Monday, December 3, 2012

Cranberry-Pecan Tassies

'Tis the season for my favorite Christmas treat
--Pecan Tassies-- 
This year I decided to add cranberries.
I think it was a good decision.

Pecan Tassies

1/2 c butter
3 oz cream cheese
1 c flour

beat butter and cream cheese until well mixed
add flour
roll into nickle-sized balls and press into mini muffin tins
bake at 350 for 10 min

1 egg
3/4 c brown sugar
1 T melted butter
1/2 c chopped pecans
24 cranberries

combine all ingredients
fill par baked crusts and make sure each has a cranberry in it
bake for 12-15 min until golden brown

makes 24 tassies

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Onion Rings

 Here's our favorite onion ring recipe. 
It reminds us of our most favorite onion rings from 
Micheal's Restaurant back in the day.

Onion Rings
adapted from Sara Moulton

2  onions 
2 c buttermilk 
1 c flourSalt 
Chili powder 
Oil for frying

Slice  onions into 1/4-inch rings. Place in large bowl and cover with buttermilk. 
Season flour with salt, pepper, and chili powder. 
Dredge onion rings in seasoned flour. Dip again in buttermilk, then again in seasoned four.
Fry in batches, in 350 degree oil for 2 to 3 minutes until golden, giving them a flip.
Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with more salt. 
Let oil come back to temperature before frying next batch.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

 Here's an old time classic brought into the present by 
adding a little course sea salt. 
Oh Yeah.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

1/2 c butter
1/2 c coconut oil
1 cup coffee (or water or combo)
3 T cocoa powder
1 c sugar
2 c flour
1 t  baking soda
1 t salt
1/2 c buttermilk
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

6 T butter
6 T cream (or milk)
1/2 c sugar
1 c chocolate chips

In a small sauce pan combine butter coconut oil coffee/water, and cocoa and stir until melted.
In the bowl of a mixer whisk the flour and sugar then add the melted butter mixture and beat well.
Next add in the soda, salt, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla.
Pour into a greased jelly roll pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min.

For the frosting, melt butter, cream and sugar and bring to a boil for 30 seconds.
Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. 
Stir until smooth then pour over cake.
Sprinkle with course sea salt and nuts.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pizza Pull-Apart Loaf

A pizza version of the bloomin' onion bread recipe
Add whatever toppings you like!

Pizza Pull-Apart Loaf

1/2 c olive oil
1 T garlic
1 t basil
1 t oregano
1/8 c parmesian
round loaf of bread
2 c mozzarella cheese

carefully slice loaf into 1/2 inch squares going first in one direction and then the other
mix 1st five ingredients together and drizzle down inside all of the cuts using a spoon to spread it around on the bread
next tuck in 1 c of the cheese into all the cuts followed by your choice of toppings then the remaining cup of cheese

wrap in foil and bake at 375 for 20 min
unwrap and bake another 5-10

serve with pizza sauce

Friday, August 24, 2012

Yakisoba Noodles

This is my knock-off version of Costco's Yakisoba noodles. 
We thought it turned out really quite similar.  
The recipe below serves about 10-12. I would go ahead and make the whole thing and then freeze half of it for another time.  
It reheats well, and anyway, that's how it comes from Costco :)

Yakisoba Noodles

1 16oz pkg of spaghetti noodles 
veggies for stir frying

- sauce- 
1/2 c soy sauce 
2 T rice wine
2 T black vinegar 
1 T seasame oil 
2 T honey 
2 T grated fresh ginger 

cook noodles according to package directions drain and rinse with cold water.
cook chicken. (I used 6 thighs, but breasts work too)
steam or cook veggies. (I picked up two small  packages of frozen stir fry veggies at Wal-mart)
make the sauce by combining all the ingredients.
oil the pan with a tablespoon of oil then add half of your noodles and drizzle with half of your sauce. 
cook about 5 min until they start to look darker and dryer. repeat with other half of noodles.
add cooked chicken and cooked veggies to all the noodles and serve it up.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chocolate Cake

cold chocolate cake 
with whipped ganache filling 
covered in ganache.....need i say more?

Chocolate Cake
adapted from Ina Garten

-for the cake-
1 3/4 c flour
1 c sugar
3/4 c cocoa powder
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 c buttermilk, shaken
1/2 c oil
2 eggs, room temp
1 t vanilla
1 c hot coffee

-for the filling-
1/2 c cream
1/2 c chocolate chips

-for the frosting-
1 1/2 c cream
1 1/2 c chocolate chips 

-directions for the cake-
butter two 8-inch round cake pans.
line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
sift the dry ingredients into the bowl of mixer and mix on low speed until combined. 
in another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. 
with the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. 
with mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine.
pour into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
store in fridge until ready to assemble. can be done a day ahead of time.

-directions for the filling and frosting-
heat 2 cups of cream in a sauce pan until almost a simmer.
in two small bowls, measure out 1/2 c chocolate chips in one, and 1 1/2 chips in another.
once cream is heated, pour 1/2 c of cream into the 1/2c chips, and the rest into the 1 1/2c chips.
let chips melt for about 30 seconds, then stir both until combined and all the chocolate has melted.
for the whipped ganache, place melted cream/chocolate bowl into an ice bath and stir with a whisk until it lightens in color and resembles whipped cream. Do not over whip. spread between the cake layers.
for the frosting, stir until it cools down and is thick enough to stick to the cake and not run off. you may need to place in the fridge for a few minutes.but dont let it harden too much or you'll have fudge...really yummy fudge, but not what we are going for here!
pour it all on to the top of the cake and gently help it run down the sides by smoothing with an off-set spatula.
store in the fridge to 'set' the ganache.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Housewifery Helper

Cleaning is NOT my forte. I wish I was the type that loved to clean, but I'm not. My energy goes into getting creative, doing a project, or making a meal, and then......ppphhhhhhttttttttttttt (that's the sound of air being let out of a balloon) I have NO energy or desire to clean up my messes or my kids messes by the end of the day.  I would much rather leave it and tackle it the next morning with that new mercy I've been promised.
I know(believe me, I know) the house just can't function that way. The next morning provides it's own messes and before you know it it is Saturday and the house is a disaster! I don't like living that way,  and it is my job to provide a home that is welcoming and livable. So to trick myself into discipline on those areas that always sneak by me throughout the day, I created the above checklist.

I print it out and slip it into a page protector.  I fill out the calendar, to do list, and meal plan at the beginning of the week with a dry erase marker and then leave it on the kitchen counter so it is easily accessible and seen by all who want to keep me accountable : ) kids are great at that!

The other items are to be checked off.  Each time I drink a glass of water, I fill in a water drop. I keep an 8 oz cup right by my sheet.  It is easier for me to drink one small cup at a time, than to fill a big water bottle with a day's worth of water in it and feel overwhelmed.

The Bible, prayer, and exercise section just gets filled in once they are done. Sometimes all it takes is the idea that "I get to fill in the circle and complete my chart!" or " I don't want exercise to be the only blank not filled out so I better just do it!" to help me complete my tasks when I thought I had no energy. Because really, for me, it's just getting started. Once I actually start something, I'm good. I do it.  It's the thought of not knowing where or how to start that throws me into a tailspin.

For the cleaning section I split up the main household chores into a few each day.  This way I am not overwhelmed, it is easily doable in a few 15 min spurts, and the whole house gets touched at least once a week. 

When I stick to this chart, it really helps and I see a difference and that is enough to keep me going.  When I have a bad day/week, so what! I try again the next day. When you do a little each day, and stick with it for one week, you'll be surprised how much easier it is the next week. And when you see how much better things function when everything is clean and orderly, it's easier for me to go against my former cleaning habits and clean as I go rather than leave a mess for the end of the day.

I know everyone's house and schedules are different and that this exact chart wont work for you, but I'd encourage you to make your own and give it a shot.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tan Tan Udon

The other day I really wanted to cook something with bok choy in it. So after searching the interweb, I came across this recipe that looked super good. 
Besides the bok choy it has udon noodles, which is another item I had been wanting to cook, sausage, sesame oil, and broth. 
Turns out, it was a winner! 
Everyone loved it and asked for seconds and thirds. We had to cut them off when they asked for fourths. Looks like there is only one serving left in the fridge. 
I'll have to distract them with something else when it's time to eat :)

Tan Tan Udon
adapted from taste with the eyes

1 lb all natural sausage (as spicy as you like it)
2 T sesame oil
1 t chili paste (i used a red curry paste)
1 T garlic, minced
1/2 c chives, chopped
32 oz chicken broth
1 c cream
1 c milk
udon noodles
bok choy

trim off the stalks from the bok choy and cut into ribbons. these will really cook down, so you will want a lot. I probably had about 5 cups cut up.
place in boiling water until tender (about 5 min).
drain and place in an ice water bath to shock. once cooled, drain again and set aside.
meanwhile, brown sausage and once cooked through add sesame oil, chili paste, garlic, and chives.
cook for one minute.
next add broth, cream, and milk. bring to a boil then simmer.
cook udon noodles according to package. everyone loves the noodles, so cook a lot!

now you are ready to assemble:
scoop some noodles into a bowl
add some bok choy on top
ladle the hot soup over and dig in!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Homeschooling - Year 1

 Well, as you may have noticed, I have had time to get back to posting on my blog and the reason is that our school year is done! Yeah! We survived our first year homeschooling! And let me say that God was so good to us this year in so many ways!
 First of all, He was good to us in moving us towards homeschooling last year. Our past school underwent some changes and caused us to look for other options which led us to discovering Classical Conversations which is a homeschooling co-op that meets once a week and uses classical education methods (more on that later). We have had a great year at our co-op. The families involved are all amazing and kind. The kids made many new friends. And the weekly classroom experience and accountability is what we needed especially during this transitional year for us.

Also, God was good in having us home school this year because next year Tony is going to seminary! We will be going through many changes this upcoming year - including leaving our current church :( - and it is nice to have a year of home school behind us and new friends made so something will be consistent for the kids this next year.

Another kindness God has given us this past year is to teach us about classical education. I had never heard of classical education before and I am still learning, but what I have experienced and seen in the kids this past year is truly amazing! The short version on classical education is that it is broken down into three stages of learning:
   1. grammar -  memorizing facts of each subject. The subjects we studied this year were U.S History, anatomy and chemistry for science, U.S. geography, English, Latin, math, Bible, art, and music.
   2. dialect - discovering how the facts relate. In this stage Evan studied english grammar, sentence diagramming, and writing. 
  3. rhetoric - applying the facts. here the students learn how to express their findings in clear, persuasive, eloquent ways to others.

For those interested in a more thorough explanation of classical education, I would recommend this article.

Finally, I am so thankful for all of the knowledge we have learned this year. And by we, I mean me as well! The kids truly are sponges at this age and not only learned, but retained so much information through classical education.  And I am enjoying re-learning along with them. Who knew sentence diagramming and Latin could be so fun?!

Thanks to all who prayed for us this year. Please continue to pray as we head into a new chapter of life next fall with all of us in school.

Loaded Chicken

So you know how there is loaded baked potatoes, right? 
Well, same idea here....just chicken!
Simply grill some chicken breasts and top them with whatever you want. 
I used cheese, bacon, and chives. But you could add tomatoes, peppers, etc.
A simple way to change up your chicken this week!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

your mom wants soap for Mothers Day...

 ...and you should always obey your mother!

And don't forget about the lotion and lip balms.
Now go check out my etsy shop before your mom finds out!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rice Pudding

I haven't made rice pudding in years....I guess I forgot about it. 
But, I had a craving the other day and this totally satisfied it!
It was even preferred over Dairy Queen ;)

Rice Pudding

1 c rice or brown rice*
1 c cream
1 c milk
1-15 oz can coconut milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 c sugar
2 t vanilla

Combine all ingredients except the vanilla and cinnamon in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil
lower to a simmer and stir occasionally until liquid is mostly absorbed (about 20 min)
remove from heat and stir in vanilla
garnish with cinnamon
tastes great warm or cold!

*cooking time will be longer with brown rice

Cold Pea Pods

 these are par-cooked pea pods that are seasoned with 
sesame seed oil and salt and pepper. 
that's it! 
very tasty. 
perfect for summertime!

 first you boil the pea pods until just tender...5-10 min. 
then shock them in ice water to stop the cooking.
 next, dry them on a towel and toss them with 2 tsp sesame oil and some salt and pepper.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Broccoli & Cheese Soup

A tasty, creamy, comfort soup for these chilly nights.

Broccoli & Cheese Soup
adapted from Pioneer Woman

1 onion, Diced 
1/2 c olive oil
1/3 c flour 
2 c milk 
2 c chicken stock
2 heads broccoli
1/2 head cauliflower
1 c carrots
1 pinch Nutmeg 
red pepper flakes
3 cups Grated Cheese (mild Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar, Jack, Etc.)

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat, then add the onions. 
Cook the onions for 3 to 4 minutes, then sprinkle the flour over the top. 
Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute or so, then pour in milk and chicken stock. 
Add broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and spices.
Cover and reduce heat to low. 
Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. 
Stir in cheese and allow to melt.
Then either serve as is, or puree with a stick blender.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

soaps are ready!

My shop is being stocked and ready for some Valentine's Day shopping!
Grab some good smelling soaps and lotion for your gals (or yourself)!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Chicken-Veggie Tray

So there isn't even a recipe for this meal. 
Very easy. Very versatile. Very tasty.

Simply take some chicken -legs, thighs, whole chicken cut-up, whatever- and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Put on a cooking tray and broil on high about 6 inches away from broiler, turning until brown on both sides (about 6 min per side).

Next, add any veggies you want: potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, onion, etc. 
Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.  
Add to tray of chicken and move to about 10-12 inches away from broiler.
Keep an eye on it and stir it once and a while. 
Pull out when chicken is 165* and veggies are soft. (approx. 20 min.)

Some veggies, like broccoli, won't take as long to cook and you may want to add in the last 10 min.

There you go! A whole meal on one tray!
Add whatever fixin's you like- BBQ sauce, bread and butter, a salad 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Restaurant Pancakes

So I guess the secret ingredient to those yummy restaurant pancakes is malt powder!
We gave it a try and really liked the results! 
Just try adding 1/4 cup of malt powder in place of any sugar in your favorite pancake recipe.
Here's mine.

Restaurant Pancakes

1 c flour
1/4 c malted milk powder (instead of 1 T sugar)
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 egg
1 c milk
1/4 c butter, melted

combine dry ingredients
combine milk and egg, pour into dry ingredients
add melted butter

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

In the works

This week I tried my hand at a Pink Grapefruit bar of soap and it smells lovely! Look for this to be in my etsy shop by the end of January. It still needs to cure a few weeks.

Another batch of Rosemary-Mint soap is made and will be cured and ready to sell by the end of next week.

I also have an Orange-Ginger bar in the works.  This too should be ready by the end of the month, just in time for some Valentine's Day shopping!

I still have some Cedarwood, Cinnamon-Clove,a few Rosemary-Mint, and hard lotion bars available now! Get them before they are gone!