A Day in the Life of Me and Mine

Wife. Mom. Ambitious Crafter and Cook.

Great Pins October 4, 2012

Filed under: Food,Life — cmcoker1 @ 11:34 am

Am I the only Pinterest user who pins all day, everyday, but never uses the things I pinned?!  Well, I decided to try a few things out today.

1. Vinegar for Vinyl: I, unfortunately, have vinyl floors in my kitchen.  I usually mop them with a Swiffer Wet Jet, but today I found my solution bottle to be empty…shoot.  I decided to try a Pin that suggested mopping vinyl with a 1/2 cup of white vinegar in a bucket of hot water.  It actually cleaned my floors super well!  I was very impressed with the degree of clean that I was able to obtain.  Buuuuutttt…now my house smelled like a pickle factory.  BLAH.

on to my 2nd Pin

2. Vanilla in the Oven (a deodorizer): I was assured that realtors use this little “trick” when showing a house.  I put 2 cap-fulls of vanilla extract in a ramekin and popped it into a 300 degree oven.  They were right! In about 15 minutes, my house no longer smelled like vinegar and now smelled of baked goods.  Buuuuuutttt…I didn’t have anything yummy to look forward to.  *tears*

and now for the 3rd Pin

3. Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake: This one deserves a picture.  I haven’t made it yet, but I plan to do just that for us to enjoy during Bible Study tonight.  I’ll let you know how it goes!


– care


Turkey Taco Pasta September 27, 2012

Filed under: Food,What I Made Today — cmcoker1 @ 5:00 pm

As I was preparing for dinner last night, I realized I was down to a package of ground turkey and 2 chicken breasts.  I was really hoping that I’d open the freezer and find a frozen pizza, but, alas, these were my options.   After a rousing round of “Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo,” I chose the turkey.  Here’s what I came up with!

Turkey Taco Pasta


8oz small shell pasta

1lb ground turkey, or ground beef

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)

2Tbsp taco seasoning

1 can Rotel

3oz cream cheese

2Tbsp sour cream

1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese

fresh cilantro (optional)


Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Drain, but reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water.  Brown ground turkey in skillet over medium heat.  Add in onion and jalapeno and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until turkey is no longer pink and onion and pepper are tender.  Sprinkle with taco seasoning and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain meat mixture.  Stir in Rotel, undrained.  Add in cream cheese, and sour cream and cook on low heat, uncovered, until all ingredients are combined.  Stir in pasta and shredded cheese.  If desired, top with fresh cilantro.

*This dish is pretty spicy.  A few ways to tone down the spice: use MILD Rotel and do not add the jalapenos.  But, I’ve been told that some like it hot…




What I Made Today: Banana Bread September 19, 2012

Filed under: Food,What I Made Today — cmcoker1 @ 10:40 am

  I have a girlfriend coming over for a visit today and thought a yummy breakfast bread sounded nice.  I adapted this recipe from my      Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  That book has taught me everything I know!






Banana Bread


2 c. all-purpose flour                                                                                       2 eggs, beaten

1 & 1/2 tsp. baking powder                                                                            1 & 1/2 c. mashed banana ( 3 large)
1/2 tsp. baking soda                                                                                            1/4 c. cooking oil

1/4 tsp. salt                                                                                                                1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce

1/4 tsp cinnamon (I think I added a “heaping” 1/4)                   1 c. sugar

* optional streusel topping (honestly, not optional, use it): 1/4 c. packed brown sugar, 3 Tbsp. AP flour, 2 Tbsp. chilled butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9″ or 10″ loaf pan (or 2 of the small 7″), set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Set aside.  In  a medium bowl, beat eggs.  Add banana, oil, applesauce, and sugar.  Whisk until combined.  Add wet mixture all at once to flour mixture.  Fold mixture until combined.  Don’t overbeat…mixture will remain lumpy.  At this point, you can stir in a 1/4 cup chopped walnuts if you have them.  I didn’t. Wah.  Pour mixture into prepared pan(s).  If you have decided to use the streusel topping, if not you’re a crazy person, stir together brown sugar and flour.  Using a pastry cutter, or 2 knives, cut in cold butter until mixture is coarse and sand-like.  Sprinkle topping on to batter.  Bake for 50-55 minutes for the 9″ or 10″.  Check your 7″ loaves after 40 minutes.  Bake until the center of your loaf is set.  Leave pan on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Loosen sides with a knife and carefully flip over pan to remove the loaf.  *tapping the bottom of your pan on the counter or with a knife will help loosen the bottom of the loaf.  Allow loaf to cool or just dive on in.




Chipotle’s Cilantro-Lime Rice September 14, 2012

Filed under: Food,What I Made Today — cmcoker1 @ 1:52 pm

I had planned to make chicken fajitas for dinner last night, and I was wanting a side to go with it.  I had one lime and a bunch of cilantro left over from Little Mister’s  bday party, so I searched through my Pinterest food board and came across a recipe for “Copycat Chipotle Rice.”  Do I have any Chipotle lovers out there?!  Whether you favor Moe’s or Q’doba (Yuck and Yuck), we all have to agree that Chipotle’s cilantro rice is THE BEST.  Hands down.

The recipe came from an Indian chef’s blog, US Masala.  I changed a few things based on what I had in my fridge and pantry…but it turned out great!

Chipotle’s Cilantro-Lime Rice


1 cup white or Basmati rice, uncooked

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp green chiles or jalapenos, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped, fresh Cilantro leaves

salt, to taste

juice of a half of lime, about 2 Tbsp

1 tsp lime zest (or just whatever you can get from 1 lime)

1/4  tsp white sugar


Cook rice according to package directions.  Set aside to cool.  In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add in chiles/jalapeno, and saute for about 1 minute.  Add in rice, cilantro, and salt.  Stir and allow to cook for 2 minutes.  Add in lime juice, lime zest, and sugar.  Stir until combined.  Serve as a side or as an addition to fajitas or burritos.




What I Made Today: Homemade Cheese-its August 24, 2012

Filed under: Food,What I Made Today — cmcoker1 @ 11:45 am

I have a very unhealthy relationship with Cheez-its.  I could eat them all day, every day.  So when I found this recipe for Homemade Cheez-its on Pinterest, I just HAD to make them.

Homemade Cheez-its (adapted from Robin at “A Chow Life”)


8oz sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded

4Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4tsp salt

1cup all-purpose flour

2Tbsp ice water


Start by placing cheese, butter, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer.  With the paddle attachment, mix until thoroughly combined.


Add flour and mix on low until combined.  The mixture should resemble the consistency of sand.


Slowly add ice water until a soft dough ball is formed.  *If your dough is not coming together, add more water in TINY increments until the dough forms a ball.*


Form your dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.  This step chills the dough so that it is more manageable for our next step.   Use this time to tidy up the kitchen, take a shower, or eat the rest of your block of cheese…


After an hour, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Remove dough from fridge and divide into 2 equal parts.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough until 1/8″ thick.  Using a sharp knife, pastry cutter, or pizza cutter, cut your dough into 1″x1″ squares.  Poke a hole in the center of each square with a skewer or toothpick.  Transfer your cute little squares to the lined baking sheets, putting a little space between them.


Bake 1 batch at a time for 13-15 minutes.  Due to the high fat content of the cheese and butter, the bottoms can burn quickly.  I would suggest looking at the crackers after 10  minutes to make sure this doesn’t happen.  If you are worried, err on the side of being under-cooked!


Remove from oven and place directly onto a cooling rack.  If desired, sprinkle with a little salt while still warm.  Go ahead and try one…I know you want to!


Pretty good, right??  I love the smoky flavor of baked cheese. Yum.  If you have any left, store in an airtight container.


These cost me about $2 to make, and I actually prefer them over the ones in the red box.  I know…blasphemy.  But they have a softer texture and are just delish!  Believe me, I am a woman of convenience, but it’s fun to make things at home to see just what you are capable of.




The Epitome of Comfort August 6, 2012

Filed under: Food — cmcoker1 @ 8:00 pm

It rained cats and dogs today, so when it was time to fix dinner, I was in the mood for something comforting.  After a quick scour of my fridge and pantry, here’s what I came up with.  Enjoy!

Grown Up Mac-n-Cheese


8oz macaroni

3Tbsp butter

3Tbsp flour

1tsp salt

2c. milk

2c. cheddar cheese, shredded

1lb ground beef

1/4c. chopped onion

1/4c. chopped peppers (I used yellow and red bell peppers)

1Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2c. bread crumbs

Boil pasta according to package directions.  Drain.  In a small sauce pan, melt 3 Tbsp butter.  Mix flour and salt together and add to melted butter.  Whisk until combined…mixture will be thick.  Add 2 cups of milk, increasing heat to medium high.  Cook until thickened, stirring occasionally.  Once the mixture has thickened, add 1 and 1/2 cup shredded cheddar and turn down heat to medium. Stir until cheese has melted.  Add cooked pasta to cheese mixture, stir, place the lid on and remove from heat.

Brown ground beef in a skillet with onions and peppers until cooked through and vegetables tender.  Add worcestershire sauce, place lid on, and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Drain.  Pour pasta and cheese mixture into skillet and stir until combined.  Pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish.  Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.  Sprinkle bread crumbs over cheese.  Dot the top with a few pads of butter.  Call me fat, but this will enhance the crusty factor of the bread crumbs and make you happier.

Finish your evening off with some Texas Sheet Cake like we’re doing:)



What I Made Today July 12, 2012

Filed under: Food,What I Made Today — cmcoker1 @ 3:36 pm

For my first “What I Made Today” post, I failed to take pictures.  Sorry.  I will do better next time!

This morning, I had a craving for something sweet, full of carbs, and cinnamon-y.  I pulled up my Pinterest food board to see if I had pinned anything interesting. Lo, and behold, there it was: a Cinnamon Donut Muffin.  I was so excited.

If you know me, you know I have a very unhealthy love relationship with donuts.  I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Krispy Kreme was a frequent stop for my family.  When we were near the store, dad would tell us that he would stop if the red light was flashing.  But only if it was flashing.  Most days, that “Hot and Ready” light would indeed be flashing, and it would only be minutes before mom our family would have downed 2 dozen of those little suckers.  On the awful day that the red light was not flashing, my dad would pull the van into the parking lot, where we would sit until the light turned on:)

So, needless to say, when I saw a muffin that assured me it would taste like a donut, I quickly preheated the oven.  This recipe really is fantastic, but I wouldn’t say it has that distinct deep-fried donut quality.  But it was fluffy and moist and had the perfect amount of cinnamon to satisfy my craving. I thoroughly enjoyed it as a cinnamon muffin.  The texture is so light, and she even replaces most of the usual oil with applesauce.  Come on.  Healthy, right?!  That’s why I ate 4!  Like they say, “An apple a day…!”

Courtesy of the Girl Who Bakes, I give you the recipe for the Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins. Check them out and make them today.


– care


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