This post may contain affiliate links. Please view my disclosure page for more information.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Garlic Herb No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread


    I had my eye on a few Italian recipes I wanted to make.  So, I needed some nice crusty bread to go alongside.  It was a perfect time to finally make some tweaks to my favorite whole wheat no-knead bread and let it spread its wings a little bit.  I am sure by now most of you have heard about the no-knead method of making bread.  It takes a realllllllllllly long first rise, a quick foof, another shorter rise and as a grand finale a plop into a screaming hot dutch oven to bake.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tahini Cookies

  A couple of weeks back, my Aunt Jenny issued me a challenge.  Like on iron chef, she would give me an ingredient and I was to make something with it. She gave me a jar of tahini and told me the rule was "no hummus!"  She promptly left the country for a little R&R in the Dominican Republic.  Yep, she had fun in the sun while leaving me here to recover from our Mother's Day dessert buffet and gear up to dive head first into Jax's birthday party and Nana's wedding the next two weekends.  So now, with all of the hubbub behind us, I finally got a chance to turn back to the tahini challenge!



   My first thought was to make some cookies, because... well... cookies!  Who doesn't love cookies?  I had my great-grandma's peanut butter cookie recipe out as something to make soon.  My first inclination was to replace the peanut butter with tahini and call it a day.  But her recipe makes A TON of cookies.  And as I mentioned before, we have had a lot of sweets around lately.  Besides, what if it didn't work?  That would be an epic waste!  So, I went to something much smaller... and it worked pretty beautifully.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Great-Aunt Ellen's Parmesan Salad Dressing

     As a kid, we used to make an annual trip to visit my mom's Aunt Ellen and Uncle Richard in Ohio.  We always had so much fun.  They had a pinball machine, jukebox and a softball pitching machine... what more could you want?! The boys would go to a Reds game and us girls would choreograph dance routines or work up little skits.  My mom's cousins, Courtney and Cassie, were a few years older than me and I always thought they were SO COOL.  Great-Aunt Ellen would always make delicious meals and we had the best time.  This salad dressing quickly became a family favorite of ours and my mom made it quite frequently after requesting the recipe.

    It is so much fun making recipes that have childhood memories attached.  When I was deciding what kind of salad to make for Nana's wedding luncheon, I was was thumbing through some recipes and stopped as soon as I got to this one.  I knew it would be a hit with everyone!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Banana Oat Muffins

    With Nana's wedding last weekend, we had some extra bodies in and out of the house.  I wanted to have a quick grab and go breakfast available to anyone who was hungry, but I didn't have a ton of time to put things together.  So as I was getting ready for the luncheon, I threw a batch of these in the oven.  They are healthy enough you don't have to feel bad about eating one, but still taste really good!
 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Creamed Spinach Macaroni and Cheese

   I have been thinking about making this for quite some time.  I loved the idea of mixing creamed spinach and creamy macaroni and cheese.  So, when Matt said he wanted to grill some steaks I decided this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.  I mean if steak houses are famous for serving creamed spinach with their prime rib, wouldn't this be a great down home spin on that idea?  Yes!  Yes, it is!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Classic Buttercream

    There are few things simpler than buttercream.  It makes you wonder why you ever bought one of those tubs of frosting.  This buttercream is made from only 4 ingredients, most of which you probably have anyway.  It is light and fluffy and oh so good!  Plus it is really adaptable.  You can change the extract to match your mood.  Make it a little thinner for spreading or thicker for piping.  Or you can just dip in a graham cracker and call it a day!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Extra Flaky Pie Crust - A Guest Post By MiMi

    A little confession.  I might have a slight addiction to collecting cookbooks.  When trying to decide on a recipe this can be a disadvantage.  So many to choose from.  Several years ago, I was on a misison to find a pie crust that would be as good as the one that my grandma McCallum made.  I wish she were here to spend the day with me showing me how she made hers.  Since that is not possible, and nobody has her recipes, I had to start out at square one.

    I was never able to find one that tasted like hers.  She was a firm believer in using lard.  Hers was the kind of lard that you would have to go to a butcher to get, not the kind available at a regular grocery store.  Even though I made some pie crusts that tasted good, I was always just a bit disappointed so I gave up and started buying the refrigerated pie crusts at the grocery store.  That ends today with this recipe.  Yes, it's that good.



Sunday, May 24, 2015

Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad - A Guest Post by MiMi

     There was a recipe for deviled egg macaroni salad in a magazine I was reading.  My family really likes the deviled eggs that I make so I decided to create my own deviled egg macaroni salad that would highlight the flavors that they all love.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Funfetti Krispie Cupcakes

    Jax loves to bring treats to share with his friends at daycare.  We brought spring nests for everyone the first week of spring.  He likes to share cookies when we make cookies too.  He is so proud when we talk about the snack that he brought to share with everyone.  So I knew he would be happy to bring treats for his birthday.
    My original inclination was to do cupcakes.  I love frosting (I know I tell you that all of the time!)  so the thought of big piles of frosting was very appealing to me.  But then I thought of his daycare ladies.  Trying to feed a bunch of toddlers cupcakes covered in frosting sounded like a mess.  So, I made these instead!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Royal Frosting - Jax's Birthday Cookie Edition

    I have been looking forward to making these cookies for quite some time now.  In fact, I ordered the cookie cutter back in February.  I spent days looking around for a cookie cutter of a jack.  I wanted to make little take home bags of cookie "Jax" for everyone.  I didn't think it would be that hard.  I was wrong!  So, I ended up ordering one custom.  I talked to the people at Truly Mad Plastics and they were a dream to work with.  (This is in no way sponsored by them, they probably have forgotten all about me by now.  But they were really easy to work with!)  We figured out what I wanted and they printed it out on their 3D printer.  While I was ordering, I went ahead and got the lab themed cutters I used to make these fun cookies.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake


    For one of Jax's birthday cakes, I thought it would be fun to do a sheet cake with one of his favorite flavors... peanut butter!   I loved the idea of making a sheet cake.  The thin cake makes it so people could just have a little bit if they wanted or as much as they please.  Plus I could pile it high with white chocolate buttercream! A few sprinkles around the side and a birthday cake is born.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Jax's Birthday Party

     It is hard to believe our little guy is two already!  We had so much fun planning a party for him.  Rather than having a big party like we did for his first birthday, we kept it a small family party.  He is going through a shy phase, and we wanted him to enjoy his own party!


    Last year, he wasn't sure what to do with the candle.  This year, he loves to blow out candles.  He tries to blow them out even when they aren't lit!  We had sort of an old fashioned theme going, though I didn't go out of my way to make it obvious.  A vintage milkshake maker, some old fashioned cake recipes and cookies in the shape of "Jax" were some of the hits.  The little guy loved all of it!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

White Chocolate Buttercream

This White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe is one of my all time favorites and I LOVE frosting, so I don't say that lightly.  It is so creamy, fluffy and fun and the white chocolate flavor really carries through!


   This frosting is sooooooooooo good.  No really, it is.  You would think adding chocolate to the buttercream would weigh it down and make it heavy, but it doesn't!  It is so light and fluffy and has a perfect white chocolate flavor.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Chocolate Pie Crust - a Guest Post by MiMi

   When looking for the perfect pie crust recipe in the "Back In The Day Bakery, Made With Love" cookbook, I turned to the next page.  Flaky Chocolate Crust was staring me in the face.  Are you kidding me?  Chocolate pie crust is something we must try.  If Cheryl and Griffith Day think it's good then who am I to judge until I try it?  Lynn's grandma's oatmeal pie calls for two pie crusts, so why not make one chocolate?  I am so glad I tried it.  It's a keeper.

    Note: if you like chocolate you may be tempted to eat the dough.  Popping a piece of gum in your mouth while preparing this pie crust is strongly encouraged.
-MiMi

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ooey Gooey Lemon Butter Cookies



    Ooey Gooey Cake is a St. Louis tradition.  Since we live only a couple of hours from there, it shows up at our gathers regularly too.  It is always a favorite.  A dense cakey base covered in butter and cream cheese.  What is not to love?!  Well, these are that... in cookie form... and with lemon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Donna's Chocolate Cheesecake (with a heartfelt twist!)

    For those of you who didn't read the original cheesecake post, my aunt Donna is famous for her cheesecakes.  They are sooo good!  I recently bought a heart shaped springform pan, so I was looking for a good excuse to use it.  What better excuse could there be than the Mother's Day dessert buffet?  It seemed like Donna's chocolate cheesecake was in order!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Grandma's Oatmeal Pie - A Guest Post by MiMi


    I got this recipe from my friend Lynn.  She has baked a couple for her family and posted a picture of them on Facebook.  I saw it and just had to get the recipe from her.  Her daughter-in-law verified that it's awesome.  She doesn't even like coconut either.  Lynn told me that she got this recipe from her grandmother.  Her grandmother had a way of changing original recipes to make them her own.  She is not sure where the original recipe came from.  Remember, this was before we had food blogs and Pinterest and things.  Lynn said that her grandmother was a wonderful cook and baker.  She believed very strongly in the quality of her dishes.  She believed her recipes were the best and would stand up for them.  I'd love to see her in a baking competition.  It sounds like she is a woman who would hold her own.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Mother's Day Tribute to MiMi

    For those of you that don't know, MiMi is my mom.  She is Jax's MiMi... which pretty much makes her MiMi to the whole family now.  It is funny how one little guy changes the way everyone functions!

   So, I thought I would give you a little background on us.  I am the oldest of six kids.  She stayed home and raised us all.  She had three girls and three boys.  We come in boy-girl sets.  Me, two years, my brother.  Four years. Another brother, two years, a sister. Four years. Another brother, not quite two years, a sister.  So she was BUSY!  We always had home cooked meals, so my love of cooking probably came from her.  I must have been helping her at an early age, because my grandma likes to tell me about how I told her how to make a pot roast when I was two.

  Even though we have moved out, she is still there for all of us.  She keeps tabs on what everyone is up to and tries to get us all together for "family dinner" at least once a week.  If you poke around the blog much, you can probably tell she is my biggest supporter.  She is always sending recipes, pictures and sometimes full posts for the blog.  So, I thought it would be fun to do a quick roundup of some of MiMi's favorite contributions.

   Happy Mother's Day to everyone and especially to you, Mom!

Great-Grandma Rees' Oatmeal Step On Cookies

    I thought for Mother's Day it would be fun to post one of my Great-Grandma's recipes.  More of her story can be found on the post I wrote about her frozen fruit salad.  She had a very interesting childhood living with her mom and grandparents after her dad passed away.  It sounds like her grandparents were quite the business people and were in to a little bit of everything!  Since she had a stroke when I was very young, I don't remember her cooking.  But her recipes still live on.  This is one that I have heard of her making frequently.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day Dessert Buffet

   Hold on to your sweet tooth!  We are getting ready to go on a wild ride.  We had a Mother's Day dessert buffet last night and today begins the prep for Jax's birthday treats.  We need treats for daycare, treats for his party, cakes, ice cream and sugar galore!  Then we have Nana's wedding the next weekend!  Lots of reasons to celebrate and lots of sweet treats headed your way!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Churro Ice Cream - A Guest Post by MiMi

       I developed this recipe for a Cinco de Mayo dessert.  I recently made a fried ice cream dessert so I wanted to make something churro related for this occasion.  I found the churro mix idea on Pinterest.  I decided to mix it into my favorite ice cream recipe.  I changed my vanilla ice cream recipe to make it work a little nicer with the churro mix.  Jax likes to stir toppings into his ice cream so I put out a couple of toppings I had on hand.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Curried Chicken Stew


   This is one of my new favorite comfort food dishes.  It may not be what you think of when you think comfort food, but I think it is like a nice warm hug.  I hadn't been feeling the best the past few days.  So, this was was a nice way to make an easy and healthy dish that really hit the spot.  It isn't the prettiest dish, but you are going to love the flavor!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Maw-Maw's Hamburger Surprise

   When I was growing up, we called Monday evenings "kids night."  My siblings and I got to pick the dinner.  When the weather was nice we also played yard games as a family.  Hamburger Surprises were the most requested dinner for those fun kids nights.  They definitely were a family favorite.  I enjoy making them for my "kids" and grandson too.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Grilled Fruit and Doughnut Shortcakes


   Just look at that!  I was the dessert committee for family dinner this week.  I knew K.C. was excited to make a bacon explosion, so I thought I would do something on the grill too.  This was yummy and really quick.  I made the brown sugar cinnamon cream cheese frosting the day ahead and loaded the piping bag.  Then all I had to do was slice some fruit and pick up some doughnuts.  A few minutes at the grill, and dessert was served!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Heavenly Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

    As far as I know, this recipe is an original.  And totally AMAZING, if I do say so myself.  It takes my love for boiled frosting one step further.  I made it for a grilled dessert you are going to go nuts for.  Don't worry, you'll hear more about that tomorrow.  For right now, lets focus on the frosting.  You know you want to!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Bacon Explosion - Cooking With KC

   My brother K.C. decided to host family dinner this week.  And boy did he do a good job!!  You may remember the last family dinner he hosted.  We filled ourselves on a crab feast of epic proportions!  He really spoiled us that go around.  This time he knew he had a winner on his hands too.  He made a bacon explosion, which gets rave reviews every time he makes it for us.  We have had it a few ways, but this is his favorite way to make it and we all agree!  This gets to the heart of the matter, bacon on pork on bacon.  How could it not be fabulous?!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Ideas!

   Doesn't just thinking about Cinco de Mayo make you hungry?  I love Mexican (or perhaps Tex-Mex) food.  Nachos, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, cilantro rice, sopapillas, fried ice cream, beans, queaso, chimichangas.  I don't care how you package it, I am willing to help you eat it!  Here are a few ideas to get you fiesta off to a tasty start:


By now, I think we all know I have quite the sweet tooth.  So, I figured I would start with dessert.  These fried ice cream bars will knock your socks off, and no need to break out the deep fryer!



These carnitas are so tender and flavorful. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!


My cousin Laura's taquitos have been a hit in our family.  Cori makes them frequently, we loved them, my mom made them and then my grandma did too!

My sister, Chloe, makes some really good guacamole.


These black bean, corn and chicken enchiladas were a hit as well.

My cousin Sarah was the inspiration behind this slow cooker salsa chicken.





Slow Cooker Honey Sriracha Chicken for Tacos

    These tacos are crazy good!  I have been seeing some recipes for honey sriracha chicken lately and they all looked lovely.  The spicy sweet sauce soaking into a bed of rice seemed like something we could really go for.  But, we have been having a lot of rice lately.  So, I decided to do something a bit different.  Instead of making the chicken on the stove, I went for the slow cooker and instead of rice I went with tortillas.  Best. Plan. Ever!