Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Surprise

I was thrilled (to say the least) to wake up this morning to an email from Kim over at Little Rays of Sunshine informing me she featured my S'more Brownies on her blog! Remember these things?! The concoction I whipped up at midnight because I had no other ingredients on hand? Ok, so maybe it wasn't exactly midnight, but it was sure close enough. Anyways, it makes the story sound better so we're stickin' with it.

I want to extend a big THANKS to Kim for kicking off my Friday with a great start!

Head on over to her blog and check her out! She's got an adorable family and always has fun, creative ideas! Like these dipped rice krispie treats for Easter. How fun is that?!

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chicken Ranch Pasta

My dear college roommate, Tara, and I used to cook this dish together all the time. Well, something similar to this anyways. I'm pretty sure we just made it up one night...which is exactly what I did here. The other day she asked me to put this recipe on my blog because she couldn't quite remember it. Truth be told, I couldn't quite remember it either! So here's my best shot at it, Tara :)


  • 2 chicken breasts (or 4 strips, whatever you have)

  • 2 cups pasta

  • 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning

  • 1 can italian diced tomatoes

  • 1 1/2 cup broccoli

  • grated Parmesan Cheese

  • garlic, to taste

  • salt and pepper, to taste

Season the chicken with about half of the ranch packet. Or, if you're like me, and have the big 'ol daddy of seasoning, use about a tablespoon or so. Generously cover the chicken.

Heat up a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet and brown the chicken. Once the chicken has cooked for a couple minutes, add the broccoli to the skillet. I had frozen broccoli on hand, so that's what I used here. Start boiling the water for your pasta.

Once the chicken is done (about 4-5 minutes per side), cut into bite size pieces. Throw in the other half of the ranch seasoning packet, as well as a little garlic and salt and pepper to your liking.

Add the can of diced tomatoes.

Ok, I do remember we used spaghetti back when we cooked this in college...unfortunately I was all out of spaghetti noodles and only had shells on hand. Sometimes you just gotta make do :)
Shells are just as good. Heck, any type of pasta will work! Whatever's in your pantry!

Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and add to your serving bowl.

Now, add in the entire skillet of the yummy chicken/tomato/broccoli concoction.

Top with grated parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley.

What do you think Tara? Close enough? I know; the broccoli and tomatoes are a new addition (I think), but I figured it could use a little more color. And healthiness. ;)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pulled Pork with a Kick

Being from Texas, I've never had much to do with Pulled Pork. When Texans eat BBQ, it's beef brisket. No questions asked. End of story. It was only after I imported my husband from Georgia that I realized brisket is not the only BBQ out there. In his opinion, pulled pork = BBQ. Don't even get me started on Brunswick stew. Never even heard of the stuff until I met him. I've still yet to see this infamous dish in any restaurant in Texas, however in my husband's words, "no bbq meal is complete without brunswick stew." It's still up for debate in our household.

Let's get back to business. I don't know if I'd call this a "bbq" recipe or not. Whatever you want to classify it as, it is absolutely delicious! I can not wait to make this again. Who wants to come visit so I can cook this again?? One pulled pork for just the two of us is a little much. It'd feed us for an entire week. On second thought, that's not such a bad idea...

Here's all you need:

  • 1 Pork Shoulder / Boston Butt (however they're labeled in your grocery store) anywhere from 4-7 lbs

  • 1 tablespoon ground Cumin

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1 cup beef broth
Start out by mixing all the dry ingredients in a bowl. This is your rub.
Cover your entire piece of pork with the rub mix. Top, bottom, sides...get it all over! Sit the pork fat side up in a crock pot, and if you have extra seasoning left over just pour it in.

Pour the 1 cup of beef broth over the pork.

Cook on low until the inside of the pork reaches 200 degrees. You should be able to pull it apart with 2 forks very easily. A good estimate of time is about 1.5 hours per lb.

This is the best, no-fail pulled pork recipe I've tried. Back off a tad on the measurements when making the rub if you don't like a little spice, because this definitely has it! On second thought, forget I said that. This is the most flavorful pork I've ever had. Go for it baby!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Supreme Smashed Potatoes

Let me start off by saying I never make mashed potatoes. I love 'em, I think they're great, I just don't buy potatoes when I'm at the store. You know, the whole carb thing. Now I know you're in shock hearing me talk about carbs...I mean, have you SEEN how many dessert/cookies/cupcake/pasta/CARB recipes I have on this dang blog?! I gotta save where I can. I'll give up potatoes for all the other carbs I can't live without. Give one carb up, take five. That's my math. Don't ask questions.

Back to potatoes. I had envisioned making twice baked potatoes, but all the potatoes in the bag I picked up at the store were so small, I didn't think it'd be worth baking them, scooping the insides out, putting the insides back in. You know the drill. So low and behold, I decided to make some supreme potatoes minus the "twice baked" part.


  • 6 small-medium potatoes

  • 1/3 cup sour cream

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 cup broccoli

  • 6 strips bacon, cooked & chopped

  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

  • salt & pepper
Start out by peeling your potatoes. Chop in to pretty good size chunks and throw in a large pot. Add just enough water to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Boil for about 15-20 minutes or until done. They should fall apart if you stick a fork in it. Basically, just do whatever you would do if you're making normal mashed potatoes. Nothing fancy here folks.

While the potatoes are boiling away, cook 1 cup broccoli. You can blanch it, steam it, whatever you want. I just cooked mine in a saute pan on the stove with a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Once the broccoli is cooked, chop it up and sit aside.

Drain the potatoes once their fully done. Leave a teensy (is that a word?) bit of the starchy water in the pot. Add the butter, milk, sour cream, grated cheese, chopped bacon, broccoli, and salt and pepper to the pot. Mix it up until it looks sinfully delicious like this...

Transfer to a serving bowl and top with some parsley. Danny went crazy over this dish. I think he was excited when he saw potatoes on the table. After all, this was only the second (no lie) time I've made mashed potatoes since we've been married. I had to fight him the next day for the leftovers.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oreo Pops

I wanted to make cake pops for Danny's birthday party, but to be honest with you, everytime I've had cakepops (a whopping two times I think), I didn't really care for them. They're way too sweet and rich for me. I think the basic cake pop recipe is one baked cake mix, crumbled and mixed with one tub of frosting. Maybe it's the store bought icing that ruins them for me, I don't know....that stuff is just too sweet for my blood! Who would've thought I, of all people, would be saying something is too sweet?!? Anyways, I still envisioned a cute display of cake pops on the food table for the party, so I decided to give it a try with oreos. Who doesn't LOVE oreos? This is a easy peasy recipe. One package Oreos, to one package (8 oz) cream cheese. Start off by blending up the oreos in a food processor.
Once they're all good and processed down to crumbs, add in the cream cheese and blend. It will be a dough-like consisteny. Go ahead and taste it...mmmm....

With your hands, roll into tablespoon size balls.

Stick a cake pop or cookie stick (you can purchase these in the baking section of craft stores, or even Wal-Mart) into each ball and dip into melted white almond bark.

I had a styrofoam ball in a metal bucket to display these, so we went ahead and stuck them right in the styrofoam after dipping in the melted almond bark. And by we, I mean my wonderful sister. She was in charge of the dipping of the oreos :)

We had some leftover red buttercream frosting from decorating the cake, so we used this on the oreo pops to make them look like baseballs. Let me tell ya, these babies are addicting! You can't eat just one!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rose Cake Tutorial

I recently had a request from a new blogger friend for a tutorial on how I decorated the rose cake. I was so excited to get this request, and I wanted to get this post up as soon as possible, so I'm going to post this link rather than baking a cake and taking pictures myself. Mainly because I know I'd eat the whole thing if I made another one! Well, with the help of my husband of course. And after the cobbler I made this weekend (recipe to be posted soon), I figured I'd save us the calories.

Here's the website where I first saw the rose cake idea:

There's great step-by-step pictures here. She mentions covering the cake with a simple syrup before decorating, but I definitely did not do that. I frosted my cake with a base layer, and then with a icing bag and 1M tip (the big one), I just swirled circles all over the top of the cake. No particular pattern, just until it was covered. Rather than covering the entire cake, I just did the top, and then with the same tip (1M), I added little dollops of icing centered around the side of the entire cake. Hope this helps!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Danny's Birthday Party

Well, since Danny is an AVID baseball fan, I decided to throw him a baseball themed birthday party. He knew about the party, however the "theme" was a surprise.

He was pretty excited when he found out...

As was our great friend, Ross :)
Here's a few pics of the party decor...
What's a baseball party without nachos?!
Or cookies?! Huge thanks to my mom and sis for all their help! Somehow I managed not to get any pictures of all our guests, I guess we were having too much fun! Thankfully we snapped this family picture before the party started. Happy Birthday Danny!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Strawberry Almond Cake

This is the cake I made for my sister's birthday. Strawberry - yum! Ingredients:

  • 1 box strawberry cake mix

  • 1 cup flour

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/3 cup water

  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream

  • 4 large egg whites

Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together with a whisk. Add the remaining ingredients and beat on low for about 2 minutes. Bake at 325 until done - use box for idea.

Look at this Pink Lady! Mmm... Happy Birthday Steph!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Hobby

Alright, it's about time I share with you my new hobby. There's a reason I haven't been posting on here much lately....reason being...I'm addicted to sewing! I've finished one quilt top and have started another, however I've found my real addiction to be pillowcases. Yes, pillowcases! I started out by making a couple sets for myself, but everytime I'm at a fabric store all I can think is - "that would make the cutest pillowcase ever!" Eventually, a few pillowcases turned into 6, which turned into, well...too many for two people to own. I'll leave it at that. :) I didn't want to stop making pillowcases just because I had to many for my own good, so I decided to keep making them and open up an ETSY shop. I've never done anything like this before, so we'll see how it goes. Go check out my shop at Keep checking back, as I'm continually adding new sets! And if you know anyone in the pillowcase market, send 'em on over! :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

Here's a fun twist on oatmeal cookies. Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup flour

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

  • 5 oz (about half a bag) toffee candy bits

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

  • 1 cup Oatmeal

Start off by creaming the butter, sugars, and vanilla. Add the egg and mix well. Slowly add in the flour, salt, and baking soda. Dump in the chocolate chips, toffee, and oatmeal.

Mix just until combined.

Drop by spoonfuls on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until the edges get nice and golden brown.