Monday, July 25, 2011

Our tiny garden... Pea pods

We have the tiniest of gardens.  Seriously, a few pea plants, one tomato plant and some herbs.  It's small because my moms house has the biggest garden ever.  It's expanded as my brothers and I have moved out.  I think it's my step dads way of continuing to provide for us.  And I am grateful.

I did pea plants this year basically as a cover for our dogs "undesireable" part of the yard to be covered.  And it's worked well.  Plus.  We have peas!

This is what I've done with the pea pods.  It's simple, it's yummy and the boys eat them.

1 tbsp olive oil
pea pods
salt and pepper

In a small pan, saute the peas in olive oil.

Salt and pepper when they are begining to get a little color on them.



Saturday, July 23, 2011

I coffee... Caramel coffee cooler

I LOVE a good cup of coffee.  It's who I am. 

This summer, I've discovered the joys of iced coffee.

There's a couple of ways to do basic iced coffee, neither is better than the other.  They both work, so pick whichever works best for you.

1. Make your coffee in the morning, and make enough for an extra cup.  Before you're wash out the coffee pot, put the extra in a cup in the fridge for later.

2. Make your coffee double strength.  So if you usually use one TBSP of coffee for 2 cups of water, use 2 TBSP for 2 cups.   And then pour it directly over ice.  The ice will melt, cooling the coffee and giving your regular strength cold coffee.

And then you can really jazz it up and make a caramel coffee cooler.  Because it's the cool thing to do.

1 c cold coffee
12/-1 oz caramel syrup (I use davinci, but torani is good too.  You can find different brands at Target, walmart, meijer and sams)
1/2-1 oz half and half

Fill glass with ice.

Pour caramel syrup in glass.

Add coffee.  Stir.

Add half and half. Marvel at how pretty it looks.  Then stir.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Something to drink... Raspberry Lemonade/Tea

In the summer, we drink alot of tea.  We drink alot of countrytime lemonade.

But once in a while, we want something else.

Something refreshing.

And this fits the bill!

Raspberry lemonade/tea something or another.  Because it's kinda tea, kinda lemonade and all kinds of good!

4 tea bags Red Zinger Tea
1 can lemonade concentrate
4 cups boiling water
2 TBSP sugar

Seep the tea bags in the boiling water.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Stir in the sugar.

Add the lemonade.

Put it in a 2 qt pitcher and add water to the top.


Serve over ice.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

High school memories... Tacos in a bowl

I got an email the other day from a friend from high school.  He and I were good friends, hung out together alot during school.  And I don't think I'd heard from him in almost 10 years.  It was good to hear he was doing well.  I wonder about people from time to time, and he's one of them.

Anyway, all that to say he mentioned that we used to do hot lunches to earn money for our senior trip.  And I'd forgotten how good they were.  We always did tacos in a bag.  A bag of fritos with all of the fixins for tacos.

So we had them for dinner, but in a bowl, with a little healthier twist.

1 lb hamburger
1 tsp taco seasoning
1/2 tsp cinnamon
cheddar cheese
corn chips

Brown the burger with the spices.

Put the corn chips in a bowl, or if you're going a little healther start on a bed of lettuce.

Add the burger, chips, cheese and onion.

Top with the lettuce, or a few chips (if you're doing the healthy thing).

A little sour cream and salsa on top, and you're good to go!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Veggies and chocolate... Chocolate/zucchini/coconut muffins

Sometimes they really do go together.  Who would have thought?

But these muffins have it all: veggies, fruit, and even chocolate.

Check it out, we might even be able to say they are kind of healthy.  But I'll take my chocolate any way I can, thank you.

1 C sugar
1 TBSP molassas
4 TBSP butter
1/4 c yogurt
1/2 c applesauce
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c buttermilk
2 1/2 c flour
1/3 c cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 c zucchini
1/2 c coconut

Cream butter, sugar and molassas.  Beat in yogurt, applesauce, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk.

In a bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, and spice.

Mix wet and dry ingredients.  Stir in zucchini and coconut.

Pour in muffin tins and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Menu planning Monday, er, uh Wednesday

So, it's Wednesday already.  It's been a crazy, weird week.  And we leave for vacation next week... so it's weird all around.  But here's our menu.  

Wednesday and Thursday are work nights.
Friday- Tacos in a bowl
Saturday- Lemon sage crepes
Sunday- Steak
Monday- Philly pizza
Tuesday- Shrimp/avacado salad
Wednesday- Chicken salad lettuce wraps

Southern girl at heart.... BBQ chicken pizza

My grandparents are from Tennessee.  So I'm going to go out on a limb and say, I've got some southern in me.  I like sweet tea (although not too sweet), I can make a mean banana pudding and I love barbeque. 

And I'm picky.  I like a good sauce.

I especially like the barbeque sauce from Corky's.  In fact, going to Corky's and getting some more sauce is the part of our vacation I might be looking forward to the most.

So it's what makes this pizza special, at least for us.  But find a good sauce and make up some pizza.  And pretend you, too, are from the south.

Pizza crust
Dry rub spice
1 cup GOOD bbq sauce
2 c cooked chicken
4 oz shredded mozzerella cheese
2 TBSP chopped chives

Mix the chicken and 3/4 c bbq sauce and refrigerate for 2-4 hours, or more.

Mix dough for pizza crust.  Roll out onto a cookie sheet.

Sprinkle with the dry rub spice.

 Bake 10 minutes at 425.

Spread last 1/4 cup of bbq sauce on the baked crust.

Add the chicken and sauce to the top.  Sprinkle mozzerella cheese over top.  Sprinkle with half the chives.

Bake at 425 for 10 more minutes or until chicken is warm and cheese is melted.  Top with the rest of the chives.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A taste of summer at our house...Lemonade pie

We love the beach.  We head out there often in the summer... because we do live close to the beach.  This year our state decided to offer a pass for the state parks for a year for just $10 when you renew your license plate.  So we did it.  And it's already paid for itself.  

Summer means the beach here.  But it also means lemonade pie.  I love it.  Cool, refreshing, sweet, tart... all rolled into one easy pie.

1 sleeve graham crackers
1/2 stick butter
2 TBSP sugar
1 3/4 c milk
2 (4 serving) pkgs instant vanilla pudding
1 can frozen lemonade
1 8 oz tub whipped topping

Melt the butter. 
Crush the graham crackers.
Add the sugar to the graham crackers.
Add the butter and mix well.
Put it into an 8x8 pan and press well.

Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.

Mix the pudding mix with the milk.

Add lemonade.

Fold in whipped topping.

Spread over the crust and freeze.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Breakfast... Banana coconut muffins

I have never been a big breakfast person.  Most days I just skip it.  I know, it's bad for me.  But I just can't get into a routine.

But my kids like it.

They basically get out of bed and ask for breakfast.

And yesterday, I decided to make them muffins.  But as I got out my old stand by banana muffin recipe, I decided I wanted something different.

Randomly, Avon has a new banana coconut body wash out, and the combination sounded good.

So... Banana coconut muffins.

I could get used to this breakfast thing.

1/2 c plain yogurt
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
2 bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract (although coconut extract would be lovely!)

1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger

1/4 c shredded coconut

Combine the first five ingredients in a bowl.  Mix well.

Combine the next six ingredients in another bowl.  Mix well.

Add the first bowl to the second one.  Stir until just combined.  To much mixing will make tough muffins.

Scoop into greased muffin tin and add shredded coconut to the top of each.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Thankful today... And a link

Usually it's thankful Thursday.  But today is Friday, and I'm still thankful.

Today I'm thankful for my grandma.  She went home to be with her Lord this morning.  And we will miss her greatly.

She was amazing.  She took care of us.  She loved us.  She cooked for us.

She made the best grilled cheese, chocolate chip cookies and banana pudding.  That was her specialty.  From scratch, with homemade pudding and merangue.  None of that cool whip stuff.

So I'm cooking today in her honor.  I'm not making any of her specialties today, it would be too hard.  I'm making pork chops tonight and we'll celebrate her life with some family. 

here's the pork chop recipe I'm using.  Hopefully it's as good as all the reviews say.


Oops, I can't count... (Almost) Seven Layer Dip

There's been talk about seven layer dip this week on a certain e-community that I belong to.   And it made me hungry.

So I thought I'd make some seven layer dip.

Easy enough.

Beans... check
Sour cream...check
Lettuce....Wait.  How did I walk through the store, where I went to get lettuce, and get home without it?

Oh well... six layer dip it is.

Still tastes pretty good.

And I didn't even miss the lettuce.  We will just call this Erin's bean dip, since she hates lettuce and call it good.  Yeah, that's it... I did it on purpose.

Or you can just add lettuce to the top of yours and you will have a seven layer dip.  That works too.

1 can refried beans
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp green chilis (because they are still in the fridge)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp cumin
6 oz montery jack cheese, shredded
1/2 c salsa
1/2 red pepper, diced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 c sour cream
Lettuce (completely optional)

Combine beans, spices and cream cheese.  Mix well.

Spread bean mixture in the bottom of a pie plate.

Top wtih salsa, then cheese, then pepper and onion.

Add sour cream, and lettuce if you feel it's necessary.

Serve with tortilla chips.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Beans... Indian spiced chicken

I'm not a fan of beans... well, not all of them.  I would tell you I only really like black beans.  But I'll eat pinto beans.  I like refried beans.  And in the summer I eat green beans.

So when I started making this recipe I looked at the can of garbanzo beans in my pantry and thought... "I don't really want to eat those."  But for some reason I picked them up and brought them upstairs.

And opened them.

and put them in this recipe.

and liked them.

Come on!  Seriously, I don't like beans.

But these I eat.  I guess if you put peanut butter on anything it's not that bad. 

Try it.  I did, now you have to too.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, sliced
1 can tomatoes
1 can garbanzo beans
2 TBSP peanut butter
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of red pepper flakes

As we do nearly every time...
Saute the onions in olive oil over medium heat. 

Add the chicken until browned..

Add the tomatoes and let cook 5 minutes.

Add the peanut butter, beans and spices.

Let cook 5 minutes.

Serve over rice.  (And for a special treat, throw a cinnamon stick into the rice as it cooks...voila, cinnamon scented rice.  Amazing!)


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Living in a neighborhood... Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

I love our neighborhood... because I was here so much growing up it's always felt like home.  When Husband and I looked for a house, we wanted a neighborhood like the ones we grew up in.  This is it. 

My boys have friends in the houses next to ours. 

I know my neighbors by name and face.  We say hi when we pass. 

I love it here. 

There used to be block parties here.  The whole road would be shut down and everyone would make something to eat and share with each other.  There were games and kids ran down the middle of the street.  It is one of my favorite memories. 

I imagine if we had one of these again, I'd make these potatoes.  Mostly because they are so good.  Partly because they can make a ton.  And just a little because the rosemary grows in the backyard.  So it's in full supply.

Have I mentioned I love my herb garden?  This is why.

Smells so good!

The next time you have burgers you should try these... if it's you, your family or the whole neighborhood!!

Red potatoes
Olive oil to coat
Montreal Steak Seasoning (or something like it... I use a roasted garlic and onion seasoning)
Rosemary, chopped

Cut the potatoes into one inch chunks.

Coat them with olive oil.

Season them liberally.

Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Menu planning Monday

Yay, Monday!!

But, of course, we're still on vacation.  So that works for us!

And we're still planning our meals.... here's what's cookin this week.

Monday- Pina colada jello, chicken bbqs
Tuesday- Thai chicken with pineapple and basil
Wednesday- Work
Thursday- Baseball Awards (Yum, crunchy.. HAHA!_
Friday- BBQ pork chops
Saturday- Pickle chicken
Sunday- Tacos in a bowl

What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Picnic time!... Pina colada jello

It's picnic season.  And we all get invited to them and have to bring a dish.  Something easy, not too heavy, something everyone likes.  Well, how about jello?  My aunt is really the queen of jello, but I beat her to this recipe.  (Although, I'm sure she'll have to try it at some point.)

I'm headed to a picnic tomorrow and don't have time to really make a whole lot tomorrow.  So I'm bringing pina colada jello.  Try it... maybe you'll bring it to your next picnic.  If you do, will you invite me too?

Pina colada flavored jello (it's a seasonal one I'm sure), prepared
1 can pineapple, drained really well
1 tub whipped cream
1/2 c toasted coconut

Make the jello according to package directions. Put it in a 10x7 pan or medium serving bowl.  Let sit in the fridge for 1 hour.

Add the drained pineapple and let sit in the fridge until set.

Top with coolwhip and toasted pineapple.