Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: My Favorites

I am hopping on the "favorites post" bandwagon.  (Even though I didn't blog all year, I can still have favorites, right?)  I have noticed quite a few blogs doing it and I wasn't sure I would until we ate breakfast this morning and realized these pancakes would make the list for sure.  I then started formulating the rest of the list in my head.  These aren't in a particular order and I was having a hard time picking favorites.  I love all of the posted recipes, that's why I shared them.  I finally whittled it down to 11 and I tried to keep it 11 that weren't already featured in the "popular posts" (on the right hand side).

Pancakes with Buttermilk syrup is one of the most eaten breakfast foods at our house.

Broccoli Salad

I realized the other day that I warned everyone on Facebook that I was most likely done posting until after Christmas, but I failed to mention it on my blog.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.   We changed plans at the last minute (which I should have expected) and ended up doing massive amounts of driving.  I think it was all worth it in the end.  Everyone had a great time together and there weren't any massive catastrophes.  I just wish we could come up with a way to teleport places.  The 14 hours of driving home with our 2 kids about killed us all.  They were actually really good considering they were in such a confined space for practically the whole day, and I was too.  I didn't tantrum once.  I was really trying to be adult about it.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


About 3 years ago, my friend, Lynae, brought me a Christmas treat. Okay, I think she might have brought it for the whole family, but they never saw it.  So I am just going to say it was for me.  She dropped these off in a little Christmas candy dish, wrapped in cellophane and I really didn't know what hit me.  I thought I would just eat one or two before sharing with the rest of my household, and then found myself eating the last one.  They were so good.  I had never had these before then, but I have made them plenty of times since.   The hardest thing about them is unwrapping all the Hugs. 
Enter elves.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Last year, I didn't make baklava.  Because the year before I had spent several batches of phyllo dough and time trying to find "my favorite recipe," and then when we moved, somehow this recipe got boxed up in storage instead of making the journey with me.  FAIL.  Seriously.  Yay for a blog that will make it so that will NEVER happen again!  I was overjoyed to find that it didn't get swallowed up by all things in storage, never to be found.  Sometimes if we have a little faith, everything turns out okay.  Now if I could somehow call Bon Jovi and make sure he is, in fact, alive and well, life would be bliss.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Crab Rangoon (Cream Cheese Won tons) with Sweet and Sour Sauce

I LOVE CHINESE FOOD!  It might be weird that I am posting about this, right now, with Christmas right around the corner.  Maybe you are having people over for a get-together and this would be the perfect addition to your party.  Or maybe not, but here it is anyway!  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Eclairs with Egg Nog Cream

I mentioned our church party when I talked about the sparkling cider.  Another thing I volunteered to bring was a dessert.  I went back and forth when I was trying to decide what to take.  I landed here.  I don't drink a lot of egg nog, but it's like a big deal this time of year, ya know?  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sugar Cookies, the pretty kind (sort of)

I know I said that I didn't care if my sugar cookies were shaped like butterflies or not.  But I guess I lied.  Because I was looking at Annie's blog and decided I needed to try it.  (Yes, we are on a first name basis, pretty much BFFs.)  If she can do it, I can do it, right?  And if I can do it, you can do it, for sure.  I am basically an idiot, really.  This attempt was far from perfect.  I am not even showing you the finished candy canes because they don't even deserve a post.  The Christmas trees turned out okay but I think it's like anything in the kitchen; there is a learning curve.  I shouldn't expect myself to be perfect the first time I try something, should I?  Truth be told this was the second time, I tried to make some last week, but it didn't go well at all.  I learned a thing or two from my mistakes, as usual.  Hopefully, you can learn from them too.  That's why we are here right?  And so next time I go to make these cookies I can read this and not make the same mistakes myself.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Homemade Sparkling Cider

We had a church get together tonight and I was in charge of a couple of things.  One of them was sparkling cider.  When we were initially talking about it, we were trying to decide how to make our own since we didn't have a budget that would include buying the fancy bottles for our party.  I started thinking about how we could do that.  It has to just be juice and carbonated water, right?  Right.  I went to the store and bought all the ingredients with the intention of trying it before the party to make sure it was good.  Today rolled around and I hadn't tried it yet.  I really did think it would work though.  And for once, I was right.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gingerbread Houses

I have been wanting to make gingerbread houses for a couple weeks now. I thought it would be kind of a fun tradition to start with my kids.  Since it was something I wanted to start doing every year, I thought I would invest in a cookie cutter set (Jonas House and Castle Cookie Cutters) to cut the shapes and make it a bit easier every year.  Little did I know, the cookie cutter set was going to be quite flimsy.  I had to reinforce it with popcicle sticks because I was afraid it would bend and every shape I cut would be different.  I also didn't really want to buy the kits with everything included since we are on a pretty fixed budget and plan to be for the next few years.  Even though I was a little disappointed in the cutters, we made them work.  I found a recipe on Epicurious that I changed a little and we used a royal icing recipe (Annie's Eats via Good Things Catered)  that worked really well.  All in all, I think the project was fun and pretty catastrophe-free.  It took some

Monday, December 12, 2011

Creamy Corn (Slow Cooker)

I posted not long ago about slow cooker mashed potatoes and still can't get over the genius of it.  I have since been in love with the idea of side dished in the crock pot.  Especially for special occasions.  The recipe for Candied Yams with Apples and Cranberries was also a bit hit.

I told you guys we went to Arizona for Thanksgiving to spend time with Jenni and her family.  Her mom cooked an AMAZING Thanksgiving dinner.  Seriously, amazing.  Part of dinner was a creamy corn that everyone loved.  Tyler seemed to think it was gravy and put it on top of everything on his plate.  It reminded me of a slow cooker recipe for creamy corn that I made a few years ago.  I couldn't remember the actual recipe so I just added some stuff to the crock pot and I liked the result.  I don't think it's exactly the same as what we had for Thanksgiving, but it's still delicious and would go great with Ham or Turkey or probably any holiday meal.  And the best part is, it's super easy.  It makes me want to get a few more slow cookers.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chicken and Broccoli Puff Pocket

 I realized the other day that I only had 3 chicken tenderloins in the freezer and usually it takes 6-8 to feed my family.  I was trying to decided how I could dupe them into thinking they had their full meal while only using half the meat.  Whenever I am in this predicament, I always land on something wrapped in bread, some kind of soup or gravy type meal.  I had been eyeing the puff pastry recipe and wanting to try it anyway.  And what's better than something wrapped in bread?  Something wrapped in puff pastry.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Quick Puff Pastry

I will be making this AGAIN!  I want to make it again today; it was (SERIOUSLY) so worth the effort.  This was my first attempt at puff pastry and it won't be my last!  I didn't find it to be as hard as I thought.  Of course this a 'quick' version of puff pastry.  It was very similar to the croissants and I guess they weren't as hard as I thought they would be either. hmmm, I wonder what else I can do.  Days like yesterday get me excited for the possibilities and then very soon, I will have a day that will make me never want to cook again!  Let's enjoy this feeling though, shall we?  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Brownies II

I mentioned when I posted my favorite brownie recipe that I had a close second I wanted to share.  While the other recipe entails melting chocolate and butter and using the mixer, this one does neither.  No stove top work or mixer necessary (seriously, the only way these could be easier is if you have someone make them for you!), which makes this one all the more appealing.  This recipe has been my favorite for so long, I feel bad replacing it some of the time with the other recipe but it just has to be done.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Crêpes with Strawberries and Nutella

(updated photo: 2/14/2013)
My family has a tradition involving these crêpes.  If you ask any of them they might say they came up with the idea.  But seriously, don't listen to them.  It was all me.  I was in San Francisco for a work conference a billion years ago (it sounds better for the story that way but it was really probably 9 years ago) and we went to an outdoor mall with a bunch of little shops; including a crêpe shop.  I wish I could remember the name of it.  That place changed my life.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Turtle Cheesecake

This was another dessert we made in Arizona.  Are you starting to feel like I need an intervention?  Too much cheesecake?  Is there really such-a-thing as too much cheesecake?  Really?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Honey-Soy Glazed Chicken (Slow Cooker)

 I recently joined Pinterest but I don't know what I am doing.  It is a bit intimidating for me.  I kind of feel like I need to hurry and pin a bunch of random things from websites so it looks like I have interests other than cooking.  I have pinned a few things and instead of overwhelming myself decided to just wait until I come across something I like on a website and then I will pin it.  I also wish everyone couldn't automatically see everything.  What if I want to have a private board?  And pin a bunch of weird stuff I don't want people to know about?  I might be a closet weirdo.  Or maybe I want to pin gift ideas and don't want people to see them.  Can you make a board private?  I just don't know enough about the whole situation to feel comfortable I guess.
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