Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sweet sweet baby skin

I never realized how perfectly sweet my baby would be.  I remember when I first smelled his little breath as I lay in the hospital bed the day he was born.  I was in perfect wonder over the life in my arms, amazed that we had all made it safely through delivery, when I first caught a whiff.  His breath was like nothing I'd ever smelled before.  Perfect freshness.

And now the rain-fresh breath is no more, but he has this perfect, silky skin.  It's darkish toned like his dad's, and soft and smooth and wonderful. 

And he has these irresistable leg rolls, my mom calls them Dairy Queen wrinkles :)  He loves it when I am the nom nom monster and nom on those little rolls!  Baby laughs... but that's another post.

It's safe to say I'm intoxicated by my beautiful baby. 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Caleb v puffs. Round 1

Since he started eating purees, Caleb has tried all the Stage 1 fruits and vegetables.  The only one that he didn't seem to care for was the bananas, and I think it's because of the texture.  He seems to have a sensitive gag reflex (which has already given me a few near-heart attacks) and texture/dryness seems to really set it off.

We decided to try these little puff cereal things that dissolve really quickly.

They are a yummy strawberry flavor so we thought he'd enjoy them.


Well, so far the body language isn't giving us a lot of hope for the puffs...

What is this stuff you're feeding me...dirt??


Sorry mom, I gave it my best shot!  Maybe next time!

Fancy Macaroni

For the past couple years, the women in my family have worked ourselves silly preparing and cleaning up after Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals.  This year we declared from the get-go that we weren't doing it this time, we wanted easy, good food, and we wanted to have time to sit, visit, and play with the baby. 

For Christmas Eve, we decided to do a casserole and my mother in law put me in charge of finding a good recipe.  You know I can always count on the Pioneer Woman to drop a recipe of such mouth-watering proportions that I have to make it and this time she did not disappoint.  As soon as I saw her post about Fancy Macaroni go up, I knew I'd found my Christmas Eve casserole.

It was so wonderfully good, the sauteed onions and all the yummy cheese, not to mention BACON, made this one spectacular dish.  Below is the Ree's recipe exactly as she posted, with notes for my slight adjustments.

Fancy Macaroni
Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks!


4 cups Macaroni
8 Tablespoons Butter
2 whole Medium Onions, Cut In Half And Sliced Thin
10 slices Regular Bacon
1 Tablespoon Bacon Grease (reserved From Bacon Slices)
¼ cups All-purpose Flour
2 cups Whole Or 2% Milk
½ cups Half & Half
2 whole Egg Yolks, Beaten
Salt & Pepper (to Taste)
½ cups Grated Gruyere Cheese
½ cups Grated Fontina Cheese (I used Butterkase because I couldn't find any Fontina)
½ cups Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
4 ounces, weight Chevre (soft Goat Cheese)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook macaroni for half the time of the package instructions. Drain and set aside. (I also rinsed the noodles with cold water so they wouldn't stick together)

Fry bacon until slightly, but not overly, crispy. Drain on a paper towel. Reserve grease.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet and saute onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and soft. Set aside.  (besides sauteeing the onions in the same skillet I'd cooked the bacon, I added the reserved bacon grease to the butter)

In a pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour in milk and half & half, then cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until thick. Reduce heat to low. Add salt & pepper to taste. (Do not undersalt!)

Beat egg yolks and drizzle 1/4 cup hot mixture into the yolks, stirring constantly. Stir to combine. Pour egg mixture into sauce and cook for another minute.

Add cheeses and stir until melted. Add onions and bacon and stir. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if needed. Add cooked macaroni and stir to coat.

Pour into a baking dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until sizzling and hot.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Caldo Soup

Thank you mom for blogging this for me, and also, thank you for sharing this awesome soup!  She brought it down for us to have over Thanksgiving.  It froze and reheated really well, collard greens really hold their own.

Did you ever want to make something different, something you’ve never tried before? Last week I took out my Paula Deen’s ‘The Lady and Sons, Too’ and decided that whatever page it opened to I’d make something from that page. It didn’t make any difference if it was a dessert or a pot roast, anything.

It came as no surprise that it opened to a page with a recipe I have used many times, but on the opposite page was Susan’s Caldo Soup. I don’t know Susan, and I didn’t know what was Caldo was so I read through it and decided that Caldo must mean collard greens, one of the ingredients it called for. In doing a little more looking I found that Caldo is Portuguese for broth so I learned something new that day.

I also learned that day that my little home town grocery store did not have frozen chopped collard greens. So, I headed across the street to visit with my neighbor from Mississippi to see if she thought replacing collard greens with spinach would work. Well, that’s when I found out that they are not interchangeable. The next evening she came bringing me a bag of frozen chopped collard greens that she had picked up at a large supermarket when she had been out of town that day.

So, I was all set to make the soup, what follows is the exact recipe and then I will tell you what I changed. I thought it was really good, something very different from anything I had ever had, and I will definitely make it again, that is, when I can get the collard greens.

Susan's Caldo Soup
Source:  The Lady and Sons, Too

1/2# Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup diced onion
Three 14.5 oz. cans chicken broth
5 small new red potatoes, quartered
1 tsp. Lady’s House Seasoning
10 oz. frozen chopped collard greens

(I used the whole pound of sausage, doubled the butter, used all of one large onion and the can of chicken broth was 49.5 oz.)

Cut the sausage into ¼” slices. Melt the butter over medium heat, add the onion and sausage, sauté until the onion is transparent, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes, and House Seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the collard greens, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Before serving, using a fork, mash some of the potatoes to thicken the soup.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

All I Want For Christmas...and a seven month update

Is my two front teeth!  At least that's what Caleb says.  As you can see from some of these pictures, he already has one bottom tooth, it came in two weeks ago.  Another one is coming through today and my poor baby is sure feeling it.  I took these pictures last Friday afternoon, we all had fun playing since I got off early.  And yes, he's still in his PJs, we don't always get in a big hurry to get dressed when we are playing at home on the floor, I think he's warmer in his PJs and we don't have to worry about him pulling off his socks.  If you're reading this, Aunt Colleen, thank you so much for the fun presents!  We put the others under the tree for Christmas day, but this fun bendy ball we opened right away and he loves it.  Thank you!!!

(Please pay no attention to the man on the's a good thing he never reads this blog, he'd probably be mad I took a picture of the top of his head, poor dude.  I still think he's sexy though)

While Caleb, Brent, Sadi and I were all playing together on the floor, Too Cool for School Gracie posted up on the couch. 

Also, Caleb turned seven months old yesterday!  He has all kinds of neat tricks including scooching around the room Army-crawl style, holding his own bottle, and babbling like a champ.  He also can eat an entire jar of stage one veggies twice a day, plus another half a jar of fruit at each meal too.  He's a good eater and even likes squash and peas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Bacon Appetizers

This is one of the appetizer recipes I taste tested before deciding what to take to the office holiday pot luck lunch.  This one was high on my list, but I really thought they tasted best within an hour out of the oven.  Since I try to be at work by 7:30 every day, the two hour bake time definitely didn't fit my weekday morning schedule.
You can't go wrong with the sweet and salties, however, so believe me, this recipe will make another showing at least once this holiday season.

Pioneer Woman's Holiday Bacon Appetizers
Source:  The Pioneer Woman Cooks!


One package Club crackers
1 pound thin sliced bacon (might I suggest maple cured...the sweet and salty...YUM)
Grated Parmesan cheese (or brown sugar...I'm doing this next!)


Place crackers face up on a cookie sheet. 

Using a teaspoon, sprinkle grated Parmesan on each cracker.  Cut bacon slices in half and carefully wrap each cracker in a slice of bacon, making sure to cover the entire cracker with the bacony yumness.  Place on a cookie sheet fitted with a rack and bake at 250 degrees for around two hours.  I checked mine and took them out after about an hour and forty five minutes and they were perfect.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Needing a sick day

Last week Caleb was diagnosed with a little infection, nothing serious, all it took was a little antibiotic and some cuddles from his mama and daddy to make it all better. 

Of course, there were definitely some sad faces...

And notice the little drool bead collecting on his chin?  Besides being sick, he also cut his first tooth.  All this happened in one weekend, mind you.  Little Man had a reason to be unhappy.

We spent our time hanging out together, alternating between playing on the floor with his toys and taking breaks for cuddling and comforting.  He can be very independent sometimes, so I have to admit I enjoyed that he wanted held for hours and hours. 

He might not have felt well, but he still knew how to have fun!  Check out that little goof face! I imagine he was talking to me when I took this photo, he can chatter up a storm!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Santa's making his list!

Caleb met Santa today!

Santa scheduled a quick stop off at my office building today during lunch. Caleb made it a point to get dressed up in his Christmas sweater so he could sit on Santa's lap and ask for such things as, and I quote, a brand new "Ahbwabwabwa" and a really awesome "dadahbwa". Hopefully Santa has a better ear for Caleb's bourgeoning language skills than I.

Unfortunately Santa had set up shop in front of a huge bright lobby window, causing the faces to be a little underexposed, but this little grin lights up the shot for me :) And Santa, for some reason, you look suspiciously like the security guard who checks and rechecks my badge before letting me in the door. Hmmm.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jalapeno Popper Spread

I've made this dip about four times since I first discovered the recipe and I have yet to get a good picture of it because it's always at night. It's been a hit at every gathering to which I've taken it and on the off chance there is some left over, it reheats wonderfully. One of the things I love about it is that the heat level can be adjusted so easily so you can cater to your friend's needs. Brent and I love spicy stuff, but his mother can't eat it without feeling badly, so I cut the jalapeno quantity in half when she's in the crowd.

Jalapeno Popper Spread


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise (I used light mayo and it still tasted great)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
2 ounces canned diced jalapenos, drained
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Combine cream cheese and mayonnaise in a large bowl until smooth. Add the chiles and jalapenos and stir until combined. Pour mixture into an ovenproof bowl, top with Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly.

It's best served with crusty bread because it truly is a spread, not a dip.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Paula Deen's Strawberry Cake - the cupcake version

Back when I was pregnant I saw Paula Deen make this cake on one of her shows. Soon thereafter, I ran out and got the ingredients and made it for myself, it was my very first double layer cake. I obviously need more practice with layer cakes because though it tasted wonderful, it looked awful. One of the layers stuck in the cake pan and I had to puzzle piece it back together on the cake stand. When a piece was cut from the cake, it's structural integrity was pretty much nonexistent. At the time this was fine with me, my pregnant self just took a bite off the cake with a fork every time I walked through the kitchen.

The next incarnation of this recipe came at my birthday party when it was made into cupcakes. Much better for this inexperienced baker-gal! I'm including Paula's cake recipe, but the conversion into cupcakes was simple, just watch the baking time. The cupcakes can also be prepared ahead of time and frozen.

Paula Deen's Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake
Source: Food Network


1 box white cake mix
1 3 oz box strawberry flavored instant gelatin
1 15 oz package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 10 oz package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
7 cups confectioners' sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans.
In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix and geletin, add strawberries, eggs, oil and water, beat on medium until smooth. Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese on medium until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree and the vanilla extract. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth.

Frost cake and garnish with fresh strawberries.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cookie baking equipment

My mom was kind enough to put together a list of her favorite cookie equipment as a compliment to an earlier guest post she did about her cookie sheets here.


My interpretation of the word gadget is something you can get by without, whereas equipment is something you have to have to perform the task. I love both gadgets and equipment and feel that what is one man’s gadget is another man’s equipment and that you can never have enough of either.

My pride and joy is my Kitchen Aid mixer. When I got it I went all out and got the 6 qt. bowl lift model and I love it. The only thing that would make it better is to take it into an auto body shop and have flames painted down the sides like the one Alton Brown used to use on the Food Network show ‘Good Eats’. Don’t laugh, I’ve seriously considered it!

There are some things to consider if you are thinking about purchasing one of these behemoths. First thing is, do you have the counter space to leave it out? If not, keep in mind that it weighs over 25 pounds and it takes some muscle to lift it out of a cabinet. If you think you have enough counter space to leave it out, make sure you have enough clearance. The 6 qt. bowl lift model is almost 17” tall, I do not have the clearance under my cabinets to store it on my counter. So, I’ve gotten rid of my weight lifting equipment and use my mixer instead.

Another important item is see through canisters. Decorative ceramic canisters are not the place to store flours and sugars. My choice is see though square or rectangular Tupperware or Snapware. Both brands slide in side by side, taking up much less room than round containers, and stack well. Get containers large enough for entire bags of flour or sugar.

For cookie baking I love using serving scoops. I have two of them, a 1 tbsp. and a 2 tbsp. They make very uniform size and shaped cookies that cook consistently and are pretty. I have to admit, I shape every cookie I make after scooping it onto the sheet.

If you’re over the age of 30, you’ve probably used brown paper bags to cool cookies. A couple years ago I graduated to non-stick cooling racks with criss-cross wires and I love them! Anyone who bakes cookies should have two or three of them.

Pot holders, something everyone has, and never has enough of. The little crocheted and knitted ones that your grandmother made for you, or your daughter made for you in Girls Scouts, should be kept only as heirlooms. You will burn yourself for sure, pretty though they are. Last year I found some silicone potholders that I love! They are a little pricey but definitely worth the money.

Measuring equipment, not gadgets mind you, equipment. I cannot get by without two standard sets of measuring cups and measuring spoons. The orange are Tupperware circa 1973, the white ones are also Tupperware, but I’m pretty sure they are less than 15 years old. The white measuring spoons are the best as you can see that they have a flared end and will sit flat on your counter.
I also believe in two and four cup glass measuring cups and have several of the small glass ones for liquid measurement of teaspoons and tablespoons, those are very handy. My next purchase will be a plunge type measuring cup which will be great for peanut butter, shortening, etc.

Spatulas, spoonulas, whatever. You don’t have as many of them as you need. The three I use the most are the narrow one from Food Network, but I am not crazy about wooden handles on anything because gunk can get up in the joint and is hard to clean out; the large one from William’s Sonoma, but it also has a wooden handle and isn’t flexible at all. Ahh, the bright yellow one with no brand name that I bought at a hardware store! It is my go to for everything I do. It’s flexible, there are no crevices to gather goo, and it is absolutely perfect. The only problem is I’ve looked high and low to find more and haven’t had any luck. If I ever find them again I’ll buy one in each size they have and ditch all my others.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Banny's Southern Cream Cookies

Work has picked up again, thankfully my mom has been cooking a lot and has graciously written a guest post for me. I ate like five of these awesome cookies in about two minutes, they are that good.


When I started my cookie making odyssey a month or so ago I made 18 different kinds, all but just a few were recipes that were new to me. Some weren’t so great (and you’ll never have to hear about those) but I received the most requests for this recipe. I got this recipe from and absolutely loved it!!

Banny’s Southern Cream Cookies

1 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sour cream
5 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1.5 c. chopped walnuts

3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350, lightly grease baking sheets.

Cream the shortening w/ 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, beat in the eggs, vanilla and sour cream mixing well.

Stir in the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda to make a stiff dough. Add the walnuts.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto prepared sheet. Mix the 3 Tbsp. sugar with the 1 tsp. cinnamon. Grease the bottom of a small glass and dip it into the cinnamon and sugar and gently press the cookies to flatten the balls slightly.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until centers are done.

These are amazing, delicate, not overly sweet and very yummy. The recipe actually calls for black walnuts but I couldn’t find any so I just used regular chopped walnuts. Also, I did not grease my cookie sheets, I have good non-stick pans. These barely spread out so you can crowd the pan. I used my small scoop and baked them for 11 minutes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Paula Deen's Chicken Bog

I'm going to say it.

It's so much fun being a mom.

Tell me how you can look at a sweet baby face like that and your heart not melt.

Brent and I used to think having fun meant going out with friends, usually involved spending a lot of money and staying up way too late. Now, fun is getting a smile like this. We still enjoy seeing our friends, we went to a party Friday evening, but when it comes down to it, I'd rather play with Caleb. Because I need to get as much of this baby love in as I can before he grows up.

Since my weekends are filled more with things like playing with Caleb and *gasp* housework than they used to be, I don't have as much time to cook fancy meals. When I do cook, I try to find recipes that make a lot of food so we can have leftovers for a few days. My mom reminded me of this Paula Deen recipe that been a standby of hers for years and has always been a family favorite.

Chicken Bog
Source: Paula Deen


3 pounds chicken thighs

1 pound smoked link sausage

1 cup chopped onion 1 stick butter

2 teaspoons Seasoned Salt

2 teaspoons Paula Deen's House Seasoning

1 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 bay leaves

8 cups water

3 cups raw white rice


Slice the sausage into 1/2-inch pieces. In a stockpot, combine the chicken, sausage, onion, butter, seasonings and bay leaves. Add the water, bring to a boil, cover, and cook at a low boil for 40 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool slightly. Pick the meat from the bones, discarding the bones and skin. Add the rice to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring well. Boil for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the rice is done. Remove the bay leaves, and return the chicken to the pot.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shrimp Enchiladas

To say that my husband likes enchiladas is an understatement. The last time I made these, he ate most of the batch, I'm talking eighteen enchiladas, in just over 36 hours. He also loves seafood of all kinds, so when I saw this recipe for shrimp enchiladas I knew I had to make it for him. He's been going through a hard time lately and I thought it would be nice to do something special just for him.

They were a huge hit! They weren't any more difficult to put together than the chicken enchiladas I like to make and they were MUCH better. I'm going to use the steps in this recipe to make my chicken enchiladas from now on. No more cream of chicken soup for us, we are movin' on up to the homemade cheese sauce.

I made several changes to the original, so make sure to click back to The Piggly-Wiggly blog for her take on the recipe.

Shrimp Enchiladas
Inspired By: The Piggly-Wiggly

1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, minced
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp Paula Deen's House Seasoning
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
8 ounces shredded Monterey-Jack cheese, divided
8 ounces Pepper-Jack cheese, divided
1/2 cup sour cream (Used fat-free)
1 Tbsp butter
1-1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (next time I'll use fresh)
(9-inch) flour tortillas


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sauté peppers and onion in the butter until crisp-tender (approximately 3-4 minutes). Add oregano, house seasoning, cream and flour; blend well. Continue cooking for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add half of the cheese mixture; stir until melted. Add sour cream, stir to blend. Set aside.

In another skillet, melt the 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté shrimp until pink. Remove and chop; return to butter. Add tomatoes and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Spoon 1/3 cup shrimp mixture into each tortilla. Sprinkle cheese on top of shrimp mixture. Roll up tightly. Arrange seam side down in a 13x9 glass baking dish.

Spoon remaining cheese sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

I don't bake very often, in fact, I found this bundt pan in the very back of my pan cabinet. It was a wedding present; given to us three and a half years ago, and it was still in its packaging. When I saw this chocolate cake recipe one one of the blogs I follow, What's Cooking in the Orange Kitchen, I decided to time had arrived to unwrap the fleur de lis bundt pan and bake a cake!

I haven't had a piece yet, I'm saving it for dinner tonight with my in-laws, but I did sample, okay more than sample, I ate most of it, the cake that I cut off the bottom to make it level on the plate. It was so moist and chocolatie, I can't wait to have a slice with ice cream tonight.
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Originally from: The back of the "Bakers & Chefs" brown sugar bag


3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 cup boiling water
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla


Combine the baking chocolate, butter and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until chocolate and butter are melted. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients; blend well. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla; beat one for one minute at medium speed. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Invert the pan onto the cooling rack and let cool the rest of the way.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Cups

My mom came down for a long visit this past weekend, she didn't have to work Columbus Day so she was able to make it a three night weekend! We went to the Tulsa State Fair, shopped, relaxed and played with the baby. We had a long list of all kinds of stuff we wanted to do, including cooking a fun breakfast, but the real reason mom came down was so that Caleb could show her his newest discovery:
His feet!

Ever since he discovered them it's been impossible to keep socks on him. And when he does have socks on, they are usually soggy wet. I love watching him playing with his feet, the concentration on his face when he is doing it is priceless.

My mom had this idea for our fun breakfast creation, she said she used to make them all the time, but I have to tell you, I don't remember ever having them. Her and dad had all kinds of fun PK :-)

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Cups
Source: My mom


Twelve slices of white bread, crusts removed
Melted butter
1/2 package maple bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
6 eggs
A splash of milk
Grated cheddar cheese, for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush both sides of the bread with a little melted butter. Lightly press into muffin tin cups, forming a little bread bowl. Bake until lightly browned and able to retain their shape. Remove from the oven and the muffin pan and allow to cool slightly on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon pieces until desired doneness. Combine the eggs and milk with a whisk and scramble. Mix together scrambled eggs and bacon, putting mixture into bread cups. Top with the shredded cheese.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mushroom and Leek Frittata

This recipe really fit the bill for our dinner the other came together quickly and tasted great. However, I had no idea leeks were so expensive! Four dollars for two of those suckers. I think I'll reserve using leeks for special occasions and stick with plain ole onions. Also, the recipe called for basil which I'm sure would have been wonderful, but my basil plants have been gone for a month or so now, and yet again, store-bought basil is something I'll reserve for a special occasion. (Can you tell I'm grocery budgeting, is anyone else?) The directions call for using a couple pans and a bowl...I used one frying pan and everything turned out nicely.

Mushroom and Leek Frittata
Source: Elizabeth's Edible Experience
Originally from: Cooking Light


Cooking spray (I used a little olive oil)
3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced leek (about 2 large)
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 teaspoons butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 large egg whites
3 large eggs
2 cups hot cooked linguine (about 4 ounces uncooked pasta)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 450°.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray or a tablespoon olive oil. Add mushrooms and leek; cook 6 minutes or until leek is tender, stirring frequently.
Combine milk and next 5 ingredients (milk through eggs) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add leek mixture, pasta, and basil; toss gently to combine.

Heat pan over medium-low heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add egg mixture; cook until edges begin to set (about 4 minutes). Gently lift edge of egg mixture, tilting pan to allow some uncooked egg mixture to come in contact with pan. Cook 5 minutes or until almost set. Sprinkle evenly with cheese; wrap handle of pan with foil. Bake 7 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into 8 wedges.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Penne alla Vodka

Yes, this is another guest post, but this time from my friend and (soon to not be) neighbor, Leslie, a.k.a. West 95! Leslie is sporting the cutest baby bump you've ever seen, she makes me wish I were pregnant again...whoa, did I say that? No, not really. Leslie is blessed with an easy beautiful pregnancy. Soon she'll moving WAY west away from me, all the way across town, and across the river, and there will no longer be 42 paces between her refrigerator and mine (for a glass of chilled wine, ya'all). I will miss her much, but I can't wait to take my baby boy to go visit her baby boy and watch them play in the mud together and eat bugs. Life will be grand.


Enjoy your noms! :)

Penne alla Vodka
Source: The


1 med red onion chopped
1/2 cup vodka
2 cups basic tomato sauce (marinara)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 lb penne (i used rigatoni)
1 cup grated parm

1. Bring about 6Q water to a boil and add about 2T salt

2. In large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat until just smoking. Add onions and cook until light golden brown, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the vodka and cook until liquid reduced by half, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cream and cook until the sauce has reduced by a third, about 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water for 1 minute less than the package directions indicate. Drain the pasta and add it to the saucepan. Stir together over very high heat for 1 minute, until thoroughly coated. Remove pan from heat, add grated parm and toss to mix well. Divide the pasta among four bowls, grate fresh parm over each bowl and serve immediately.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Italian Sausage Soup with Tortellini

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I found this recipe on this morning. We wanted soup for dinner since today was so fall-like. The recipe turned out great and the broth was so incredibly flavorful, it was wonderful to eat it with a crusty piece of bread. Then it I was cleaning the kitchen, I looked once more at the recipe I'd printed out. I'd forgotten to include the tortellini in the soup! It was still sitting in it's package in the refrigerator and dinner was over and done with. Even though I have no idea how I managed to forget the title ingredient, it was still great. I'm sure the pasta and cheese would only make it better!

I made several adjustments to the recipe which I will note below. For the original recipe, tortellini and all, go to

Italian Sausage Soup with Tortellini
Adapted from:


3/4 pound hot Italian saugage
1/4 pound pork sausage
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups beef broth
1/2 cup water
1 cup red wine
2 16 oz. cans petit diced tomatoes
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
8 ounces tortellini pasta


In a large stock pot, brown sausage. Remove and drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings.

Saute the onion until nearly translucent. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Stir in broth, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, tomato sauce and sausage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 50 minutes.

Skim fat from the soup, add the tortellini and simmer another ten minutes. Garnish with Parmesan before serving.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Booger Cookies

Thank you again, Mom, for a cookie recipe contribution. My blog is now beginning to resemble a healthy wheel of life, all spokes in proper alignment, all portions harmonious with one another. Except I realize the 'baby' section is beginning to make my circle a little unbalanced, but welcome to my real life. Right now there are only two spokes on my wheel, Caleb and work, which makes my car of life ride a little bumpy. Sorry Brent, your turn will come back around soon enough.


I love all of the old standard cookie recipes, making a few twists and additions practically every time I make them. For one thing, I never use raisins, I don’t like raisins, and lots of other people don’t either. I use dried cranberries instead and keep them on hand at all times. I almost always use dark chocolate chips rather than semi-sweet and I like to use flaked coconut rather than shredded.

But sometimes you just want something totally different and one evening I was snooping around on and found these, the name intrigued me so I had to take a look.

You need to try these, they are very good!!

Booger Cookies

Source: Better

2 1/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 c butter
1 c coconut
1 c mini-chocolate chips
1 small box instant pistachio pudding

Melt butter and let it cool down then mix with both sugars until smooth. Mix in eggs, soda, vanilla and pudding mix. Slowly add the flour. Stir in coconut and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoon onto baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

I used my small one tablespoon scoop for one batch, they took about 9 minutes and yielded 4.5 dozen. When I used my large two tablespoon scoop it took about 14 minutes and I got two dozen.

See the batter? Now you know where the name comes from...I'm just sayin'.