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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Easy Family Meal Plan Week 17

   It's time for another one of our weekly menus.  There is definitely something for everyone here.  We have some Mexican inspired recipes to get you in the mood for Cinco de Mayo.  In case none of these are quite what you have in mind, some friends and I will be sharing more Mexican recipes over the course of this coming week.  So watch out for that and get your appetite ready.  We also have some pasta and an Asian style recipe to keep things interesting.  Speaking of Asian style recipes, I have a giveaway going on for some noodles.  If you haven't checked that out yet, hop on over and do that too!  Of course we will finish with a dessert and before we know it we'll be checking out next week's menu.  So without further ado, the menu:

Friday, April 28, 2017

Noodles, Noodles and More Delicious Noodles and a #Giveaway

     You guys are never going to guess what I found.  Ok, so technically I didn't find it so much as it showed up at my doorstep.  To be fair though, I did find it on the front porch.  On second thought, I am totally taking credit for finding it!  Think about making your favorite restaurant style noodles at home in just a matter of minutes and that is just the start of it!  Sit down and let me tell you more.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tart Cherry Pie

     This story probably actually starts a few years ago.  My aunt has a cherry tree that is very prolific.  So my grandma, my aunt and I spent an entire afternoon pitting cherries.  We enjoyed each other's company and really had a great time despite the work. In the end we each had bright red fingers and enough cherries for a pie.  There is something about fresh cherries that you worked so hard for that makes the pie taste all that much better.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Quick and Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

     Have you ever had one of those nights where you just need a little something sweet but there's nothing in the house? I have those all the time.  My sweet tooth is always calling for a little something more.  And while you might not believe this from reading my blog, I do actually have a little bit of self control at the store.  So I try not to buy too many easy sweet treats to have on hand.  If all it takes is grabbing something, it would be far too easy.  I like to make it a bit of a challenge.  The problem is... I know my way to the kitchen.  And gosh dang it if I don't know how to whip something up when it's needed.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Easy Famil Meal Plan Week 16

    Here we are with another week's menu.  The next month or two are going to be super busy around here.  I know this time of year gets busy for a lot of people, so I don't feel alone.  But work is going to be extra busy, plus we have a lot of parties to plan and execute at home.  Hopefully I survive with my mind and body intact! ;-)  My brain is turning mushy just thinking about it, so we'll skip to the menu!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Dirt Pudding for Earth Day or Any Day

     Tomorrow is Earth Day! Hooray!  I have worked in the environmental industry in one way or another for almost a dozen years. (Uff! How did that happen?!)  So I feel like I have a little bit to say on the matter.  But I tend to shy away from political matters here on the blog.  To be honest, I am not sure how taking care of the one earth that we have is political.  But then I suppose everything is anymore.  So I will tread lightly and stick to the basics.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Individual Turkish Yogurt Cakes

    It's the twentieth of the month again and you know what that means... cake!  As always, there were some really delicious looking choices.  The photography in this book is beautiful.  But with Easter and all of the normal activities, I just felt like I needed to do something a bit more simple.  This Turkish Yogurt Cake really fit the bill.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball Carrots

     A couple of years ago I made a Havarti Cheese Ball in the shape of a carrot for our Easter Eggstravaganza.  It won't over so well.  That recipe is a winner anyway.  I was hooked on it the first time our friend Ro made it for us and of course I had to get the recipe.  I have made it a few times since and it is always so good.  Of course it is even more fun when it is shaped like a carrot!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Deviled Ham and Egg Salad #EasterLeftovers

    Whew! We survived the weekend.  I don't know about you, but ours was packed to the gills with fun and food.  I am still feeling fun, tired and the fridge is fuller than full.  Somehow the leftovers seem to take more room than the groceries they were made from!  So it is time to get to work on eating them up.  While just heating up a plate of leftovers is always a great option, one of my favorite things to do is rework them into something new.  I couldn't decide what to make first, a ham salad or egg salad.  So I decided to make both!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easy Family Meal Plan Week 15

    Happy Easter everyone!  I hope you don't mind I am a day late.  Yesterday was our Eggstravaganza and it was a blast, but my hands were a bit full getting ready for it.  At the last minute I decided to make rolls rather than buy them.  So I made two batches of Di's Potato Rolls and a giant batch of Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.  They didn't turn out nearly as pretty as I would have liked, but a good number of them disappeared so I'll call it a win.  Each year there are a few more kids to participate in our egg hunt. This year we had three one year olds join the mix and next year we'll have another plus another baby! It is sooo much fun.  Then we had little man's best friend's birthday party in the evening.  It was a good excuse to leave the house as it was for a minute and not get too wrapped up in cleaning.  The kids had so much fun and her bunny themed party was cute as can be! Now we are all pooped and I don't foresee moving more than we have to today!  Good thing the week's menu is planned out, so now we can eat up some leftovers and veg for a bit!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter Egg Blondies #EasterRecipes

     Each year I fall a little bit more in love with Easter food.  The pretty pastels, the fun bunny shapes and all of the eggs.  When I was a kid, MiMi always loved the Mini Cadbury Eggs.  I always thought they were ok, but they weren't my favorites.  As time goes on I look forward to them more and more each year.  There is just something about them that is so tasty and the fact that they aren't available year round probably doesn't hurt anything either.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Linda's Famous Carrot Cake #EasterRecipes

      I was thinking about how to tell you about my relationship to Linda.  I thought I would tell you that my aunt Donna has been dating Linda's brother, Russell, for probably at least 12 years.  Then I realized, I have been out of high school for almost (GULP!) 17 years.... and I have known Russell since middle school (there was a whole pass me the sugar incident that still gives me nightmares... am I right Sarah?!) So, lets reverse the numbers and say that they have probably been together for closer to 23 years!  That is a long time!Yikes!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How to Make Simple Individual Easter Breads #EasterRecipes

    I have always been enamored with Easter bread.  There is just something about a braid of bread with a healthy dose of sprinkles and colorful eggs nestled in it.  On one hand it seems a little strange and really intriguing to have a whole egg baked right into bread.  On the other hand, we love eggs and bread.  So why not? Plus sprinkles just make everything so much more festive and fun!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sharadan's Lemon Blueberry Parfait #EasterRecipes

   I am going to give credit for this recipe to Sharadan, because she is the one that brought it into my life.  To be completely fair though, I actually got the recipe from her mother-in-law.  Sharadan had mentioned it was one of her favorites and I was planning a couple's shower for her and Sam.  We were so excited for the arrival of baby Kenley and I couldn't wait to spoil them with a circus shower.  So, I contacted Liz and got the recipe from her. For that party, I made it in individual parfait cups and topped it with animal crackers.  They were so cute and really good!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Easy Family Meal Plan Week 14

     A great new menu for a new week!  It is so hard to believe that Easter is just around the corner.  I need to really get my act together and take my plans from paper to reality!  I have the menu more or less figured out, but I need to finalize the grocery list.  I am really excited, but starting to feel the weight of crunch time! At least this week's dinners are figured out.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Slow Cooker Corn Casserole From Scratch

      Corn casserole has long been a favorite side dish in our family.  My in-laws love it too, so it shows up at a lot of celebratory dinners, holidays and even BBQs.  It is one of those simple sides that everyone is happy to eat.  But sometimes you don't want to turn on the oven... or the oven is already full.  So I thought this would be a perfect slow cooker side.  And you know what? I was right!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Homemade Corn Muffins (so easy and from scratch!)

     Be warned, I am on a bit of a cornmeal kick.  I don't know what has gotten into me, but everything has to have cornmeal in or on it.  I had been buying small packages of cornmeal, but we have also been on a bit of a homemade pizza bender and I like to sprinkle some cornmeal on the pan.  So I decided it was time to just but the big bag of cornmeal.  Now that I have five pounds of cornmeal in the pantry, it seems to be calling to me.  First, instead of just sprinkling the pan it was begging to be used in a crust.  So I tinkered with a cornmeal pizza crust on a taco pizza.  It was good, but could be better (and I did a terrible job of writing down exactly what I put in it!) so it is not a blog recipe... yet!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tish's Tasty Turkey Grilled Cheese Sliders #GrilledCheese

     Sometimes a grilled cheese sandwich is more than a grilled cheese sandwich.  To be honest I enjoy even the simplest grilled cheese.  You know the kind, the old childhood favorite of a slice of american cheese sandwiched between two slices of white sandwich bread toasted with a bit of butter.  Of course you could serve it up with some tomato soup and really go for the gusto.  I mean, you might as well for old time sake and I wouldn't blame you one bit.  There is something about the buttery toasty simplicity of all that makes me hungry just thinking about it.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Easy Family Meal Plan Week 13

    So here's a funny story.  I was going through some meal plan posts to add a little behind the scenes blog mumbo jumbo when I realized I had two week 10 meal plans! I used the same number two weeks in a row.  I was really tempted to change one to week 9.5 or something, but that would mean having to redo images and they are already shared all over social media the way they were. So it is what it is and now there are two week tens for all of time!  I suppose it doesn't really matter what the week number is anyway, as long as everyone gets fed!  This week's menu includes a lot of my favorite things, so I am ready to get cooking!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

11 Awesome Cakes for Your Spring and Easter Celebrations

    I would say my love of cake is thinly veiled at best.  By now I am sure most of you know that I don't need much of an excuse to bake one.  In fact, I recently threw myself a "graduation party" at work because I passed an 8 hour online class.  Of course it involved a cake!  I mean, my coworkers didn't complain.  But it does seem I've set a precedent as one of my coworkers received a new certification today and now everyone wants to know when the party is.  I'll be sure to show him this list so he has some ideas!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

MiMi's Easy Mushroom Flatbread

     I was on the road all day again today, so I didn't have time to make a full dinner.  Which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  We have a fridge full of leftovers that need to be eaten up.  As I was digging through the fridge trying to figure out what to heat up for who, I stumbled upon a tube of crescents.  I never keep stuff like that in the house, but I bought a couple of cans for some family favorite recipes in the stack.  I also had a pint of mushrooms that had been on the counter for a few days.  They still looked pretty good, but their lifespan had to be getting short.  So, the stars were aligned.  I had to make this recipe.  I mean, what choice did I have?!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Easy Banana Bundt Cake

    To be fair, I haven't shared a cake in over a week.  So, I'm due wouldn't you say? This easy banana bundt cake came out of the need to use some of those darn overripe bananas that seem to show up on my counter every so often.  Luckily I am not one to back down from an excuse to bake a cake.  Plus it gave me an excuse to break out a fun cake pan I hadn't used yet.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Easy Family Meal Plan Week 11

      It's that time of the week again!  It's time to find out what is on the menu for the week.  Why is it that as the days are getting longer, they also get busier and feel shorter?  The extra hour of light makes us want to be outside more, especially little man!  So it is great to have these menus ready to go, at least the thinking is taken out of it!  Plus these really help keep things fresh.  It is so easy get in a rut and our goal is to help you keep it fresh and easy!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Easy Honey Mustard Pork Chops

      Sometimes you just need a quick and easy meal.  You know how it is, after a long day when you stumble in the door and see those hungry faces staring at you wondering what is for dinner.  Dinner? Crap, dinner! These pork chops are perfect for one of those nights.  They come together quickly, are nice and tender and full of flavor.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Chewy Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies - No Flour Needed!

    These are my go-to drop cookies.  They are always go over really well.  It is a big batch, so be prepared to share.  This started out as a monster cookie recipe, but has morphed over time to have more peanut butter and less add-ins.  Now it is a simple chewy cookie that is so good.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Easy No-Bake Spring Nests - A First Day of Spring Tradition

    We have been making these nests for as long as I can remember.  The first day of spring meant bringing enough of these to share with our whole class in school.  MiMi (my mom) found the recipe in the paper many moons ago.  She still has the original clipping. It is just a tad bit yellowed with age.  I'd like to say this is much older than me, but my guess is that would be a lie!

Greek Coconut Cake

     It's cake time, it's cake time, everyone it's cake time!  I don't think I have ever baked (or eaten) as many cakes in my life as I have these past few months.  You'd think we never eat anything else, but somehow we manage to get in our three square meals a day despite all of the cake!  Of course the twentieth of the month always calls for cake.  This month's choices for the Cake Slice Bakers all looked like winners.  There was the Ten Layer Coffee Chocolate cake, which totally has my name written all over it actually.  I was really tempted, but with so much going on I wasn't sure I could devote the time to it and I thought maybe it would be good to show a little restraint.  The Banana Loaf actually looked really good too, but I already have quite a few banana baked goods posted and I like to try something new and exciting. The Mandarin, Polenta and Macadamia Cake sounded really interesting as well.  In fact, I'd love to give that a try one of these days too.  But the 4th and final choice ended up being a shoe in when all of the chips fell.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Simple Pasta with Peas, Ham and Cream for #SundaySupper

   Spring is finally here!  Well, in two days it will be anyway.  I don't know about you, but I am ready.  I've had enough of the back and forth between nice weather and cold.  Our daffodils came out and bloomed and it snowed two days later.  Our blackberry bushes are getting leaves and our strawberry patch was greening up too.  Hopefully the subsequent freeze didn't set anything back too far.  That weather man of ours likes to keep us on our toes!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Easy Family Meal Plan Week 10

    I know, I know... it's Saturday and I normally post meal plans on Monday.  But I have to give you cake on Monday.  I know, it's terrible to have to have cake, but it is Cake Slice day.  So there is no choice, I must give you cake.  Tomorrow I am cooking with the Sunday Supper tastemakers and we are sharing easy spring recipes.  So that leaves today!  I am half tempted to move the meal plans to Saturday anyway, leaving you a bit more time to actually plan and shop if you want to cook along.  What do you think?  Either way, this week's lineup looks delicious!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Spring Pea Salad

    I wanted to bring a light and fresh side dish to K.C.'s crab feast.  I kept changing my mind about what I was going to make.  I needed something I could make in advance.  Something I could make before work and not require much before we headed across the street to K.C.'s house.  We are so lucky to have my brothers live so close!  So, I decided to make a pea salad.  Jamie from Love Bakes Good Cakes posted a recipe on Facebook recently that got the idea in my head.  Hers looked great, but I wanted something a bit lighter, so this is what I came up with.  It was pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Savory Spinach and Cheese Pie

      Happy Pi Day!!  This is one of those holidays that I didn't even know was a thing until high school.  You'd think we would have celebrated it in math class, but no.  My first Pi Day was celebrated in typing class of all things!  I think I must have had a hungry teacher.  Either way, we all brought in pies and feasted in honor of 3/14, the day of pi!  I am not one to let a chance to celebrate go unnoticed, especially when it involves pie.  So, I was really excited to see that Coleen from The Red Headed Baker was hosting a Pi{e} Day event.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Easy Family Meal Plan Week 10

Is it just me or do Mondays just keep coming faster and faster?  As the weather warms up it seems like time speeds up a bit too.  I get home from work and want to spend some time out playing with little dude before I have to get dinner going.  So knowing what we are having and having as much prepped as possible makes it that much easier to get it all done.  Of course that starts with getting a menu planned.  It just so happens that we have done that work for you!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Carlee's Cabbage

    To start this story, we will need to go to the way back machine.  This may explain a lot ;-).  It was the early 80s and I was right around 2 years old.  We were living in the Chicago burbs while my dad went to dental school.  We were getting ready to come to central Illinois for a weekend visit with grandma and grandpa.  So, I was on the phone with grandma getting the details in order.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Irish Tea Brack #StPatricksDay

   Top 'o the morning to you!  Now that it is March, it seems like a few Irish recipes are in order.  I think everyone has a favorite way of doing corned beef and cabbage, so I didn't want to go right there.  I always love trying something a little bit different and fun. So, this brack seemed like a wonderful option.  If you haven't heard of tea brack before, you are not alone.  You should certainly get familiar though!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Not Your Mama's Chocolate Pie

    To tell you the truth, I am not really the pie maker in the family.  MiMi plays that role on my side.  My brother-in-law Anthony and my mother-in-law/Nana fill the role on my husband's side.  I just can't seem to make a pretty crimp on the pie crust.  No matter what I do, it looks like uneven and unpretty.  I love all of the beautiful pies I see online, but I just don't have the patience to make that beauty at home.  Or maybe I just lack the skill.  Either way, I make pie crust like a grade school child.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Easy Family Meal Plan Week 9

    Are you ready for another week?  It seems like I just posted the last menu yesterday, but I suppose time does fly when you are having fun!  Of course I am excited about this week's menu.  There is sure to be a little something for everyone here!

Friday, March 3, 2017

ABC (Asparagus, Barley and Chickpea) Salad

   Back in the fall I bought a GIANT bag of pearled barley.  I had big plans for using it in all sorts of soups and stews and other lovely wintery comfort food.  I did make a few lovely soups, including this delicious Creamy Mushroom and Barley Soup.  Mmmm! But it turns out when you only use barley a cup at a time, it takes a while to get through a big old bag.  So I needed to mix it up and make something a bit more spring and summer friendly.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Shiny Fudge Frosting

    I knew for Jax's birthday I wanted to make a rich and dark chocolate cake.  I wanted that cake to be enveloped in a rich and fudgy frosting.  This combination of devilishly good chocolate cake and fudge frosting was the perfect thing!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Devilishly Good Chocolate Cake

    For Jax's second birthday, I wanted to make him delicious cakes.  Something that went a little beyond the cake mix and tub of frosting.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, I readily eat it when placed in front of me!  But I just knew this old fashioned chocolate cake would be a great option.  No fancy frills.  It is just a classic cake with dark chocolate flavor covered in a fudgy frosting.  What's not to love about that?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Easy Family Meal Plan Week 8

    The weather is looking a bit more seasonal, which is both good and bad.  Good because it is February after all and mosquito bites should not be a thing in IL this time of year.  Bad because our daffodils popped through the ground and our blackberry bushes are getting little green leaves.  I don't want either being ruined by a freeze at this point.  Unfortunately there isn't much we can do about the weather.  Fortunately we can at least have delicious food.  This week's menu looks like just the thing to see us through!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Bananas Foster Baked Oatmeal #SundaySupper

    Can you believe it is almost Fat Tuesday? Time to party! What are you doing to celebrate?  I am a little too old and tired for some of the more traditional Mardi Gras celebrations.  But that doesn't mean I don't like to live it up a little bit extra in the name of a good time.  Everyone has their own traditions, that is part of what makes it fun.  That is why I can't wait to see all of the delicious dishes the Sunday Supper Tastemakers are putting on the menu today.  We are sharing easy Mardi Gras recipes and there will be everything from cajun food, traditional king cakes, sweets of all kinds and they everything sounds great.  So a great big thank you to Marion from Life Tastes Good and be sure to check out some of the posts linked below!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Victorian Sponge Cake

      It's Cake Slice time again!  Actually, I'm a day late.  I wanted to join in on a little Presidents Day celebrations, so I made a..... wait for it.... cake!  And I didn't want to bombard you with two cakes in one day.  Because, well, I have manners.  And self control.  And moderation and all that good stuff.  I must have been in a berry cake kind of mood too, because yesterday I shared a Blueberry Bundt Cake and today my cake has strawberries.  I guess it is that time of year where berries are on my brain!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Presidential Blueberry Bundt Cake #PresidentsDayRecipe

      Wooohooo! It's Presidents Day! In the past, it has not been much of a cause for celebrations.  But I will let you in on a little secret.  I am a municipal employee now which means I get these kinds of days off!  I actually enjoy my job more days than I don't, but a day off is still a cause for celebration! (I mean, always, right?!) So when Sue from Palatable Pastimes suggested doing a fun collection of presidential recipes, I couldn't resist.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Easy Family Meal Plan Week 7

    I hope your forecast is as nice as ours has been.  We have been seeing sixties... in February!  That is nearly unheard of, especially for this many days!  Of course it does kind of make you wonder if it is really a good thing in the long run, especially since we have already seen mosquitoes (still in February?!) Hopefully it is just an anomaly and not a sign of greater changes. Either way, we have been getting out an enjoying it.  After all, it seems like there has to be another shoe that is going to fall and now we'll have a blizzard next week or something.  Let's all cross our fingers and toes and hope that doesn't happen.  Meanwhile I will be strapping on some tennis shoes and heading out to play with my little man.  Thank goodness we have the menu planned for the week and my shopping is done.  Now all I have to do is share the menu with you.  I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Pecan Pie Baked Oatmeal

     By now you know how much we love oatmeal.  We love it in cookies, muffins, bread, cake and granola.  I have a whole board on Pinterest devoted to it and it even has it's own category here on the blog.  But one of our absolute favorite ways to have it is as baked oatmeal.  It is amazing how many different ways there are to make it.  We've enjoyed baked oatmeal with all different kinds of fruit, pumpkin and even chocolate.  Mmmmm, chocolate oatmeal!  If you haven't tried that one yet, you really should!  But I thought it would be fun to come up with something a tiny bit different this time.  So, I present to you: Pecan Pie Baked Oatmeal.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Marlene's Sour Cream Cookies - Rolled Version

   My Aunt Marlene would never claim to be a cook.  In fact, she often claims just the opposite.  However, I have never once been to her house and had there be a lack of yummy treats.  So really she just sells herself short!  I remember her making these for us when we were kids.  We had never had sour cream cookies before and we loved them! She usually made them as drop cookies. She would cover them in a yummy icing (cream cheese if I remember correctly) and they were yummy balls of deliciousness!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Easy Family Meal Plan Week 6

     It's the age old question, "what's for dinner?"  Luckily I have the answer for you.  Just look at this amazing lineup of delicious dinners and a sweet Valentine's Day dessert to boot!  So grab your forks and get ready to dig in!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

French Onion Palmiers #SundaySupper

    There is just something about a good french onion soup.  The deep, slightly sweet flavor of slowly caramelized onions, a bit of crunch from the crusty bread and the gooey melted cheese topping just come together in a perfect bite.  The problem is it is hard to eat it gracefully and even harder to eat it on the move while mingling at a party.  So, why not take those flavors and turn it into a palmier?  That's right!  Just imagine it, slightly herbed caramelized onions, melty Gruyere all wrapped in a crispy buttery puff pastry crust!

Friday, February 10, 2017

MiMi's Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Soup

     I know, I know.  This probably seems a bit out of character.  I mean it's not a big chocolate cake or anything.  But as unbelievable as it may be, we do eat real food every day around here.  Shockingly that includes vegetables, fruits and healthy soups.  Because it's good for us and I do have jeans to fit into.  I mean, priorities, right?!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Creamy Mushroom and Barley Soup

     Is everyone else as done with winter as I am?  I mean, I am really just over it.  I am not a cold weather girl to start with.  I don't really like bundling up and I really don't like how a cold wind can just cut through you.  Don't get me wrong, sweating really isn't my jam either.  But cold hurts and weather shouldn't hurt!