It’s almost time for CHRISTMAS!!! I’m getting in the spirit already, and I have burlap coming out of my ears! Take a look and see if I can help decorate your mantle this year with some burlap and plaid stockings.
Complaints August 10, 2012
I apologize for my lack of posts this week! I have been kicking it in high gear this week. When the Little Mister goes down for his morning nap, I don my gloves and get to scrubbing: baseboard, windows, cabinets…You name it, I’ve cleaned it. It truly amazes me how many “stains” can be removed with a little elbow grease. Wow, we’ve lived here for 2 years…eek. But I have been super proud of myself for really sticking with it. I reward myself with ice cream every night as we watch the Olympics:)
The house is now spic and span! O, did I mention our A/C died Wednesday night?! So I, on the other hand, am a tad stinky. I have been waiting ALL. DAY. LONG. for the UPS guy to deliver the part that we need to fix the unit. But, alas, I have been waiting and waiting, and no sign of the brown truck. Everything that drives by sounds like a UPS truck…
Well, our weekend company should be landing in just a few minutes. If only they knew what we have in store for them!! 😉
Olympic Snack August 2, 2012
I don’t know about you guys, but the Big Mister and I have been watching the Olympics non-stop. Actually, Little Mister forgot how to sleep and has been staying up between the hours of 10pm and 12am to watch with us. But no matter what the hour, we watch, we enjoy, and we snack while we watch and enjoy. Well, I have the perfect snack for you to make as you watch Team USA.
Caramel Corn. Yum.
2 bags microwave popcorn, popped (or 1/3 cup kernels, popped)
3/4 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
6 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. vanilla
Pop the popcorn. Pour into large baking dish, removing any unpopped kernels…a foil roaster works great. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and put popcorn in the oven to keep warm while you make the caramel. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup over medium heat until thoroughly incorporated, stirring continuously. Bring mixture to a steady boil and continue to cook for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour caramel over popcorn, stirring carefully to coat. Place back in 300 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove and stir. Bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove popcorn from oven and pour onto buttered foil or wax paper. Cool completely and store in airtight container.
He Got the Drama from His Mama July 23, 2012
When I first found out that I was pregnant with a boy, I inwardly sighed in relief. Girls = Drama. Ask my family, and they will tell you that I am one of the most dramatic people you will ever meet:) I take it as a compliment:) All my mom had to say was, “It’s time for church!” and I would immediately throw away my “Happy as a Lark” disposition and fall to the floor complaining of a fever. O, I could lay it on thick.
Well, I have been rewarded. Little Mister is Drama personified. This kid cracks me up. No facial expression is made half-heartedly. No cry is wimpy. This kid gives life his all.
But look at this face! He is too much for my heart to handle at times.
I never knew I could love someone as much as I love this little boy.
See, he’s giving me a thumbs up. Guess we’re doing okay:)
My New Infatuation with Dough July 18, 2012
A few months ago, Big Mister convinced me that we needed a bread machine. I was not too keen on the idea. I hate those oversized loaves and humongous counter space wasters. But, I now have one. I made a couple of loaves in the machine and was pretty impressed with how easy it was. Throw a few ingredients in the pan, come back in 3 hours, and there she is: a huge loaf of bread. But I was still not crazy about the shape and size of the slices.
As I started Googling and searching Pinterest for bread machine recipes, I realized that a lot of people use the dough setting only and finish baking the bread in the oven. I was instantly a fan. I made pizza crust dough. I made french bread and created the perfect loaves. I even made donut dough and fried up a dozen donuts for myself. It only takes 90 minutes, and I have perfect risen dough.
As I continue to experiment, I have realized that yeast is nothing to be afraid of. I have graduated to making my own dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook. One of these days I may even knead it by hand. But why rush?
My next dough task to conquer was pie dough. My mother makes the most wonderful pie crust. She even wrote down the recipe the first time she came. But every time she comes to visit, I talk her into making a pie for Big Mister:) Well, last weekend, I finally did it myself. And, I must say, she turned out beautifully. I have already made it twice:)
My next dough to tackle? Cinnamon rolls.
Here are the links to the awesome recipes I have used:
3. Emeril Lagasse’s Pizza Crust (for Kitchen Aid mixer)
Yum Yum Carbs!
Tip of The Day July 17, 2012
I don’t know about you guys, but we always have leftovers in this house. I seem to always make too much food for the 2 of us. If I don’t eat it while cleaning up the kitchen, it usually ends up in the garbage.
In the recent issue of Taste of Home, a reader suggests cooking casseroles and “bake-able” side dishes in jumbo muffin tins. That way, it is easier to pop out any leftovers and put into the freezer for another meal or a single serving snack:)
I LOVE this idea! Next time I make my homemade mac-n-cheese, I’m trying this.
Let me know what dishes you try!
Crock-Pot BBQ Chicken for 2 July 16, 2012
Does the need to cook dinner before your husband gets home hang over your head all day like it does mine?! This morning, I knew one thing: I had boneless, skinless chicken thawed in the fridge. I feel like that is the case every morning. Chicken. Blah. But the only thing I could think of that would make my day better is to cook that blah chicken in a crock pot. That way, I could make it while Little Mister was napping. Maybe I’ll go to the spa with all the extra time I have just made for myself…ha.
So, here’s what I am Making Today: Crock-pot BBQ Chicken for 2. I browsed a few recipes, and then decided to do what I usually do: Make it up as I go:)
First, I trimmed the excess ick off of each chicken breast. Then, I laid the 2 breasts in the bottom of my Crock-Pot, seasoning each lightly with salt and pepper.
I then gathered my sauce ingredients: BBQ sauce, olive oil, white vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and cumin.
I whisked them all together in a bowl.
And poured the sauce over the chicken.
Make sure you use all the sauce and cover both chicken breasts completely.
Put the lid on and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours. I plan to check mine at 4 hours and add extra time as I see fit.
*I ended up switching to HIGH after 4 hours and cooking for an extra hour.*
And here is the final product! The chicken was very moist and tender. It literally cut when I touched it with my fork. I finished off the meal with roasted red potatoes, green peas, and garlic cheddar biscuits. Yum. (The picture would have been better if the power wouldn’t have gone out right when I was putting the food on the table. Thankful I had already cooked!)
Crock-Pot BBQ Chicken for 2
(*This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled*)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – thawed and trimmed
1c BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s because that’s what I had on hand 🙂
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 c white vinegar
1/8 c light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cumin (not necessary, but I love the smokey flavor)
Place chicken in crock-pot and season lightly with salt and pepper. Whisk together the 6 ingredients for the sauce until well-combined. Pour over chicken until completely covered. Cover crock-pot with lid and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours, or until chicken is no longer pink.
*In all actuality, you could make this even easier on yourself by just using BBQ sauce and forgetting all the other ingredients. Play around with ingredients you like! You really can’t mess this up!