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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sarah's Tangy Pulled Chicken

   This is the last of Sarah's slow cooker meals from the make ahead slow cooker week!  It is a tangy chicken that uses cranberry sauce and BBQ sauce.  It is a really easy recipe.  Just throw everything in the slow cooker and let it go.  Shred with forks, put on buns and enjoy!


    I made some quick homemade rolls to serve it on and some sweet potato fries and dinner was served.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Frito Salad - Made by MiMi

   MiMi says she remembers a time where you couldn't go to a BBQ or potluck without there being a Frito salad there.  I don't remember these times, so it must have been a LONG time ago. ;-)  Just kidding MiMi, you are young and vibrant!

   Anyway, we were having some really special burgers for family dinner this week.  Don't worry, you'll get the recipe.  You'll just have to wait a little longer for it!  Anyway, she thought this would be the perfect accompaniment for it.  I wouldn't exactly say it is the healthiest salad.  I mean really, the name is Frito salad people!  But, it was a really tasty side to our burgers.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken for Burrito Bowls


    This week has been really busy.  I knew I had a lot of travel on the calendar, so I wanted to have a few things that were quick to throw together.  Then my cousin, Sarah, posted her make ahead slow cooker meals for the week on Facebook and I figured I would take the opportunity to follow along. This may be a new favorite.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Jax's Breakfast Quesadilla

   It is nice to have a fall back when Jax doesn't like what we are having for dinner.  Sometimes what we are having is too spicy, sometimes he is just in a mood.  Either way, trying to make an almost two year old eat something he has decided he doesn't sound like fun!  So I try to come up with well rounded things for him to eat instead.  These scrambled egg quesadillas are always a hit.  You could add bacon or veggies if you'd like.  Jax prefers his with just eggs and cheese.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cavanaugh's Noodles - A Guest Post By MiMi

    Once upon a time, long long ago when I was a little girl, we had neighbors by the last name of Cavanaugh.  Mrs. Cavanaugh shared her noodle recipe with my mom, Maw Maw. If I remember correctly, she entered and won a contest sponsored by Kluski noodles.  The following is her recipe the way we remember it.  Maw Maw doesn't know what she would have done with the original recipe.  It's possible that I finally convinced her to look for her recipe box.  I hope she finds it because she has some really good recipes in there.  For the most part, she just memorized all of the mealas she made and rarely used a recipe.

     She thinks I was probably between three and five years old when we got this recipe.  I remember when she let me shake the beef cubes in the bag of flour.  I'm sure I had a lot of fun helping my mom make dinner.  I know that I really enjoyed eating this meal.  Maw Maw suggests serving it with broccoli.  Whenever she has a tomato based meal, she likes to have a green vegetable as a side dish.  If you give this recipe a try you will understand why it won a recipe contest and why we still prepare it this many years later.
-MiMi


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Slow Cooker Backstrap and Broccoli

    I make this every so often and we all loved it.  So I knew I needed to make it again for you all!  It is so easy and really tasty.  It makes your venison backstraps so tender and yummy and gives you all of the flavor of take-out Chinese food.  You could use beef, of course, but I think it is a really great way to use deer.

    I like to cut my meat in really thin slices for this recipe. I find that the easiest way to do it is to slice it while it is still mostly frozen.  Just use a really sharp knife and shave away.  If you prefer chunks, feel free to go that way as well.  The thin slices just ensure a really tender end product.

   This is a perfect dinner for a weeknight.  Just throw the meat and sauce in the crockpot.  I cooked mine for around  6 hours, but if you need to cook it a little longer it will be fine.  The meat may start to shred a bit after a while, but it will still taste wonderful!  All you have to do at the end of the day is throw in the broccoli and some cornstarch and turn it up for a half hour while you make your rice.  Then dinner is served and you look like a rock star!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Super Giant Whole Wheat Skillet Cinnamon Roll

   I have been seeing some really cute ways to do cinnamon rolls in skillets.  Some look like roses.  Some are folded over on themselves and placed in the skillet so no cinnamon shows, it's like a surprise inside.  I had to get in on the action.  I mean any excuse to make cinnamon rolls is a good one, right?!
    So I decided to make one big massive 12" skillet of cinnamon roll goodness!  I have been dying to make it for a couple of weeks now, but life has been so busy.  I was really excited that I finally got to it and it was worth the wait.  It was every bit as good as I thought it might be...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

TBT - Cracker Jax's First Birthday Party

    Somebody little has a birthday coming up.  The big 2!  I have started getting things together for his party.  Ok, fine.  I ordered his invitations back in January or February.  Whatever!  I'm excited, I can't help it!  His second birthday will be a nice little party with just his immediate family.  He is going through a really shy phase right now and he shouldn't have to be miserable at his own birthday party just so I can throw a blowout.

    Anyway, all of this thinking about his second birthday has me reminiscing on his first.  It was a week-long event!  I don't know about him, but I enjoyed every minute of it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Waffled Cupcake Sundaes

    MiMi made some homemade banana ice cream for family dinner this week.  She had a busy day helping Kristie move, so she didn't get anything sweet made past that.  Which was perfect for me!  I had an idea... and it would be just the right thing.  I had made some chocolate banana cupcakes and I had big plans for them.

    Everything goes in a waffle maker these days.  I got an email the other day reviewing all sorts of different things in the waffle maker.  The bready items all got high marks... the hot dog seemed questionable!  So, I thought we could waffle my cupcakes.  It would make them warm, increase the chewy outside portions AND give the banana ice cream little waffley crevices to pool in.  What is not to love?!
   Do you see how the melty ice cream has a perfect little nook to stay in?!  Isn't it perfect?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chris's Baked General Tso's Chicken

    Matt's cousin Chris is super creative.  You should see all of the cool things she makes.  She is the creator and producer of all the cool stuff at Madi Grace Studio. On top of that she is raising two super cute girls and taking them to all of their activities all while volunteering in her small community.  I am not sure how she fits it all into a day!

    She sent me a few recipes and I was really excited to try them.  This General Tso's chicken is healthier than the take-out version.  The chicken is baked instead of fried, but it still has a nice crisp crust.  Matt and I really enjoyed it.  Matt already said it is on his request list, and he usually isn't all that into Chinese type food.  He'll eat it, but wouldn't request it.  So I'd say that is a win!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Whole Wheat Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

    I have really been on a baking with bananas kick lately.  I think it is mostly because I am still buying a big bunch every time I am at the store, but we haven't been around as much lately to eat them.  To switch it up a bit, I thought I would add chocolate this time.  However, I did want to keep it on the healthier side of cupcakes.  We have been having a lot of treats lately, so I didn't want to take these too far over the top.  The end result was a moist and chocolaty cupcake that still had a nice banana flavor.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sarah's Slow Cooker Beef and Mushrooms

   This is my cousin Sarah's recipe.  I'm excited to finally have one.  Though she didn't technically share this one with me.  She posted a picture of her make ahead slow cooker meals for the week on Facebook.  Then, when asked, she posted the recipe.  So, being an opportunist, I took them!!  Ha! Maybe she will share some more with me now, so I don't have to hijack them from her.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Creamy Black Bean and Corn Chicken Enchiladas

     We have been in a fiesta kind of mood lately!  I made some beef enchiladas a few weeks back.  They were on the right track, but were a little bland for our taste.  So, this time I decided to pump things up a bit.

    Before you see a picture and say "hey, enchiladas are supposed to have corn tortillas!"  I just want to head you off by saying we prefer flour tortillas.  We just aren't the biggest fan of most corn tortillas, so we make them the way we like them.  You can do it your way!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Salmon & Potato Patties - Inspired by Grandma Rees

   I set out to make salmon patties a la Grandma.  You may remember grandma from the S.O.S. post.  She didn't have the can of salmon for the patties she decided she was going to make, and called to let me know she made S.O.S. instead.  It was a whole thing.  You'll have to read it if you haven't.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tater Tot Egg Casserole - Made by MiMi

    We love breakfast in our family.   Make that, we love breakfast food in our family.  Matt doesn't wake up hungry, he needs time to build an appetite.  Jax wakes up so hungry that he can't wait for breakfast to be made.  He needs a banana or toast as soon as possible.  So, we if we want to enjoy our breakfast food together we eat it for dinner!

TBT - Adult Prom

  I thought it might be fun to do a quick throw back to another party from the past!  The girls and I had been lobbying for a dressed up New Years Eve party.  We never quite got the guys on board.  So, we hijacked Halloween instead!  That'll teach them to be obstinate!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Edible Chocolate Peanut Butter Playdough

   Jax is a big helper.  He loves to be involved in everything we are doing.  So, today I thought it would be fun if we "cooked" something.  So we drug his table into the kitchen and went to work.

    Jax likes to help pour ingredients into a bowl.  Stirring is fun too, though keeping everything in the bowl is a challenge.  But he is a guy after my own heart, because tasting is his favorite part!  He really enjoyed our playdough adventures. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Maw-Maw's Scalloped Potatoes and Pork Chops - A Guest Post by MiMi

     Carlee and I have been after Maw-Maw to share some of her recipes with us.  We couldn't understand why we were receiving any.  It turns out that she didn't use recipes for the things she cooked.  She usually just cooked.  We understand because even if we have a recipe, we tend to make up our own version.  I called Maw-Maw and she coached me through this recipe.  This is one I remember eating quite often when I was a child.  I believe Bob, Bonnie and I liked it a lot.


    I started helping my mom cook meals when I was fairly young.  She worked long hours some days, but still wanted us to have a nice home cooked dinner.  I have probably made this recipe hundreds of times, but it really took some thinking to make a recipe for it.  I guess that's the way it is when you're used to just throwing things together.  This turned out just the way I remembered it to be.

    These are the only scalloped potatoes that I have ever seen that are made without cooking the white sauce first.  The sauce just magically thickens as it bakes.  You can make them without the pork chops on top.  The pork chops make this dinner extra flavorful.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dilly Ranch Snack Mix - Made by MiMi


   Be warned!  This stuff is addictive.  It is one of those things where you sit down with a bowl of it so you can write a well informed post, and the next thing you know the bowl is gone.  "This darn bowl must have a hole in it" you say to yourself as you get a little more.  The next thing you know, your fingers and salty and covered in dill and your belly is full.  Not that happened to me.  I only had a few dainty little pieces.  I swear.

Warm and Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip for a Crowd

    Who doesn't love a creamy, gooey, cheesy, warm dip?  This one just begs for you to grab a pita chip and dive right in!  I made it for our Easter open house and it was a hit.  Our friend Sam said it was one of his top two dishes of the day.  My sister Kristie was more than happy to take a container of leftovers.  It was really good and super addictive!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ham Crostini

   As I was planning our Easter open house menu, it seemed like we had to have some ham somewhere!  I wanted to keep everything bite sized though, I wasn't in the mood for knife and fork food.  I wanted everything to be easy to eat inside or out, at a table or wandering around.

Vicki's Cucumber Bread

   This cracks me up every time I think about it!  It was started 9? years ago.  That seems crazy that is has been that long!  I was living in Springfield at the time and I wasn't planning to come home for Easter that year.  So, I spent the weekend with my friend Tisha and her cute little baby Mason (who is now almost as tall as me!)  

   We went out the night before Easter and there was this whole thing.  I won't go into the details, but it still makes me laugh.  I'll just leave it at we didn't get much sleep and we weren't looking or feeling our finest on Easter morning.  It was the perfect way to meet a family full of strangers!

   We were meeting our "Springfield mom" and her in-laws to spend the day.  We got there and she had a tray of this cucumber bread.  Tish and I about polished it off!  We have made it regularly since.  Whenever Tish came to one of my BBQs, this is what she brought.  It brings back a lot of good (and some really funny) memories!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The BEST Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

    Have I told you lately how much I love a good frosting?  I love a good frosting!  Lately I have really been loving cooked frostings.  I have a whipped cream frosting that I hope to get to soon that is to die for!  It has a butter base.  This one is very similar, but with cream cheese.  It is a soft and luscious frosting that isn't too sweet.  It's just right!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Deviled Egg Dip

    Are you having trouble deciding what to do with all the hard boiled eggs left over from the weekend?

    Do you like deviled eggs, but have a hard time peeling them and making them look pretty?

    If you answered yes to either of those questions, this dip is for you.  We had it for our Easter Open House and it was really well received.  Even with all of the options available it was about 2/3 gone.  Matt was really happy to help finish it off the next day!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Grandma Rees' Peach Punch

   Grandma makes a really fun slushy peach punch.  It just so happens that I have one of her punch bowls, so I thought this would be a perfect drink for our Easter get together.  She freezes the whole thing in a gallon ice cream bucket then serves it while it is still slushy.  Yum!

   Grandma says that a gallon ice cream bucket is perfect for freezing the punch.  But mine didn't all fit!  So, I had to use another little storage container as well.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ro's Havarti Cheese Ball

   I am so excited to finally have this recipe!  The first time I tried this cheese ball, our friend Ro had made it for a New Year's Eve party.  It was the year I was pregnant with Jax and I could not keep my hands out of it.  I might have eaten half the cheese ball on my own!  I wanted to make it for our Easter party, so I thought it would be really cute in a carrot shape.  You certainly don't have to do that.  Just make it into a ball and you are ready to go!



   This cheese ball has such great flavor!  You will not believe how addictive it is.


Our Easter Open House

   This year we thought it would be fun to host an Easter open house on the day before Easter.  It was a fun way to get together with some family and friends and finally put our new buffet to the test.  It turns out it is big... but not quite big enough for one of our parties!  We maxed out the old buffet, the new buffet and the kitchen counters.  If anybody went home less than super full, they didn't try hard enough.  I thought it would be fun to go ahead and post some pictures so you could see the fun.  I will go back and add links as I get all of the recipes posted!  I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Fudge - Made by MiMi

   It's time for another addition of holiday fudge by MiMi!  If you haven't been following along, MiMi has been making a fun new twist on two ingredient fudge for every holiday this year.  She made football fudge for the Super Bowl, pink fudge for Valentine's day, green purple and gold fudge for Mardis Gras and a super yummy layered mint chocolate fudge for St. Pat's.

Honey Pear and Brie Grilled Cheese

    For a sweet tooth like me, this would make a perfect lunch or breakfast really.  Cut them into wedges for a yummy snack or appetizer.  Sprinkle some chopped nuts in to kick it up a notch and guarantee you won't have to share with Matt.  This is a yummy and grown up version of grilled cheese that could be easily changed to match your tastes.


   Brie gets so ooey and gooey as you warm it up.  It just begs to be eaten.  Matched with crusty bread, honey and pear it is so good.  We ate ours with soup for dinner.  I would love one for lunch.  You could convince to make it for breakfast as well!  I was half tempted to do it as stuffed french toast... but decided that might be a bit much for today.  Maybe next time!

Friday, April 3, 2015

My Go To Rolled Sugar Cookies - Easter Edition


    These are the cookies I make more than any other roll out.  This recipe makes a LOT of cookies.  Good cookies!  Everyone who tries them loves them.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

TBT - Our What Will it Bee? Gender Reveal Party

    I guess I am feeling a little nostalgic today.  Either that or getting ready for our party this weekend has me excited about parties in general!  Whatever the reason is, I thought it would be fun to share our gender reveal party with you.  Just over two years ago... our little bun was still in the oven and we wanted a fun way to share our gender news with all of our friends and family at once.  So we had a "What will it bee?" party to let everyone know!

Chicken and Gravy in the Slow Cooker - Guest Post by MiMi


     I really try to very what we eat for our weekly family dinner.  With the weather warming up a bit I thought I would make one last slow cooker full of comfort food before we get the grill out.  Nothing says comfort food like gravy and biscuits.  When I came across this recipe for chicken and gravy.  I also found a recipe for buttery biscuits that I thought would be great underneath.  We did not care for the biscuits as much as we do my regular biscuit recipe. So I made some noodles to go along with it instead. The chicken and gravy is really good.   I'm sure I will be making it again.  Kristie has already requested the recipe, so I know this will be made by her also.  She said it's even better reheated the next day.
-MiMi

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ham, Apple and Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese

   We have been trying a few different grilled cheese recipes in preparation for this post.  I joined a group of food bloggers that picks a theme each month and everyone makes a dish to fit the theme.  This month is grilled cheese.  This seems so simple, but I think that makes it even harder!!  I tend to over think things and this just begged to be over thought.
   I contemplated some exotic ingredients, but it didn't seem right.  I thought about doing some sort of strange compilation, but it just didn't seem right.  I wanted it to obviously be a grilled cheese.  Matt makes himself a grilled cheese almost every time I make a pot of soup.  To him, a grilled cheese is sandwich bread, an american cheese slice and ham.  If it doesn't have ham, it doesn't count... he has so many ruled!
   So, I decided to start with what he loved so much and kick it up a notch.