

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ranch Chicken Pizza

It's not a secret that I love pizza.  I love all things about it, minus the unhealthy qualities, but more often than not, I simply ignore those.

Since the NCAA Football National Championship game was on last night, I thought pizza was a good fit.  Football is on (and any sport for that matter) in our house all the time.  We love sports and the food that goes with it. 


I used my classic pizza dough recipe and the little man helped.  It ended up in tears (for him, not me), flour all over my kitchen and a huge mess.  We started out with good intentions.  Toddlers just don't understand many rules of the kitchen, like 'not throwing flour' or 'touching a hot oven'.

But he loves to help, so I continue to add the stress to my cooking life.



Chicken on pizza used to be an absolute NO for me.  Then I had Papa Murphy's Chicken Garlic Pizza and loved it.  This version is almost a recreation of their pizza.  Maybe a little better, because it is homemade.  You need to try this one!

Ranch Chicken Pizza
1 grilled chicken breast, cut into chunks
1 c. ranch dressing
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. sliced green onion
1 c. chopped tomato

Preheat oven to 500 degrees, placing a pizza stone in the oven while it is preheating.  Lay dough on a piece of parchment paper to assemble pizza.  Spread ranch dressing on dough for the sauce.  Sprinkle on chicken breast, cheese, green onion and tomato.

Transfer pizza (still laying on the parchment paper) to the pizza stone.  Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

*After many stressful attempts to take the pizza fully assembled off the parchment paper and transfer to the stone, I finally realized why am I doing this?  Simply bake it on the parchment paper.  You will still receive an extra crispy crust.


I have leftovers for lunch today which makes for a happy mom.  The little miss cried for an hour during the night (used to sleeping on mom's chest over the weekend while she was sick), so I laid awake from 2:45 a.m. to 5:20 a.m.  Then finally falling asleep, only to be awoken by my alarm at 5:45 a.m.  Lovely.

But, I'm not complaining...because I have leftover pizza for lunch!

What is your favorite leftover meal to take to work?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

DIY Sunday: Cinnamon Vanilla Honey Butter


It's Sunday! Which means DIY!

Has anyone out there ever made their own flavored butter? Sweet or savory? This one is sweet and painstakingly delicious. I saw it posted over on One Lovely Life (a beautiful blog by the way...), and knew I had to put it on my "to make" list.

Do not be afraid of flavored butter, it is as simple as throwing softened butter in the food processor, along with seasonings. Very easy.


Cinnamon Vanilla Honey Butter
*makes 1 cup, or 1/2 pint*
1 stick softened unsalted butter
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. honey
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. vanilla
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, blending until smooth.  Keep cold in the refrigerator.  It will stay fresh for many weeks.

And what do I have the pleasure of spreading this on?

French toast (this morning's breakfast)
Pancakes
Bagels
Toast
English Muffins
Dinner Rolls
A scoop in oatmeal

The possibilities are endless.  Tragically, if you cannot find anything to put it on, give it away as a gift.  Isn't this little jar cute?


What is your DIY project this Sunday?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Spicy Taco Soup


Before I get to this hearty (and might I say healthy) bowl of soup, I've got a winner to announce!  Thanks to everyone who entered my 2 Year Blogging Anniversary Giveaway.  The winner is...

NewWeighofLife who said:
Wow - 2 years already?! That's awesome - congrats!! I think I'd make some sort of sweet bread.


Congrats winner!  Shoot me an email with your mailing address and you can start baking!

This soup comes courtesy of my sister.  She brought it to Christmas, the husband loved it, and long story short we were eating it again a week later.  It is quite possibly the easiest soup known to man (or woman).  Literally you brown meat, dump in ingredients and simmer.  I'm fairly confident to say you could be eating it in 30 minutes start to finish.


Spicy Taco Soup
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Rotel (mild or hot)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn
1 dry package ranch seasoning mix
1 dry package taco seasoning mix
1 t. pepper

Cook meat and drain.  Add in all other ingredients and simmer for 25-30 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

I told you it was simple.

Well, today I've spent the majority of the day with the little miss on my chest.  Yesterday she had her 9 month appointment and we walked out with a double ear infection and running a temp.  Who knew?  Just call me mother-of-the-year.

She's been a trooper, but clearly she'd much rather lay on my chest all day than crawl around and annoy her brother.  So, not much has gotten done around here!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2 Year Blogging Anniversary Giveaway



Want a chance to win these two beautiful Ruff Hewn loaf pans?  I'm celebrating two years of food blogging.  Can you believe it?  Well, the actual anniversary was in December but life got in the way - babies, Christmas, parties, you know the drill.

So one month late and here we are! 

I have no affiliation with Ruff Hewn I just like their products.  Their home line is influenced by the outdoors. (You all know I want to live in a log cabin one day right?)  I love the rustic look of their products and thought these two reddish-orange loaf pans were just the right fit.

No crazy gimmicks to win these.  Just simply leave a comment and tell me what would be the first item baked in these pans if you were to win.  I'll pick one random winner Friday night (1/6).

And, as always thanks for being a faithful reader.  This is the reason for this wonderful gift!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Roquefort Cheese Ball


I'm not sure if a cheese ball screams party food or the 1970's, but in my book it just screams excellent snacking food.

After two years of falling asleep well before midnight, we actually had plans on New Year's Eve.  Us and two other couples, along with everyone's kids, gathered in the afternoon and partied well into the night.  We had enough food to feed an army - smoked pork ribs, potatoes, dips, dips and more dips, cupcakes, s'mores bars and of course drinks.

I'm in another food coma just thinking about it all.

This cheese ball recipe comes from a cookbook I received for Christmas, The Homesick Texan.  If you love Tex-Mex food this is the cookbook for you - holy yum!  From a gal who moved to NYC and dreamed of the Texas food she grew up with, she showcases everything in her new book.  It's lovely.

Roquefort Cheese Ball
*If you don't like bleu cheese, just swap with any soft cheese you like, maybe feta?  My cheese ball is adapted from this recipe.

16 oz. package of cream cheese
4 oz. of Roquefort cheese (or any other soft and creamy blue cheese)
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 clove of garlic, minced
2 cups of crushed pecans

Mix the cream cheese, Roquefort cheese, Worcestershire sauce and minced garlic until well blended. Roll into a long tube shape and refrigerate for at least an hour.  When chilled roll in the crushed pecans and keep chilled until served.

Serve with crackers.

I have to say yesterday, although tired from a full weekend, was relaxing.  My in-laws came down and watched the kids while the husband and I actually went out for a late lunch with NO KIDS.  We headed to one of our favorites, Granite City, and enjoyed a leisurely lunch, while taking in a college football bowl game.  Then headed to the grocery store (much to the husband's groans and moans) and stocked up on supplies.

For everyone who has kids and has family in the town they live in, please be appreciative of it!  Both of our parents live 1.5 hours away and we do not live in the town either of us grew up in, so babysitters are hard to come by.  A big thanks to the in-laws for letting us have a short afternoon break.

Guess what is coming next?

Cinnamon Vanilla Honey Butter
Spicy Taco Soup
Crispy Parmesan and Garlic Chicken

Sunday, January 1, 2012

DIY Sunday: Organizing Your Cookbooks & Recipes

Reading material I got for Christmas!

Happy New Year!

We've had quite the 2011 at our house - never a dull moment.  From the birth of our 2nd baby, our little miss in March, who brings us constant smiles, jabbers and drooling kisses, to a healthy and loving older brother who never misses a beat.

Not to mention both of us changing jobs and loving the results.  Like I said, we are grateful and blessed.  With that being said I do need to thank my blog readers.  Without you, this past year just wouldn't have been the same!

On to today's DIY Sunday project.  I thought I'd share my cookbook and recipe organization technique.  It works for me, and in case your cupboards are overflowing with cookbooks, recipe cut-outs from magazines along with hand-written recipes from years back, my technique just might get you organized too.


I counted my cookbooks today.  38.  I was actually thinking it would be more!  Here is how I keep them organized and not a nuisance.
  1. All cookbooks are stored in one cupboard, neatly lined, always in order.
  2. Any recipes we like, usually giving a 4 thumbs up sign or higher, get written down and placed in a recipe binder.  This gives me easy access when I'm needing to find them.
  3. Every few months I pull a few different cookbooks out for "display" in my kitchen.  It helps me in trying new recipes and giving the kitchen a different look.  I have one shelf on the wall holding a few and one book holder on my counter always holding one.
  4. If I have a cookbook that somehow was given to me or I picked up somewhere that never gets used, or the recipes don't appeal to me, I simply get rid of it.  No sense in taking up space.  I'll donate to the Salvation Army, Goodwill or give to a friend.

So, the question of the day.  Are your cookbooks organized or just taking up space?