If a cookie bar is eaten when no one is home…

do the calories count? And if you eat them all, does that mean they never existed? Thoughts to ponder while relishing in these delights:

Magic Cookie Bars. Made by my sister, given to me. I mean everyone in my family. Yes, that’s it. HA!

Meanwhile this is what I have cooking in the crock pot today:

Martha Stewart’s crock pot curry chicken. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I halved the recipe by the way. I’m planning to accompany it with romaine lettuce salad and flaky layers biscuits. Yum!

And in case you have some chicken breast and brown rice:

Honey Chicken and Rice. Possibly the best I have ever had. EVER. Oh and my husband made it. He’s awesome!

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Five Seconds to Fresh: Blueberry Muffins

So here’s the thing. I like blueberry muffins from a box mix. I like them better than from scratch. Seriously. My favorite is the Betty Crocker wild blueberry mix. I have a little secret for making them though. I add about 1 tbs. of fresh lemon zest. It makes them AMAZING. Surprisingly, A can pick out every time I have added it. He’ll say “oh you added lemon!” It’s terrific, and really only five seconds to a muffin that tastes even more delicious than before!

I always overfill the muffin tins. But isn’t the muffin top the best part anyway? (Cue episode of Seinfeld here)

And do you know what makes it even better? A bit of…

Butter. (Cue Paula Deen episode here). HA!

And do you know what makes it even better?

Eating it while drinking my leftover coffee and reading the new issue of Glamour. I got about five minutes to do this, but five minutes is five minutes!

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A Quiet Lunch…Sort Of.

On Friday I made a lovely little Tex-Mex dish from TheĀ  Pioneer Woman. I would have been perfectly happy with the unedited version, however, my husband asked for some chicken on it. So I cooked two (large…Costco brand…would be equivalent to four small chicken breasts from the store) chicken breasts in our slow cooker for about six hours with a can of black beans and a large jar of salsa. It turned out delicious! Plus there were plenty of leftovers. I had the leftovers today for my first “quiet” lunch in quite a while. Yum.

And accompanying my lunch…

Instyle Magazine. The Paper. I even got to keep my own napkin the whole time.

Oh and this guy…

Who was happy to be quiet as long as I played the music on his bouncer seat, and let him view the baby rattle app on my Ipod. No problem. I did at one point start to think I was in the twilight zone…mainly because J Baby has a pacifier in his mouth. Highly unusual for sure.

Why, you may ask, did I have a quiet lunch?

Because this big boy went back to school today.

I told him “I can’t believe how big you are getting!”

He said “that’s because I’m almost four…and next year I will be ALMOST 5!”

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The Pioneer Woman’s Dough Recipe: Three Ways

On Ree Drummond’s blog, she has a terrific dough recipe. However if you make the whole dough recipe it makes a TON. Way more than I need for just my husband, A, and I. So I translated her recipe into three different sides (all of which are Pioneer Woman Recipes using that same starter dough).

First…I made the basic dough. Then I took half of the dough and made cinnamon rolls.

Now here’s the thing. I didn’t even make the icing. And I added raisins to the mix of the cinnamon and sugar on the inside. And they were still fabulous.

For my second recipe I took half of the leftover dough that I had refrigerated (so half of the half) and made The Pioneer Woman’s No Knead Dinner Rolls.

It made 12. Plenty for dinner. And leftovers.

Finally, I used the last half of the half leftover to make the Rosemary Buttered Rolls.

Still plenty for all of us to have at least two large rolls with dinner!

My husband declared the No Knead Rolls his favorite. And I’m sure you can guess what A’s favorite was: The cinnamon rolls of course!

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Make Your Own 30 Minute Marinade

Sometimes I use the bottled brand, and sometimes I whip up my own. I usually play around with the ingredients, but this particular one came out tasty and I wanted to share! I used it to make chicken fajitas.

Ingredients

1/4 cup lime juice (fresh or from concentrate)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tbs chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp salt

Few grinds of freshly black pepper

Directions:

Whisk together all ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Can use to marinade 2-4 sliced chicken breasts. Marinade for at least 30 minutes, but you can marinade them for several hours. After marinading the chicken breasts I just sauteed them in a pan for about 15 minutes until they were golden, then made fajitas.

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Puerto Nuevo Lobster Burritos

Happy Monday! So the gem of this little dish is actually not the lobster. It’s the rice. The arroz rice that you make to go with it is delicious, and it makes a lot. I was able to use the rice in this dish and then I used it as a side with chicken fajitas later in the week.

Arroz Rojo Rice (The focus was not what I intended, but as my husband said when he made dinner, while tending to J, last night when A and I were at the pool…”how do you actually ever make dinner around here?” Super powers my friend)

Puerto Nuevo Lobster Burritos (Follow the link to get the Marcella Valladolid recipe)

See that little gem on the top of the burritos? That’s from the rice. It’s a serrano pepper and it’s hot! If you are daring (and don’t do it for the little kids), chop it up and mix it into the rice once you’ve cooked it. A little less daring? Slice it after cooking, scoop out and toss the seeds, then dice it up and mix it into the rice. Or just eat it whole as I did…my other super power is the ability to eat spicy foods without wincing.

My husband liked the burritos as is (lobster, refried beans, rice). I was wishing it had a bit more of something. If you want to add a little something extra, whip up a quick sour cream chipotle sauce.

Sour Cream Chipotle Sauce

Ingredients

8 oz container sour cream

1-2 chipotle peppers (from a little can of chipotles in adobo sauce)

Directions

Remove 1-2 chipotle peppers from adobo sauce. Dice finely. Mix with sour cream.

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Marshmallow Meringue Clouds

Right now A and I have been on a dessert a week mission. Sometimes A loves to help and sometimes he is less interested in helping and more interested in eating the finished product. Since meringues can be somewhat temperamental I decided to make them during his nap time. Although I did have a little helper:

J was happy to help. Plus it combined two of his favorite things: Snacking on the bar of the Johnny Jump Up and listening to the mixer running.

The recipe is a Giada De Laurentiis. You can find it here. Her original recipe uses freeze dried strawberries, which I forgot to purchase at the store. However, any who knows me knows I am not afraid to try a substitute. Even if it fails! Which luckily this one didn’t. I had jet puffed mallow bits on hand instead. So my substitutions were:

1/2-3/4 cup mallow bits instead of 1 cup freeze dried strawberries

Remove 1 tbs of sugar from the called for 3/4 cup of superfine sugar

Make sure you whip those egg whites and sugar until they are stiff, like this:

And follow the baking instructions exactly. It takes a total of FOUR hours to make these (two with the oven on, two with it off), so pick a rainy day like I did, where you won’t be going anywhere :).

And then they will turn out fabulously! My husband and son loved them, I found them to be a tad sweet, but if you add some raspberries or a light raspberry sauce such as this one, the tartness helps cut the sweetness and then they are even better!

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Popovers

I have had a popover pan for um…5 years? I have made popovers exactly ZERO times. I am not sure exactly why I bought it, I think something having to do with it looking cool. Always a perfect reason to buy a baking item, right? I decided to finally put it to use this past week and attempt to make popovers. For my first attempt they came out pretty good! The edges were a tad over done, but the insides tasted great! A LOVED watching them bake in the oven because they turn into such huge monstrosities. See my attempt:

I used THIS recipe by Barefoot Contessa. They tasted similar to German pancakes (I need to post that recipe! I actually have an original), and we all enjoyed them. Go try it!

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