Having our cake

So besides it being Auburn’s first football game this weekend…

We also celebrated my 35th birthday! Thirty five doesn’t seem right, but so it is! A’s about to be nine, y’all. Nine.

So besides opening presents and general birthday chaos,

B made me an amazing brisket, and I made my own cake with some help from J.

There’s recipe I got from my sister and it’s essentially a combination of this Mix and Match Mama recipe (minus the vanilla bean paste), and this Kevin and Amanda frosting (with butter instead of Crisco). I made it in sheet pan form and followed the lowest time on the funfetti box. It is so good! Especially with ice cream. Perfect for celebrating half-way to forty!

 

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This and that

This week J started soccer (year 3), he is so pumped about this season!

We tested out campfire recipes, some that worked out (apples) and some that didn’t (hot dogs):

Sliced apples with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar, wrapped tightly with foil and roasted for 4-6 minutes:

That we snacked on while star gazing, after a little bit of basketball playing and bike riding:

School is back in session, but we are still relishing in the last of summer.

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Turkey calzones

This dinner is sooo easy, perfect for a hot weeknight when I really didn’t want to make a huge meal. It’ll be ready in twenty minutes or less!

Ingredients

Turkey slices

Cheddar cheese slices

Thin pizza dough from the tube

Egg wash (egg mixed with 1 tsp water)

Marinara sauce

Directions

Preheat oven according to pizza dough directions. Heat marinara sauce in a pot on low on the stove. Roll out dough on a floured cutting board and cut into four equal pieces. Layer turkey slices (I did four) and cheddar cheese slices (two) on each piece, then fold in half. Press edges closed with the back of a fork. Cut a small slit in the top and then brush the egg wash on each calzone. Place on a nonstick pan (or nonstick foil on a pan) and bake for about 12-15 minutes (check periodically to make sure they don’t burn). Serve warm with marinara to dip!

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Pork tenderloin with asparagus & tomatoes

The boys and I have been watching Food Network Star and this dish was made by our favorite on the show, Jason. The boys love his cooking and his southern wit! This dish he made during a live discussion, and I recreated it for the boys this past weekend. Y’all. It’s kiss your Mama good. B insisted it become part if our monthly rotation of dinners.

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Shrimp risotto

Shrimp risotto with lots of lemon. It’s tangy, comforting, and you can get it all together in one skillet. We made ours without the onion or the extra cream, I added a can of diced tomatoes for some extra veggies, and there was not a single leftover!

Perfect for summer days when you’d rather do this:

Then spending a lot of time making multiple sides for dinner. Enjoy!

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Revisiting a classic

When B and I were first married this used to be one of our go to dinners. I don’t know why we haven’t made it in so long! I found a terrific selection of sandwich meats at Costco to put this together, Ciabatta bread from Target bakery, and fresh mozzarella helps make this simple dish sing. The boys deconstructed it quite a bit, but they ate it! Stromboli, open face calzones, and dipping sauce on under thirty minutes for the win!

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Current favorite views

The shine of new herbs, ready to plant:

A jar of drying paintbrushes ready for their next artistic adventure:

The view from our front porch right after it rains:

A circle of friends (who have know each other since they were babies) playing Uno:

J’s hair, unbrushed:

My favorite summer meal, simple and delicious:

A’s freckles, each one absolute perfection:

And a surprise treat from B:

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Chicken spaghetti

This is my take on a Pioneer Woman recipe. I substituted the items the boys don’t like (olives, mushrooms), and cut the recipe in half (or more). It was still more than enough for four!

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts poached for 20-25 minutes in boiling water (save the water)

1/2 lb of spaghetti broken into pieces and cooked until al dente in chicken poached water (after chicken is done)

1 diced pepper

3 tbs flour

6 tbs butter, divided

1 1/2 cup cooking liquid from chicken water

3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, divided

3 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Poach chicken until done, then remove 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid. Chop cooked chicken into bite size pieces. Then add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain. While the spaghetti is cooking, melt 2 tbs butter in a sauté pan and then sauté diced pepper on medium-high until cooked (3-5 minutes). Remove pepper and add the remaining 4 tbs of butter. Turn heat to low, then melt butter, then whisk in flour. Once flour is melted into butter and the 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid and whisk. Then add milk and whisk. Finally add in Parmesan and stir until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss cooked spaghetti, pepper, parsley and chicken in Parmesan sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Then pour into a greased 9×13 dish. Add Parmesan on top and cook until bubbly, about 25 minutes.

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Eggs on a waffle

One of our favorite weeknight (or lazy weekend day) activities is to watch cooking shows. Our current favorites are any baking championship, Chopped, and Iron Chef. The boys are so inspired by the shows that they are more willing to try new foods, and have come up with ideas of their own. Hence, J’s latest concoction; eggs on a waffle.

He declared he wanted to make eggs on a waffle one night during Iron Chef Gauntlet and, of course, remembered this the next morning:

And he helped make it as well! My hope is that when the boys go to college they’ll have a stack of food items and recipes they can make on their own. Eggs are a good start.

As you can see J was quite pleased with his finished eggs on a waffle. He decided that he likes eggs “a little bit”. Next time he wants to make the waffles from scratch, too, so we’re off to the kitchen again!

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