Monday, January 26, 2009

Football Food

We love football. Well, maybe not the girls, but the other 3 of us do. We watch on a regular basis and ALWAYS watch the Super Bowl. Even on years when we don't really care who wins, like this year. This year, we are neither cheering for a team to win or for a team to lose. (Honestly, we only cheer for a team to lose when it is the Patriots - sorry, Kayla, just keeping it real) But, I digress.

We don't throw a big Super Bowl party - only because none of my Husband's friends watch football. But, if they did, I would go all out. I would make a football shaped cheese ball and some football player shaped sugar cookies. If they did watch football, and I did throw a party, here are some things I might cook up.

Stuffed Mushrooms

16 oz. ground sausage
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon pepper
1 stalk green onion - chopped
parmesan cheese
1 large container mushrooms

Brown sausage and drain. Melt cream cheese in sausage. Add green onions and all seasonings. Mix well. Add bread crumbs to tighten mixture. Remove from heat. Wipe mushrooms with damp paper towel and remove stems. Fill with stuffing and top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

20 oz. frozen spinach
1 stick butter
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts
6 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup onion flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon bread crumbs

Thaw and drain spinach - set aside. Melt butter in saucepan. Add the artichoke hearts, onion flakes and garlic. Saute 5-10 minutes. Add lemon juice, pepper and spinach. Heat thoroughly. Stir in cream cheese until melted. Pour into greased casserole dish. Top with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Bake at 325 degrees, or until browned on top.

And, who am I kidding? I'm totally going to make all these things anyway and have a Family Super Bowl party.


For more domestic bliss, be sure to visit Blissfully Domestic.

For more tummy temptations, check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.

For more Kitchen Tips, please visit Tammy's Recipes.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Easy Pepper Steak

My Husband loves his Mom's pepper steak. So, I always just let her make it for him. That was until she started to become ill and I realized I'd better come up with something or he might not ever experience pepper steak again. This recipe is very simple and easily adapted to work in a crock pot and he likes it, he really likes it.

Easy Pepper Steak

1 round steak - tenderized
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 can diced tomatoes - undrained
1 medium onion - cut into strips
2 bell peppers - cut into strips

Cut steak into serving size pieces. (I try to make them into strips about the same size as the peppers and onions) Season with garlic, salt and pepper. Dust meat with flour.

In heavy skillet, over medium-high heat, brown meat in vegetable oil. Transfer to a dutch oven.

Combine garlic, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and 1 can of water (use the empty tomato can to measure) and pour over steak. Bring to a bubble. Reduce heat and simmer until meat is tender, about an hour. Serve over rice.

TIP: If I have a busy day ahead of me, I will put the browned meat and the rest of the ingredients into my crock pot and cook on High for 3-4 hours, or Low for 6-7.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nathan, and his neverending love of Ice Age

Ok, yesterday I promised I would tell you about Nathan and his 'Ice Age' infatuation. If you have seen the movie, you will understand the scene I am speaking of.

In the beginning of the movie, the main characters, along with the baby, find a melon. Unfortunately, they come upon a group of Dodo birds. (a gaggle, a flock, i don't know, just a group) The Dodo birds are busy stocking up food for the ice age and take the melon. Thus begins and epic battle over said melon leading to the eventual distinction of the Dodos. Ok, that was a bit dramatic, but you get the picture. This is Nathan's favorite scene in the movie. And, Nathan discovered scene selection on the dvd remote, so it is also the ONLY scene he watches.

He marches around the living room with the Dodos chanting, 'Doom on you! Doom on you!'

He warns the characters, 'There's more Dodo birds behind you!!! Look out for the Dodo birds!'

He tells us how the characters are feeling. 'Look Mom, the baby is hungry.'

In fact, he can re-enact the entire scene, playing all parts, providing narration, and deleted scenes.

His sisters eventually give up, knowing they will not get to see the whole movie, and disperse to play elsewhere. But, not Nathan. He will watch that scene over and over and over again for hours. (Yesterday, for 3 hours, in fact.)

Thank you, 20th Century Fox.


Baked Catfish Parmesan

Note: You could use tilapia instead of catfish, if you'd like.

Baked Catfish Parmesan

6 catfish filets
1 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup melted butter/margarine

Rinse fish and pat dry. Mix all other ingredients, except butter. Dip catfish in butter and roll in crumb mixture. Place in a well greased 9x13 casserole. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not on her watch

Nathan loves the movie 'Ice Age.' Watching him watch the movie is more entertaining than almost anything I can think of. More on that tomorrow...

In a nutshell, he talks to the characters on the screen. Much like you or I might yell, 'The answer is C!!!!!' at the TV when 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' is on, he yells, 'Oh no!!! There's more Dodo birds behind you' when they are fighting over the melon. (If you have small children and haven't seen this movie, please rent it. It is adorable.)

Anyway, during today's airing of the movie, Nate was once again warning the characters about the Dodo birds. Lauren, hearing him yell Dodo bird while she was passing, thought that he was referring to her. What 3 year old would let that slide? Not her. She promptly marched back into the living room, hand on hip, ponytail cocked over to one side of her head from her nap and asked, 'HEY! Why you call me a Dodo bird? My name is Lauren and I'm watching TV.'

Gotta love a girl who stands up for herself!


Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

I don't usually have condensed milk on hand as I rarely ever use it. But, every now and then, I will come across a recipe that calls for it. In a pinch, here's a recipe for homemade condensed milk. I always have the ingredients needed available.

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 cup powdered milk
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup boiling water

In a bowl, put milk, sugar and melted butter. Add boiling water and mix well with a mixer. Use as you would canned condensed milk. This recipe equals one can.


For more kitchen tips, be sure to check out Tammy's Recipes.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let's Talk Biscuits

Growing up, in the North East, we were more likely to find a dinner roll on our plate. But here in the South, its all about the biscuits.

Here are two copycat recipes of restaurant biscuits that I hope you enjoy.

Popeye's Biscuits

2 cups biscuit mix (Bisquick)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Sprite OR club soda
1/2 stick melted butter/margarine

Mix together the first 3 ingredients. Roll out dough and cut biscuits. Pour half of the melted butter/margarine into bottom of the pan. Place biscuits on top and pour the rest of the butter over them. Bake at 400 degrees until brown.

TIP: If you don't have a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter, you can dip the top of a glass cup into flour and use that for cutting your biscuits.

Red Lobster Style Cheese Biscuits

2 cups biscuit mix (Bisquick)
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup melted butter/margarine
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine biscuit mix, milk and cheese. Stir until a soft dough forms. Beat, by hand, vigorously for 30 seconds. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

For more domestic bliss, be sure to visit Blissfully Domestic.

Check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Lauren is 3!!!!!

It rained on Lauren's Birthday. Her party was originally supposed to be at 2 that day. The rain had held off all morning until about 1 and then it started pouring. Raining buckets. Cats and dogs, even. This might have been ok, except that we were barbecuing. And we use charcoal. So, lighting up the grill under the car port was OUT of the question.

We called my Sister in Law and told her not to come until about 5. Luckily, the rain stopped at about 3:45 and the sun came out. It was really beautiful that afternoon.

The only pictures I got were taken outside. What do you think the kids are doing in the pictures?

splashing in the puddles, of course...

The girls started first

but Nate was quick to jump in too

Lauren stayed out there so long her toes got wrinkly and pruney

And, in a Birthday miracle, they all got along.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Madison's Book

Madison decided the other day that she wants to write a book. I think, so far, that she has written exactly one paragraph. Tonight, she fell asleep on the couch while she was writing.

The title of this book? 'The Girl Who Couldn't Sleep.'

Oh, the irony...

Getting Older

The other day, I told my Husband that I felt like I was getting old. (I'm only 27, but I was feeling particularly worn out that day.)

Today, I took the test on Real Age and found out that I am 30.4 years old.

Tonight, I received an email inviting me to join AARP.

I think I will just call it a day.

Chicken Chili - 3 ways

I'm trying to get my husband to eat boneless/skinless chicken breasts instead of the greasy, fried, skin-on dark meat chicken that he loves. I try to explain how they are healthier, but he counters that it is like chewing on Styrofoam with no flavor. So, I try to find recipes that add lots of flavor to the chicken without adding a lot of extra calories and fat, thus negating the health benefits completely. I found a recipe for chicken chili in our local paper and, with some tweaking, came up with something that he loves.

Chicken Chili

4 boneless/skinless chicken breast halves
1 medium onion - chopped
1 medium bell pepper - chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 (14 1/2) oz. cans diced tomatoes -undrained (Mexican flavor, if you can find them)
15 oz. can pinto beans - drained
2/3 cup picante sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups Minute Rice - brown or white
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream sliced green onions

Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes. Cook onion, bell pepper, chicken and garlic in hot oil over medium high heat until chicken is browned. Add tomatoes, beans, picante sauce and spices - bring to a bubble. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of Minute Rice. Re-cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 5-10 minutes and stir to fluff the rice. To serve, top with shredded cheese, sour cream and green onions.

Leftovers of this freeze very well and can be re-heated for a quick lunch.

Cut recipe in half and at the end of the cooking time, stir in cubed Velveeta to make a chicken chili dip. Serve with tortilla chips and sour cream.

Make original recipe as written above and serve in warmed flour tortillas as chicken chili burritos. This is how we eat them most often.

Typical Nate and Lauren

Yesterday, while we were on our way to pick up Madison from school, Nathan and Lauren had a cute little altercation.

The kids who walk home are dismissed before the bus/car riders and always go running down the street past the line of parents who are waiting to pick up their children.

Nate, 'Those kids are funny, Mom.'
Lauren, 'No, they're not.' (always the little antagonist)
Nate, (said very angrily) 'Take me a break, Lauren.'

After laughing for a good couple of minutes, I explained the expression is supposed to be 'Give me a break.'

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Business as Usual

The other day my lovely Sister pointed out to me that it had been a while since my last post. Aside from our local internet issues, my computer crashed. My wonderful Sister in Law came and reloaded it for me, but unfortunately, it only lasted 2 days before crashing again. So, she gave us a tower that she wasn't using and it is working GREAT. Now, I can get back to daily posting. I really have missed it and I do have a lot to share.

But, I also have a LOT of cleaning to do. Today I am going to take care of that and tomorrow will be blogging business as usual.

Here's what you have to look forward to if you come back tomorrow:

-->Pictures from Lauren's 3rd birthday party
-->Chicken Chili 3 ways

and coming soon:

-->We're going green - read all about our trials and tribulations
-->Product reviews of earth/family friendly products

Now, I'm going to eat my yogurt and get to cleaning. Does anyone know what 'sell by 03 MSA 47-190' means?

Have a GREAT day!!!!


Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy Friday!!

Isn't it funny how when you're a kid school vacation seems to fly by, but when you're the parent, it seems like eternity has passed. Madison and Nathan go back to school on Monday and my routine will be back to near normal.

My Mother in Law is still living with us. There has been no discussion on when she will go home, but I hope that one day she will. I am trying to be patient and have a cheerful heart about taking care of her, but I am finding it increasingly difficult. If you pray, please send out an extra one for me.

Lauren will turn 3 tomorrow and we have a small party planned for her in the afternoon. I keep asking her what she wants for her birthday, because I still have to pick up a few presents, and she tells me, 'I don't want to go to my birfday.' When I ask her why, she says, 'I don't wanna be 3.' I laugh, but I don't really want her to be 3 either. They grow up much too fast. Madison and I were looking at her baby pictures the other day and it seems like it was just yesterday.

I will definitely be posting some pictures of the Little Peanut tomorrow.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Nana's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy New Year!!!!!

It was my intention to share this recipe with you several days ago, but for some reason the phone company has been working on our internet lines and they have been up and down for a few days now...mostly down. This is not only aggravating to me, but also to my 4 year old whose favorite joy in life is to play on There is no explaining to that boy that the computer isn't working right now without a COMPLETE meltdown.

Anyway, this recipe is the one I used to make all of the cookies for the Habitat volunteers. In fact, this is the only recipe I ever use to make chocolate chip cookies. I think this recipe may be one of the main reasons my husband asked me to marry him. Ok, that may be a stretch, but he sure does love these cookies. After work...warm...with milk. Yummy!

Nana's Chocolate Chip Cookies

2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 oz. chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix thoroughly shortening, margarine, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Blend in baking soda, salt and 1 cup flour. Blend in the remaining 2 cups of flour, one at a time.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfulls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8-10 minutes until light brown. Cool slightly before removing from pan.


1) My Mom always stores them in an airtight container with a slice of bread to keep them moist. I like to keep the dough in my fridge and bake up only about a dozen at a time, so there are never any left to store. This way I can TRY and regulate how much sugar my children are eating at one time.

2) Refrigerate the dough after mixing it up for at least 30 minutes and roll the dough into teaspoon sized balls and place on the cookie sheets - this keep them from spreading out too thin and becoming crunchy. We like chewy cookies in my house.

3) My Mom says you can add an extra 1/2 cup flour for an even softer cookie. I have never needed the extra 1/2 cup and I don't know if it has anything to do with our geographic differences or not (she is in New England, I am in the Deep South) but keep that in mind, in case you need it.