Friday, March 27, 2009

I don't know what it is but I don't like it!!!

My darling husband whined & complained yesterday because I was going to make swiss steak... I looked around online for some other ideas but I was really craving some comfort food (I know what's new!!!) since we are in the middle of a blizzard here. So I decided I would make it anyway & if he didn't want to eat it that's fine. I typically go out of my way to make meals I know he will like so I guess last night I was being selfish.
So anyway.... I started cooking & D comes in the kitchen & says "What are you making, I thought you said you were making swiss steak".... I just looked at him. CLEARLY what is in the pan is swiss steak, so I replied "um that's what this is" and he goes "oh I don't think I've ever had that" WHAT?!?!
So if you don;t know what it is & don't think you've ever had it darling husband how can you say you don't like it & whine to me all day worse than our 5 year old????

So he tried it, LOVED it & went back for seconds.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Grandma's Amazing Potato Rolls

My Grandma makes the most amazing potato rolls. It's something I look forward to every Thanksgiving or other holiday that we go see them. My mom has tried on countless occasions to make them but failed. I was craving some great bread to go with my stew so I decided to try out the recipe for the first time. I did make one slight change to the recipe but SHHH don't tell grandma! I often add garlic cloves to my potatoes when boiling & thought it would be a nice addition to the rolls so I added it in. What a huge success. After the pizza dough debacle I am feeling redeemed in the dough making department. The rolls got rave reviews from my husband and mother-in-law!!! Always a bonus! (I forgot to take a pictures when they came out of the oven so I will add one later!)

Potato Rolls
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water (105 to 115 F)
1/2 cup potatoes, mashed
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Boil potatoes and garlic in pot of water until tender. Mash with hand masher.

In large bowl combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast. In small mixing bowl combine warm water, potatoes, butter, sugar and salt. Add to large mixing bowl. Beat with mixer for 30 seconds on low. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Stir in remaining flour with a dough hook (or knead by hand), as needed .Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. Punch dough down. Turn out on lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Grease baking pan. Shape dough into 24 rolls. Place rolls in prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size (about 40 minutes). Bake at 400°F for 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

The Best Part of Being a Mommy is Getting Puked On.... No Wait Definately Not That!

So maybe a blog about getting thrown up on is really not appropriate amidst my "food blogs" but I'm a momma and I vowed to blog about what it's all really like so here it is!
Last night D I decided to go see Grease with C. We haven't had a night out as a family really since he got home from deployment. The play was good & the leads had amazing voices. Acting was a bit so-so in parts but what do you expect from a lot of young actors. All in all they were pretty amazing.

C has been a little stuffy all day but nothing too major. She had been running around playing all day, so when she started complaining that her tummy hurt on the way there I ignored it, as this is something she often does for attention. About 5 minutes after we find our seats she started complaining "mommy I'm gonna throw up". Again she looked fine, was a little tired so I ignored her for the moment. Not even 5 minutes into the play she started to cry and say she had to throw up so I got up to take her outside, glad I didn't wait much longer! As I lifted C over the lap of a fairly large man sitting on the end he said "If you wait just a minute I can get up" I smiled politely while thinking in my head "Mister if I wait a minute you're going to have a lap full of throw up!" I had no time to spare so I climbed over his lap as well, but smiled at him.... Hey a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do! The minute we opened the door C puked in my hand! Lovely.... Took her to the bathroom, got cleaned up & she said she felt much better. She had eaten 2 bowls of chocolate cereal for dinner (I know I know... what kind of mom am I feeding my child chocolate cereal for dinner!) so maybe she just ate too much is what I'm thinking. So off we go back to enjoy the rest of the play. It was going well enough until the final number. C started whining & saying she was going to throw up again. Just 2 minutes earlier she had been giggling & fine so again I put it off... BIG mistake. D looked over at her face & said "uh honey you might want to get her out of here". I took one look at C & bolted as fast as possible.... Not fast enough. Not only did I get puked on, she threw up in the aisle, in the corridor outside and in the trash can. So glad the play was over at that point! As I'm in the hall trying to get her to the trash can this woman working there is holding a roll of papertowels & just staring at me! Finally about 5 minutes after C is standing at the trash can she thinks to offer me some papertowels for my hand. Gee thanks lady but no I really love standing here holding my daughter's puke! So much for our fun family night out!
(Before we left when everyone was puke-free!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fettuccine Success!!!

I feel triumphant! This was my first attempt at cooking fettuccine, and while I wish I could boast that I made my own pasta.... I wasn't that adventurous last night! Each week I get a email from Betty Crocker with quick & easy meals. Rarely do I try these but this week's looked extremely tasty! And since I love pasta I figured why not! It turned out amazing! Even my husband who hates anything remotely good for him, i.e. veggies, loved it. I served it with homemade bread sticks & it was a simple, fulfilling meal. Enjoy!

Fettuccine with Fennel & Spicy Sausage
Adapted from

16 oz uncooked fettuccine
1 lb Spicy Italian pork sausage (I used mild so that our daughter could enjoy it as well)
4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 medium fennel bulb, diced (I had never cooked or tasted fennel before so I only used half)
1 medium yellow & 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (I diced mine in hopes D would eat them)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I cheated & used about 2 tsp. minced garlic)
2 cans (28 oz) Muir Glen® organic crushed tomatoes with basil, undrained

Cook and drain pasta as directed on box. Return to saucepan; keep warm. Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring frequently, until no longer pink. Drain; remove sausage from skillet. In same skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, fennel, bell pepper and garlic in oil until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add tomatoes and cooked sausage to vegetables. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.

The recipe calls for you to stir in the pasta, however not knowing how everyone would like the sauce I served them separately. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pulled BBQ Beef Sandwiches

My husband loves comfort food and anything with meat and BBQ Sauce fall into that category for him. So I decided to try my hand at Pulled BBQ Beef Sandwiches. I made my own BBQ Sauce the same day and it turned out really well, however the next time I make it I will allow it to sit in the fridge overnight to thicken up a bit. I made my own Kaiser rolls & Oven Baked French Fries. This was by far one of my husbands favorites thus far! And it tastes even better warmed up the second day!

BBQ Sauce
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat. Stirring occasionally and simmer for 20 minutes. Sauce should be thin, but not watery. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate. Sauce is better if allow to sit for a day

Pulled BBQ Beef

BBQ Sauce from above
Beef Rump Roast

Coat bottom of crock pot with BBQ Sauce. Place in roast and pour remaining BBQ Sauce over roast. Cook on low for 7 hours. Remove roast from crock pot Using 2 forks pull beef apart. Place back into crock pot with BBQ Sauce for 1 hour.

Kaiser Rolls

4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
6 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white
2 teaspoons cold water
Sesame seeds

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add 1 tablespoon sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the oil, salt, remaining warm water and sugar and 4 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 16 pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Beat egg white and cold water; brush over rolls. Sprinkle with poppy and/or sesame seeds. With scissors, cut a 1/4-in.-deep cross on tops of rolls. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Makes about 16 good sized rolls.

Oven Baked French Fries
6 large russet potatoes
Garlic Salt
Lemon Pepper

Cut potatoes into wedges. Rinse in large bowl of water to clean.
Line baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier clean up. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Line potatoes on sheet. Spray with cooking spray again. Season with lemon pepper and garlic salt. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Flip potatoes and cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.


I had some trouble with making my first calzones. I have made pizza dough plenty of times but I decided to try a new recipe... Big mistake! It took 3 times but my dough finally turned out ( I went back to my KitchenAid Pizza Dough Recipe) & the calzones were a huge hit! I love that everyone could pick all their own fillings and I didn't have to worry about picky eaters.

Pizza Dough
KitchenAid Recipe Book

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl. Add salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 cup flour. Attach bowl and dough hook, turn to speed 2 and mix 1 minute. Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to dough hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour). Punch dough down. Roll out dough for calzones.


We didn't have any mozzarella on hand so we used Colby Jack & it turned out just as well. Ingredients are pretty much whatever suits you. I used cheese, bell peppers & sun-dried tomatoes in mine.

1. Roll out dough into a 8 inch circle. Place toppings on 1/2 of dough. Fold dough over & pinch edges over. Brush tops of calzones with 1 egg white & 2 tablespoons of water. If desired sprinkle top of calzones with garlic salt. Bake in oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

Pizza Dipping Sauce
Adapted from

2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons italian seasoning
1¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar

Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan on medium heat until warm. Serve as dipping sauce for calzones.

Chicken is King

I'm always looking for new ideas for chicken so when I got an email from Betty Crocker Online I had to try this recipe. I tweaked the recipe to fit our tastes. Recipe is below. I ran out of chicken breasts so ended up using chicken thighs instead. They tasted great but didn't look to beautiful so no picture.

Blazing BBQ Sauce & Marinade
From Food Network

I found this to be much to thin for an actual BBQ sauce but worked great as a marinade. It also makes a ton of the marinade so unless you want to keep it in the fridge for future use I would recommend cutting the recipe in half at least. Recipe also says its spicy, which I didn't find. It was mild enough for Chloe. Derek & I love hot food though so I think next time I will add more cayenne pepper.
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons salt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1
/2 cup wine vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry mustard

Wisk all ingredients together.Marinate chicken for at least 2-3 hours prior to serving. The longer the better!

Easy Barbecue Crispy Chicken Melts

6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1/2teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup milk
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (you can really use any cheese. next time I'm going to use pepper jack)
Cooked Bacon

Heat oven to 425°F. In 13x9-inch pan, place butter. Heat in oven 2 to 3 minutes or until melted. In shallow dish, stir Bisquick mix and pepper. Pour milk into small bowl. Coat chicken with Bisquick mixture, then dip into milk and coat again with Bisquick mixture. Place chicken in pan. . Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F). Spoon BBQ sauce evenly over chicken; top with bacon & then cheese. Put in broiler for approximately 3-5 minutes or just until cheese is melted.

The chicken may not come out looking "pretty" but it tastes amazing!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Little Body, HUGE Attitude

So our darling daughter Chloe has ALWAYS been extremely strong-willed and stubborn. I have tried to remind myself this will be a great quality for her to have when she is an adult, however at 5 it's getting pretty tiring. The past few weeks have been interesting with her. Temper tantrums, serious attitude & the opinion that she knows so much more than mommy & daddy because as she says "when you get old you forget everything, and mommy you are OLD!". I've tried to chalk up the recent outbursts to all the changes happening in her life lately; i.e. daddy coming home, new house, new school, etc. However this week... I feel at my limit. After numerous time-outs, "groundings", and no TV she still refuses to behave. Last night she finally got her "fun" privileges back only to have them taken away again by daddy. I was in the kitchen cleaning out the fridge but apparently Chloe was doing something she shouldn't have been & was irritating Derek... He asked her to stop over & over. She would stop for a second & then start up again. Well finally he told her to stop or she would be in trouble again to which she replied "OK" and stood in front of him & committed the offense defiantly in front of him. She then asked, should I go sit on my bed now.... Maybe this "grounding" thing needs a new twist! I thought the terrible two's ended at three!!! How can someone with the face of an angel be such a little devil?!?!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Honey, What's For Dinner?

How many times have we all heard this phrase? For me it's a daily if not hourly occurance. Not only do I have a 5-year old who is a very picky eater I also gained a husband who is a very picky eater as well. He hates vegetables and would live on cheeseburgers and french fries alone if he could I think. So each day I try to get creative and make a meal that includes vegetables in a way he will eat them. The same old routine gets pretty boring so I'm trying to branch out. So dinner tonight is Chicken Taco Soup, Green Chili Corn Bread & Chocolate Cream Pie for dessert. I was worried the soup was too spicy for the little one but she loved it, as did the husband & in-laws. I found the recipe for Chicken Taco Soup in an old Ortega book about a year ago & made it once for myself and fell in love. Since the move I can't locate the cookbook so this version is me "winging" it.

Chicken Taco Soup

1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 large (49.5 oz) chicekn broth
2 15 oz. cnas Mexican style corn
2 pounds diced cooked chicken
1 can diced green chili
1 can Rotella diced tomatos with green chili
1 small onion, diced
Salt, to taste

In pan with olive oil sautee mexican style corn & onion. When corn has browned & onions are tender add in diced green chili.

In large pot combine taco seasoning, chicken broth, chicken, tomatos & sauteed onions, corn & onions. Salt to taste. I also added garlic salt to mine. Bring to boil.

Lower heat & simmer for at least 20 minutes.

Top bowl of soup with crushed tortilla chips, cheese & sour cream, if desired.

Green Chili Corn Bread
Adapted from Quaker

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1 small can diced green chili, drained

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combing dry ingredients. Mix in milk, oil & egg. Stir until well blended and no lumps remain. Stir in green chili. Pour into greased 8 or 9 inch square pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cream Pie

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers
6 tbs. melted butter
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat ovent o 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients. Press into 9 inch pie pan. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Let chill 45 minutes before using.

Chocolate Cream Filling
1 large pkg. instant chocolate pudding mix
2 1/2 cups skim milk (I use non-fat)
8 oz Cool Whip.

Combine milk & pudding mix. Mix until no lumps appear. Mix in Cool Whip. Pour directly into pie crust. Chill for 1 hour.

Pie Topping
8 oz. Cool Whip
Chocolate Chips

Once pie has set top with 8 oz. Cool Whip. Top Cool Whip with chocolate chips.
Pie can be served immediately or chilled until ready to eat.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ramblings of a Newlywed

So this is my attempt at blogging what life as a newlywed is like. Derek & I have been married since July of 2009 but he returned to finish his deployment 10 days after the wedding. I haven't really felt like I was married until just recently. Derek got home the beginning of February & we are settling into married life. Being married is so different than I thought it would be. I was on my own, made my own rules, lived life according to my own accord for so long that it's odd for me to have someone else who's opinion matters. Chloe & I always did our own thing, no one else to answer to. Discipline was my way, dinner was my way, shopping was definitely my way. While I welcome the addition of another parent, and he truly is a fabulous daddy that Chloe adores, it definitely comes with its own sets of challenges and adjustments. Chloe has learned over the past 5 years that Mommy is the pushover, the one who will give in eventually. But daddy is the one who sticks to what he says, the "tough" one. I think she is adjusting to it much better than me! It's hard to see someone else discipline your child when you've been the only one around consistently for the last 5 years.

I think that I went into things with an unrealistic view of what it truly would be like. Blame it on all those cheesy romance novels I have read over the years! As my husband frequently informs me, real men in real life do not act that way! Not to say that my husband isn't amazing & loving. He is, don't get me wrong. I think I was expecting more .... romance and the whole Norman Rockwell scene. I envisioned this life where Chloe threw no more fits, we had no disagreements & life was one big apple pie. Boy was I wrong. Chloe is still Chloe, and what I'm hoping is normal rambunctious, moody 5-year old behavior. There are certainly disagreements, generally focused around my shopping addiction and my husband's "hermit-like" ways. While I'm not a huge social butterfly I do like to get out of the house, go places, see people. He would be content to sit on the couch & watch movies or play guitar hero every day & night.

It's taking some adjusting, not only to married life but to life when a soldier returns from deployment (but that's an entirely different blog!) but I think I'm starting to get the hang of this "married thing". And call me crazy but I actually enjoy making dinner for our family every night, I enjoy doing the laundry and most of all I love waking up to his arms around me. And because what's a blog without pictures.... here is me & my honey the day he left for his 15 month tour. Pics of the homecoming to be posted soon!