Saturday, March 31, 2012

March in Review

I really enjoy doing these monthly wrap ups - you can find January {here} and February {here} by clicking the links!

If you missed it, I have updated my recipe list page and tried to make it a bit more user-friendly. I also expanded my cloud list on the bottom with more specific labels {i.e. instead of fruit, you have berries, lemon, banana, pineapple}.
The Recipes

Main Dishes

I reviewed a few cookbooks this month:'s Dining Out At Home and Casserole Queens

I participated in both the Crazy Cooking Challenge and Secret Recipe Club this month. I posted Baked Spaghetti with Cream Cheese & French Fried Onions for CCC and Lemon Fettuccine for SRC. I also adopted an orphan from Group C of SRC this month and made Just Like Cotton Chiffon Cake.

I want to revisit my resolutions again and update on how well/awful I'm doing on them:
  • Drink more water -I was very sporadic this month - I need a solid 32 oz. a day in April!
  • Eat more fruit - I got some granola and yogurt to hopefully start doing parfaits.
  • Exercise 5x a week - I finished the 30 Day Shred on the 26th. I will be doing Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown with Ripped in 30 next. You can follow my "journey" over on my personal blog.
  • Get on a schedule - I definitely need to work on my time management skills.
  • Catch up on adding the printable feature to old recipes. - I didn't do any work on old recipes and printables :(
  • Keep organizing my recipe arsenal. I would like to at least finish the master recipe document that has all my favorite recipes that we've tried (or rather get it completely updated). - I have worked on this a great deal. I printed out a 9th set of recipes. I need to go through my bookmarks badly.
  • **new** Plan garden and get started indoors. ASAP.
  • **new** Work on emptying bookmarked recipes.
  • **new** Leave reviews {comments} for recipes I've tried where I got them.
  • **new** Look for duplicate recipes in the ones I have in the binders
  • **new** Work on finding out which store locally has the cheapest food without sacrificing quality.

If you missed them, you can find Sunday Social, Oh, How Pinteresting Weds., and Twisted Thursdays by scrolling all the way down and finding the little label cloud. Click on whichever you want to see :) Some great recipes were shared this month, as usual. The foodie world never ceases to blow my mind!

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

I'm always trying to find new, unique ways to get my kids eating veggies they may not necessarily love already. Cauliflower wasn't too particularly hard to get them to eat because they love broccoli and I told them this was white broccoli. :) The soup was really good and we all happily gobbled it up. You really can't go wrong with adding bacon either!

I found this recipe on Lynn's Kitchen Adventures. It's a blog I haven't been following for too long. I'd say less than a year. I'm still exploring and finding new things to make. Lynn has such a great site set up, plus a gluten-free section. It's easy on the eyes and easy to navigate around it :) I've made Blueberry Baked Oatmeal off her site and I am looking forward to making her Creamy Coconut Cake, Homemade Smoothie Mix, and One Pot Spaghetti!

(Printable Version)

What you need:
  • 5 cups cauliflower
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 to 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • bacon, cooked and chopped (optional)

Steam cauliflower until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Chop finely.
In a large saucepan, combine broth and half and half.

Whisk in flour slowly. Cook over medium high heat until it thickens, stirring constantly.

Add cauliflower and reduce to medium low. Cook for 5 more minutes.

Add cheese and stir until melted.

Serve topped with bacon. 

    {Click here to see what blog hops I participate in}

    Friday, March 30, 2012


    I am no stranger to sweets and I will try any sweets at least once. Snickerdoodles were a cookie that I had never made or eaten. When I lived with my in-laws and they had cookie dough from a chorus fundraiser my brother-in-law had participated in, we had plenty of snickerdoodle dough. I just never chose to eat any of them. {How could I choose them over white chocolate macadamia nut????} I knew they had cinnamon in them, but that was really as far as my knowledge went.

    As I've mentioned before, I've been going through my old recipes and trying to make the old before I try the newer ones.  I was happy to try out a cookie recipe. I think they are probably my favorite "dessert" - they are small in portion size and they keep well. They don't take up a lot of space.

    This recipe was fantastic. The cookies were fluffed up and they were soft and chewy on the inside with a bit of crunch on the outside. I loved the sugar cookie-esque taste with the cinnamon in it!

    Thursday, March 29, 2012

    Chili Dogs

    I made this recipe for my son's 5th birthday a few weeks ago. He is a huge hot dog lover and I am a huge chili dog lover. I figured I could make the chili for me, my husband, and my daughter. Only my husband and I ate the chili, but that's perfectly fine. I really loved this chili - it reminds me (and hubs agreed) of Skyline A LOT...and as you all may well know, we love our Skyline {Skyline Copycat, Cincinnati Chili #1, Cincinnati Chili #2}. The only thing that was really different was that it didn't have cocoa powder like Skyline does.

    Oh and due to a lovely recipe {Oven Hot Dogs}, I am now a total mayo-on-hot-dogs lover! Like I needed something else to add mayonnaise to?!

    (Printable Version)
    What you need:
    • 4 tbsp. butter
    • 1 yellow onion, finely diced (plus some for topping)
    • 2 tbsp. chili powder 
    • 2 tbsp. paprika
    • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
    • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
    • 1 tsp. dry mustard
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • salt
    • 1 lb. ground beef
    • 1 1/4 cups water
    • Hot dogs
    • Hot dog buns
    • Toppings: mustard, mayo, relish, onions, cheese, etc.
    Melt butter in a large skillet with diced onion. Cook until translucent, trying not to brown the onions.

    Add your spices to the onions; mix well.

    Add ground beef and water, working to crumble it up as finely as possible.
    Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

    Cook your hot dogs when chili is almost done - boil, nuke, fry, grill - choose your method!
    Serve chili over hot dogs and top with your favorite toppings!

      {Click here to see what blog hops I participate in}

      ~Twisted Thursday #53 ~

      Wednesday, March 28, 2012

      Oh, How Pinteresting Weds. #37

      I spent Monday working on my recipe index and removing "mediocre" recipes from a long time ago! So - go lookie loo at the new list and tell me what you think. I tried to also add more specific labels (they can be found at the very bottom of each page) - like coffee, banana, pancakes, etc.

      Also this week Food Network announced they have a Pinterest acct now: {here}...and now on to the food!

      No-Bake Berry Oreo Cheesecake
      I'm all for some berry cheesecake - I've only had a few flavored cheesecakes :)

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Cookies 'n Creamtini
      I'm a martini girl. So this is RIGHT up my alley.

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Rocky Mountain Candy
      This was linked up to Twisted Thursdays and with my son being able to eat peanuts now - I am on the lookout for some great peanut butter recipes!

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple Bites
      Mmmm! I love the idea of doing this. My favorite pizza is one topped with bacon and pineapple!

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Homemade Granola
      From FN, this was listed as a gift idea. I think that's cool, but I'm stingy! I want my own granola :)

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Collard Greens
      A Paula Deen recipe - I've only had collard greens once {last Thanksgiving} and they were fantastic!

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Hot Chocolate Truffles
      I think not only do these look delicious, they are gorgeous!

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Paula's Pumpkin Bars
      I still have cans of pumpkin in my pantry...these need to be made ASAP

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Oven Fried Chicken
      I'm actually making a oven fried chicken recipe this week. This one looks good too!

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic & Cranberries
      I have never had brussel sprouts. But I desperately want to try them. I think this would've been a perfect side for the cranberry and orange roasted turkey we had at Thanksgiving!

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Gorilla Bread
      Another Paula recipe - this one has been on my to-try list for so so long.. 
      Seeing the picture makes me want to go make it now.

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Butterscotch Pecan Pie
      I'm not a fan of pecan pie, but my husband is. One of these days I will make him one.

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Snickers Pie
      From Recipe Girl - should I even be surprised at how delicious this looks?

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Pumpkin Pie Push Pops
      I think this would be the first push pop recipe that I'd experiment with. Also, ahh alliteration!

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Homemade Marshmallow Fluff
      I use this on occasion - and it's never a bad thing to learn how to make stuff from scratch.

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

      Cool shortcut!
      Parmesan cheese lid + Mason Jar. Wah la!

      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest
      Linked up at...

      Baked Veggie Sandwiches

      This had been on my menu plan for what seemed like forever and I would always put it off for something quicker. I did finally make it and then I was straight up kicking myself for not making it sooner. In a way, this kind of tasted like a vegetable pizza. I was able to get my kids to eat veggies they don't normally eat (red peppers and spinach) - it was a win-win all around :)

      What you need:
      • 2 3/4 cups flour
      • 1 tsp. salt
      • 2 1/4 tsp. rapid rise yeast
      • 2 tbsp. olive oil
      • 1 cup cold water
      • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
      • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced finely
      • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
      • 1 cup spinach, I used frozen
      • 1 cup carrots, grated
      • 1 garlic clove, minced
      • 2 tsp. olive oil
      • marinara sauce (for dipping) - optional
      Mix together flour, salt, and yeast in a bowl.

      Add in oil and cold water. Stir until a ball forms.

      Knead the ball a few times on a lightly floured surface and then place in a Ziploc bag.
      Let rise for 1 1/2 hours.

      Divide in half and let sit out covered with a tea towel until puffy, about 30 minutes.
      Heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.

      Add all your veggies (if you use fresh spinach, hold out until the end) to the skillet and cook until crisp-tender and spinach is wilted.

      Spread 1/2 the dough into a greased 8x8" glass pan. Make sure it covers the whole bottom.

      Add 1/2 your cheese to the top of that.

      Then add your veggie mixture.

      Top with the rest of your cheese.

      Then stretch the other half of dough over the top.

      Bake for 15 to 30 minutes in a preheated 400* oven.
      Slice and serve with marinara to dip!

      {Click here to see what blog hops I participate in}

      Tuesday, March 27, 2012

      Tamale Balls

      I know a lot of people have nightmares for in laws, but I am one of those lucky few who have the most awesome in laws ever! I love them to death :) I haven't really had the chance to share as many of my mother-in-law's recipes as I would like to. I have posted her Cincinnati Chili and Potato Candy recipes (two of my personal favorites, other than this one).

      This one is an oldie but a goodie. We actually hadn't made it since about late 2007. I told my husband not to forget that we have to make these more often. They are a pretty simple recipe. You just mix and let them cook. I'm going to try and figure out a way to make these in the crockpot because I always end up burning mine. I did manage to NOT burn them this time though - I stirred every 15 minutes.

      (Printable Version)
      Recipe from Francie Koehrsen

      What you need:
      • 1 lb. ground beef
      • 1 lb. sausage
      • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
      • 3/4 cup tomato juice
      • 1/2 cup flour
      • 1 tbsp. chili powder
      • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
      • 2 tsp. salt
      • 5 cups tomato juice
      • 1 tbsp. chili powder
      • 2 tsp. salt
      Combine all the non-sauce ingredients in a bowl.

      Roll into small balls.

      Place sauce ingredients into a large pot.

      Place balls into sauce. Cover and simmer on low for 2 hours.

      Stir every once in a while to prevent burning.
      Serve over rice.

        {Click here to see what blog hops I participate in}

        Monday, March 26, 2012

        Secret Recipe Club: Lemon Fettuccine

        I could not have been more excited for this month's Secret Recipe Club recipe. I've been bursting-at-the-seams ready for reveal day :)

        This month my recipe comes from The Culinary Enthusiast. Kelley's blog is full of a ton of great looking recipes. I am excited to also make her Sweet and Sour Cocktail Meatballs and pretty much anything on her breakfast and dessert list. She is also one half of Seasonal Potluck, which is a very neat site dedicated to featuring seasonal fruits/veggies in the form of recipe link ups!

        Now initially I wasn't planning on specifically trying to find a lemon recipe. However, when I saw lemon fettuccine, I immediately decided to make it. My husband is always asking for more lemon recipes and I am completely fine with that when pasta of any sort is involved. Plus, this recipe gave me the excuse to get the lemon juicer tool that I've been pining over for a year :)

        I was also able to share this with a bunch of people via a Family Readiness Group meeting at the company (my husband is in the army). I put our leftovers into a square baking dish and topped it with my remaining Parmesan. I tossed it in the oven just to heat it back up. Those who tried it, loved it. I know one person who got at least seconds, if not more. I was kind of hoping that no one would eat it so I could have it all to myself. I love to eat spaghetti leftovers for literally 4 days. I was really looking forward to having tons of leftovers to eat. But I guess that no leftovers is a huge compliment as well because that means everyone loved it! I know we certainly did and it's definitely one I will make over and over.