2012 Goals

January 5, 2012

It may be obvious that keeping up with this blog does not rank high on my list of priorities. To be perfectly honest, I think I’m kind of over it. But…I do like it for the purpose of keeping up with my goals for the year (just like I did with my recipe goal last year). That’s what I plan to do with it for now: write out my goals for the year and keep track of my progress.

So…here we go:

  • FOOD GOALS
    • Try at least 52 new recipes.
    • Eat at least one salad per week. (Here’s hoping I can increase that over time, but for someone who dislikes salads, you’ve got to start somewhere.)

  • READING, WRITING, ARITHMETIC GOALS
    • Read at least one book per month.
    • Read through the Bible chronologically. (Loving the YouVersion app!)
    • Send one hand written note per week.
    • Create a budget and figure out a way to stick to it.

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52 Recipes for 2011 :: FINAL UPDATE

December 31, 2011

Weeks into 2011: 52 weeks
New Recipes Tried: 70
* = recipes I’ve made more than once this year…meaning they must be REALLY good! 🙂

70. Banana Crumb Muffins: I had tons of ripe bananas in the freezer and needed to make something to get rid of them with. I didn’t want to do the typical banana bread, so I tried these. They were really good. I’d definitely make them again.
69. Peanut Butter, Pretzel and Chocolate Chip Cookies: Who doesn’t like the salty/sweet combo? These were great! When I ate the last one, I was so sad and wanted to make another batch right away.
68: Potato Chip Candy Thingys: I had these a work lunch and they were amazing…had to ask for the recipe. They’re so simple: melt 2 bags of chocolate chips and 1 bag of butterscotch chips; stir until smooth. Crush one bag of salted potato chips (not ruffled). Coat potato chips with chocolate/butterscotch mixture. Drop by spoonfuls into mini muffin liners. Chill. Eat. I dare you to just eat one.
67. Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pot Roast: I’ve only ever made pot roast in a crock pot, so I decided to switch it up a little and try P-Dub’s recipe. It was good, but the crock pot method is definitely simpler and yields similar results.
66. Corn Casserole: I made this for a lunch we had a church one week. Very good and feeds a lot of people. Simple, too.
65. Mom’s Sweet Potatoes: My mom has been making these for years, but it’s only been this year that I’ve decided I like sweet potatoes. I made these for work and they were a hit.
64. Green Bean Casserole: I wanted to find a green bean casserole recipe that was different than the “cream of mushroom soup” recipe that most people make. This one fit the bill. It was also a hit at a work lunch.
63. Itty Bitty Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies: I made these for a birthday party that I “catered.” They were cute and tasty. Hope the party goers enjoyed them!
*62. One-Pan Skillet Cookie: One of my favorites restaurant desserts is the Pazookie at BJs. This cookie is close to that. Very good, right out of the oven with ice cream. And the wonderful thing is you just mix everything in the skillet and then bake it! Simple and not too much clean up!
61. Pumpkin Dip: To me, this tasted like pumpkin pie that you dipped things into. I was hoping for a little bit of a different flavor. I’ve seen recipes that use marshmallow fluff, so I think I’ll try one of those next time.
*60. Puffs: I made these for the first time in July for a shower, and forgot to post about them then. They are simple and tasty. Perfect finger food for a party.
59. Pecan Crusted Chicken: This wasn’t bad, but it was just ok. I’m thinking there’s a better recipe out there somewhere.
58. Baked Acorn Squash: My friend Kami made this and I decided I wanted to try it. It was good and I felt healthy eating it, but I haven’t made it since. It’s a very fall-ish recipe.
57. Grandmother’s Buttermilk Corn Bread: I made chili for our small group one night and wanted to make corn bread from scratch to go along with it. This recipe was perfect.
*56. Pumpkin Cake Balls: OMG. These are AMAZING (if I do say so myself). I used the cake recipe from these cupcakes. After the cake cooled, I crumbled it up, stirred in some canned cream cheese frosting, formed little balls and then dipped them in chocolate bark. They tasted like little bites of chocolate covered pumpkin pie. Incredible.
55. Spaghetti Casserole: It’s been a while since I made this, so I’m reaching back to remember it. While it wasn’t awful, it also isn’t a recipe I’ve wanted to make again. The cream cheese is a nice addition and it makes a lot. If you have a lot of mouths to feed, this could be a good option.
54. Penne with Roasted Aspargus and Balsamic Butter
53. Velvet Pumpkin Soup
*52. Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and Brown Sugar Oatmeal Crumble
*51. Pumpkin Pie Spice
*50. Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
49. M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies
48. Chicken Florentine Pasta
*47. Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Swirl Fudgy Cookies
*46. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos
*45. Vanilla Cupcakes
44. Chocolate Chip Scones
43. Oreo and Peanut Butter Layered Baby Lattice Pies
42. Nutella Stuffed French Toast
*41. Tortilla and Black Bean Pie
40. Chocolate Chip Muffins
39. Yellow Butter Cake
38. Oatmeal Cream Pies
37. Butterscotch Blondie
36. Cupcakes in a Jar
*35. Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing
34. Chocolate Cupcakes
33. Spinach Enchiladas
32. Nutella Banana Bread
*31. Good Old Fashioned Pancakes
30. Monster Cookies
29. Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes
*28. Baked French Fries
*27. Sloppy Joe Crescents
26. Chocolate Chip Blondies
25. Creamy Chicken Taquitos
24. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Bars
23. Layered Brownies with Browned Butter Frosting
*22. Baked Southwest Egg Rolls
*21. Waffles
20. Sour Cream Enchiladas
19. Baked Penne
*18. Crescent Chicken
17. Chocolate Cake Mix Whoopie Pies
16. Nestle Toll House Peanut Butter and Chocolate Morsel Cookies
15. Cinnamon-Nutella Croissants
14. Penne alla Betsy
13. Diabetic Sugar Free Cookies
*12. Pasta alla Vodka
11. Peanut Butter Butterscotch Chippers
10. Candy Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches
*9. Nutella-Mallow Pillow Pockets
8. Chocolate Pudding Fudge Cake
*7. The Lady’s Perfect Scrambled Eggs
6. Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese
5. Chocolate Fudge Butterfinger Cookies
4. Garlic Potatoes
3. Garlic Green Beans
2. Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders
*1. Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

Green Bean Casserole

December 16, 2011

Another dish I made for a lunch at work. I wanted to find a green bean casserole that wasn’t the typical cream of mushroom soup recipe. This was a hit!

Green Bean Casserole

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
ÂĽ cup onion, diced
Âľ cup sour cream
Black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic salt
3 (14.5 oz) cans French style green beans, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup crumbled Ritz crackers
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until tender (approx. 5 minutes). Stir in flour until smooth, and cook for one minute. Stir in the salt, sugar, pepper, garlic salt and sour cream. Add green beans and stir to coat. Stir in 1 cup of cheese.

Transfer the mixture into an 8”x8” pan or 2.5 quart casserole dish. Spread remaining cheese over the top. In a small bowl, toss together cracker crumbs and remaining butter. Sprinkle over cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden and cheese is bubbly.

Mom’s Sweet Potatoes

December 16, 2011

My Mom has been making these sweet potatoes for as long as I can remember, but it was only this year that I decided I like them. I made these for a lunch at work and they were a hit!

Mom’s Sweet Potatoes

Filling
1 large can (30-oz) sweet potatoes, drained
2 eggs
1/2 c evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. butter, melted

Topping
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
3/4 c Golden Graham cereal, crushed
3/4 c pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine all filling ingredients and mix using a handheld mixer or stand mixer. Mix until mostly smooth. (There will be some lumps.) Pour into 8×8 pan. In a separate bowl, combine ingredients for topping and mix together. Pour topping evenly over filling. Bake at 325 for 45-60 minutes. The middle should not be jiggly. If the topping gets too browned, put aluminum foil over dish until finished baking.

Pecan Crusted Chicken & Baked Acorn Squash

October 11, 2011

Lots of “firsts” in this post: first two paleo recipes I made; first time I cooked and ate squash; first time I willingly baked fruit to eat. Several of my friends are on this “paleo” kick, so I decided to try a couple of recipes tonight. (Here’s some info on what paleo is: Everyday Paleo FAQ.)

I’d definitely make both recipes again. The squash was way more than I can eat by myself, so I’ll be having it for lunch tomorrow. 🙂

Pecan Crusted Chicken
(from Everyday Paleo)

4 chicken breasts (I used tenders)
1/2 cup organic spicy brown mustard
2 tbsp raw organic honey
1 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium mixing bowl, blend together the mustard and honey. Toss the pecans in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped (or throw them in a Ziploc bag and beat the heck out of them with a kitchen mallet). Pour the chopped pecans either on a plate. Using a paper towel, remove any excess moisture from the outside of your chicken breasts.  Taking one chicken breast at a time, place the chicken into the mustard/honey mixture and coat on both sides. Transfer chicken to the chopped pecans and again cover both sides. Place coated chicken into a greased glass baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear.

Baked Acorn Squash
(from Fast Paleo; I made half this recipe)

2 acorn squashes
1 apple (Gala, Fuji, or Golden Delicious)
1-2 oz. walnut halves
3 thick-cut slices of bacon
Cinnamon
Pure maple syrup

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut acorn squashes lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out all seeds. Place squash halves, cut side up, in a glass or ceramic casserole dish. Sprinkle the interior of the squash with a dusting of cinnamon.

Chop bacon. Put chopped bacon in a small saute pan and heat over medium heat. The goal is to render out the fat, rather than crisping the bacon. While that cooks, peel, de-core, and chop the apple and chop the walnuts. After the bacon fat has mostly rendered out and bacon is partially cooked but still limp, stir the chopped apple and walnuts into the bacon and bacon fat and stir together.

Pour 1 tsp maple syrup into each squash hollow. Pour bacon, apple and walnut mixture into the squash hollows. Pour about 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the casserole dish. Loosely cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

She’s Two!

October 4, 2011

My sweet niece, Cadence, turned two yesterday.
I ran out of time last night to write this post, so here it is today.

I consider it a true privilege to be close to my niece and nephew during the early years of their lives. I am grateful that God has given me the opportunity to be a part of their lives.

Two Things I Love About Cadence…

  1. Her little voice and words. She’s been talking (or trying to talk) for a long time now. I LOVE her little words and the way she talks. She always knows exactly what she’s saying, even if you don’t.
  2. Her love for family. Even at two, she really does love her family and she seems to be very conscientious about including everyone. For example, at her birthday party, she wanted all of her family to paint and color with her on her new art easel. She knows all of her family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc) by name. She loves her big brother and wants to do so many things that he does. And…have I mentioned she loves her Mimi? 🙂

Two Things I Pray For Cadence…

  1. That she trusts Jesus as her Savior at an early age and that she chooses to live a life that’s honoring to God.
  2. That the fruits of the Spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control–inhabit her life and direct the way that she lives.

Happy 2nd birthday, Cadence!
I love you more than you’ll ever fully know!
You’re my favorite! 🙂

52 Recipes for 2011 :: update

September 28, 2011

Weeks into 2011: 38 weeks, 4 days
New Recipes Tried: 54

54. Penne with Roasted Aspargus and Balsamic Butter: This is another recipe I saw on Pinterest. It was good! It might be nice to add some Perdue short cuts chicken or turkey just to give it a little more “umph,” but overall it was a good dish. I’d make it again.
53. Velvet Pumpkin Soup: I had pumpkin soup on the cruise I went on a couple of weeks ago and it was really good. I did some searching on Pinterest and decided to try this one first. It was good, but not the same flavor as the one I had on the cruise. The curry gave it a distinct flavor. I probably won’t make this one again, but it wasn’t bad.
52. Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and Brown Sugar Oatmeal Crumble: O.M.G. SO good. The pumpkin cupcake is the perfect texture and it’s very moist. The cinnamon cream cheese is just right and the crumble? The perfect topping. If you’re in the mood for a fall treat, give these a try. This recipe is definitely a keeper. I’m even considering trying to make cake balls with this recipe. Stay tuned.
51. Pumpkin Pie Spice
50. Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
49. M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies
48. Chicken Florentine Pasta
47. Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Swirl Fudgy Cookies
46. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos
45. Vanilla Cupcakes
44. Chocolate Chip Scones
43. Oreo and Peanut Butter Layered Baby Lattice Pies
42. Nutella Stuffed French Toast
41. Tortilla and Black Bean Pie
40. Chocolate Chip Muffins
39. Yellow Butter Cake
38. Oatmeal Cream Pies
37. Butterscotch Blondie
36. Cupcakes in a Jar
35. Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing
34. Chocolate Cupcakes
33. Spinach Enchiladas
32. Nutella Banana Bread
31. Good Old Fashioned Pancakes
30. Monster Cookies
29. Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes
28. Baked French Fries
27. Sloppy Joe Crescents
26. Chocolate Chip Blondies
25. Creamy Chicken Taquitos
24. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Bars
23. Layered Brownies with Browned Butter Frosting
22. Baked Southwest Egg Rolls
21. Waffles
20. Sour Cream Enchiladas
19. Baked Penne
18. Crescent Chicken
17. Chocolate Cake Mix Whoopie Pies
16. Nestle Toll House Peanut Butter and Chocolate Morsel Cookies
15. Cinnamon-Nutella Croissants
14. Penne alla Betsy
13. Diabetic Sugar Free Cookies
12. Pasta alla Vodka
11. Peanut Butter Butterscotch Chippers
10. Candy Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches
9. Nutella-Mallow Pillow Pockets
8. Chocolate Pudding Fudge Cake
7. The Lady’s Perfect Scrambled Eggs
6. Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese
5. Chocolate Fudge Butterfinger Cookies
4. Garlic Potatoes
3. Garlic Green Beans
2. Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders
1. Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Crumble

September 26, 2011

So…this is new recipe #52 for the year. And…O.M.G. SO good.

I just taste-tested one before dinner and I don’t even care if it ruins my appetite. It was worth it. SO good.

The pumpkin cupcake is the perfect texture and it’s very moist. The cinnamon cream cheese is just right and the crumble? The perfect topping. If you’re in the mood for a fall treat, give these a try. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

I’m even considering trying to make cake balls with this recipe. Stay tuned. 🙂

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Crumble
(from Sweetcakes Bakeshop)

Pumpkin Cupcakes

2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups canned pumpkin
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil. Blend in vanilla and pumpkin, then beat in eggs one at a time. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Pour batter in muffin tin, filling cups 3/4 full.

Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar. Mix in cinnamon, add more if desired (original recipe called for 1 teaspoon, I did 1 3/4 teaspoons). Pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Crumble

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter, melted

Line a sheet pan with foil. Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and melted butter together. Crumble onto sheet pan, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake crumble for 10 minutes or until brown, watching carefully. Cool completely and then sprinkle on iced cupcakes.

Sharing this recipe at This Chick Cooks, Something Swanky’s Sweet Treats Thursday and Thirty Handmade Days’ Pity Party.

52 Recipes for 2011 :: update

September 23, 2011

LOVE this. Courtesy of Pioneer Woman. If you don't "know" her, you should!

Weeks into 2011: 37 weeks, 6 days
New Recipes Tried: 51 (1 until I hit my goal! I feel like I need something GREAT for the last new recipe of my goal. Maybe some pumpkin whoopie pies or pumpkin cake balls? Hmm…so many options.)

51. Pumpkin Pie Spice: I started to make Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins this morning and realized I didn’t have the spice I needed. AllRecipes to the rescue! I made enough of this for my recipe and then quadrupled it so that I’ll have some ready and waiting the next time I need it. I already taste tested the muffins and I can tell you I don’t notice even a little difference using this spice recipe as opposed to buying it premixed from the store. Like vanilla extract, I hope to never buy premixed pumpkin pie spice at the store ever again! 🙂
50. Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries: These were good! I will definitely make them again. They were quick and tasty. I did burn a few pretty good because they were cut pretty thin. Maybe I need to check out YouTube for a video on how to cut fries. 🙂 I recommend these for sure!
49. M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies
48. Chicken Florentine Pasta
47. Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Swirl Fudgy Cookies
46. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos
45. Vanilla Cupcakes
44. Chocolate Chip Scones
43. Oreo and Peanut Butter Layered Baby Lattice Pies
42. Nutella Stuffed French Toast
41. Tortilla and Black Bean Pie
40. Chocolate Chip Muffins
39. Yellow Butter Cake
38. Oatmeal Cream Pies
37. Butterscotch Blondie
36. Cupcakes in a Jar
35. Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing
34. Chocolate Cupcakes
33. Spinach Enchiladas
32. Nutella Banana Bread
31. Good Old Fashioned Pancakes
30. Monster Cookies
29. Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes
28. Baked French Fries
27. Sloppy Joe Crescents
26. Chocolate Chip Blondies
25. Creamy Chicken Taquitos
24. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Bars
23. Layered Brownies with Browned Butter Frosting
22. Baked Southwest Egg Rolls
21. Waffles
20. Sour Cream Enchiladas
19. Baked Penne
18. Crescent Chicken
17. Chocolate Cake Mix Whoopie Pies
16. Nestle Toll House Peanut Butter and Chocolate Morsel Cookies
15. Cinnamon-Nutella Croissants
14. Penne alla Betsy
13. Diabetic Sugar Free Cookies
12. Pasta alla Vodka
11. Peanut Butter Butterscotch Chippers
10. Candy Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches
9. Nutella-Mallow Pillow Pockets
8. Chocolate Pudding Fudge Cake
7. The Lady’s Perfect Scrambled Eggs
6. Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese
5. Chocolate Fudge Butterfinger Cookies
4. Garlic Potatoes
3. Garlic Green Beans
2. Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders
1. Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

What I’ve Been Up To…

September 8, 2011

What I’ll Be Up To This Weekend…