May 13, 2013

Recent Pinterest Recipe Wins.

I've been "over" all the recipes in my recipe binder lately.  I subscribe to several cooking magazines but they have the WEIRDEST recipes in them.  Is it just me that thinks that?  Half the combinations of ingredients just sound completely gross.

Pinterest has been my best resource for new recipes.  I also like but I get so caught up in the reviews on that website.  Thought I'd share a few of our recent favorites...

1)  DIY Homemade Spaghettios from Seeded at the Table.
You can read more about these at the above link but here's the basics.  I did add some homemade meatballs.  I wasn't really expecting to like these but John and I both LOVED them.  The kids did not like them (weirdos) so I guess they'll stick to the disgusting stuff from the can.

-1 lb ditalini pasta
-2 tbsp olive oil
-2 cloves of garlic, minced
-pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
-15 oz can tomato sauce
-1 cup water
-1 tbsp tomato paste (have you discovered they sell this in squeezable tubes? genius!)
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp sugar
-4 tbsp butter
-1/4 cup milk
-1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, heat oven in large pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in tomato sauce, water, paste, salt, pepper, sugar and butter.  Cook and stir until butter is melted.  Slowly stir in milk and turn down to low.  Simmer at low heat for 10 minutes.  Stir in shredded cheese until melted.

Drain pasta and transfer to a serving bowl.  Pour as much sauce in as you would like.  We ended up using all of it because the sauce is SO good.

2)  Bubble Pizza
The pinterest link I have for this doesn't really lead me anywhere so not sure who to credit for this picture.  I'm sure this isn't a new idea but I hadn't seen it before.  It was easy and super yummy and not messy for the kids to eat with their fingers.

-3 cans buttermilk biscuits
-pepperoni (I used about half a pack of the round ones and cut them in smaller pieces)
-1 jar pizza sauce
-1 8oz bag of shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400.  Grease a 9x13 baking dish.  Cut each buttermilk biscuit in half and layer in dish to form a lumpy crust.  Spread pepperoni pieces on top of biscuits.  Pour pizza sauce on top of that.

Bake for 20 minutes then top with cheese and bake 10 more minutes.

3)  Baked Cheesy Chicken Chimichangas from Six Sisters' Stuff
The link includes ingredients to make a green sauce which I didn't make but will try next time.  These were SO easy and tasty.  It would be even easier if you used a rotiserrie chicken but I used my favorite perfect chicken recipe so that added 30 minutes or so.  If you make things that require cut up cooked chicken a lot you have to try that perfect chicken recipe.  It turns out so juicy and flavorful.

Not sure where this picture is from and its kind of lame but I thought it was helpful in figuring out how to wrap these up.  I just put mine flat on a baking sheet and they were fine.

-8 oz cream cheese softened
-8 oz shredded pepper jack cheese (this was a bit spicy so next time I will prob do half this and half white cheddar)
-1/2 package of taco seasoning
-1 pound cooked, chopped chicken (I made this)
-8 flour tortillas
-whatever toppings you want (sour cream, more cheese, salsa, green onions)

Stir together cream cheese, pepper jack, taco seasoning, and cooked chicken.  Divide among flour tortillas.  Tuck in sides.  Lay seam side down on a greased baking sheet.  Spray tops with cooking spray.  

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Turn over and bake 15 more minutes.  

Note:  I'm guessing these would be soggy left over.  I just made 4 of them and then saved the rest of the filling mixture to make a quick lunch the next day.

4)  Crazy Easy Pineapple Cake from Thrifty Decor Chick
This is from one of my favorite blogs.  I have been reading it for years and she doesn't post recipes very often so I figured if she thought it was worth posting I should give it a try.  Also my mom loves angel food cake so it seemed like the perfect dessert for Mother's Day.  I'm typically more of a chocolate dessert type of person but this is so light and summery.  YUM.

-1 box angel food cake mix
-20 oz can of crushed pinapple
-tub of Cool Whip

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine a box of angel food cake mix and a 20oz can of crushed pineapples (that's it - just those TWO ingredients).  Stir it up really well and watch it foam.  Pour into a greased 9x13 cake pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Done!

Note:  You could probably make this in a bundt pan but I layered pieces of cake and whipped topping in a trifle dish for a fancy looking dessert.

Feb 7, 2013

Panang Curry

I finally decide to try making curry.  My absolute favorite curry is the panang curry from a local Thai restaurant.  So... I googled until I found a recipe that had good reviews.  I pretty much followed the recipe exactly and it was amazing.  SO good.  Tasted just like at the restaurant.

It was also super easy to make but finding the ingredients was a challenge because my small town doesn't have a Thai grocery store.  I first went to an Indian grocery store (embarrassing).  They were very helpful but had no idea what I was talking about except for the palm sugar.  I bought the palm sugar there as a thank you to them for not laughing at my ignorance.  I actually think it is cane sugar (says "Jaggery" on the container), not sure if that's the same thing?  When I run out I will go to the Thai grocery store and get palm sugar.

Here's what you need that you may not be able to find at your local grocery store:

-Panang curry paste (this tub was $2.99 and will last a LONG time)
-Palm Sugar (my cane sugar was $2.99 and will also last quite a while)
-Fish sauce ($1.49)
-Kaffir lime leaves (optional, I used lime zest instead)
-Thai basil leaves (optional, I did not use)

I took a picture of some of the ingredients so you have an idea what you are looking for.

When I did finally find the Thai grocery store they had everything I needed and were very helpful.

- - - - - - -

Prep time: 15 minutes - Cook time: 20 minutes - Serves: 4

via  (picture taking slacker)

  • 5 tbsp panang curry paste
  • cooking oil (I used canola)
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed 
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, torn (I used zest of 1 lime instead)
  • 2 fresh red chile peppers, sliced (I did not use)
  • 1/4 cup fresh Thai basil leaves (I did not use)
  • 4 cups cooked white rice

In a large skillet, fry the curry paste in the oil over medium heat until fragrant (2-3 minutes).  Stir the coconut milk into the curry paste and bring to a boil.  Add the chicken and reduce to simmer; cook and stir until the chicken is nearly cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.  

Stir the palm sugar, fish sauce, and lime into the mixture.  Simmer together for 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust saltiness by adding more fish sauce if necessary.

Serve over cooked white rice.  Garnish with sliced red chile peppers and Thai basil leaves.

Caution:  This probably depends on the curry paste you use but this particular brand made for some SPICY curry.

Jan 16, 2013

Responsibility chart.

Watch out folks!  A picture of our apartment is about to finally make it onto the blog!  Lately our living room is looking a lot like this...

... because of this...

... woohoo!  (His room looks the same by the way.)

I've been eyeing this responsibility chart (by Melissa & Doug) for a couple months.  Don't know why it took me so long to buy it?  It was $16 (closer to $20 now though).  

We've only had this for 3 days so we'll see if it sticks but so far I am in love.  Carson really seems to like getting all his magnets up each day (ASAP).  A little like crossing things off a list... wonder who he gets that from?  

For us, the top part of this chart is daily tasks.  These are things he is required to do and he will get an allowance for being a responsible member of the family.

The bottom part of the chart has a bunch of "extra" chores he can do (take out trash, empty dishwasher, help with laundry).  He can earn extra money by doing these things (without being asked and without complaining) but they aren't required.  They may be at some point (when he is older certainly) but for now he is a child and he should enjoy it.

There are also several magnets that say things like "sharing" and "not whining".  In our house these things are not rewarded because they are expected.  However, I am thinking of some kind of system where ice cream after school or a one-on-one date with mommy/daddy might be a fun treat for extra special behavior.

Here's hoping this sticks!!

Jan 2, 2013

Favorite Things 2012.

It's that time again.  Time to remember some of my favorite things from the past year.  This is probably my favorite blog post of the year, so pumped!

1.  My Fitness Pal.
Super awesome calorie counting website.  20 lb down (was 23... then Christmas).  'Nuff said.

2.  Mat Kearney.
This guy actually made it on last year's list but he is still a favorite.  I don't know if it's his voice or the sound of his music but twice in the past few months I have heard a song on TV (once on a preview and once on Ellen), immediately googled the lyrics, and BAM!  Mat Kearney.  Again.  Why am I even surprised anymore?  Love.  (current favorites:  Ships in the Night, Sooner or Later, Count On Me)

3.  Soma Sensuous Sides Bra.
Not cheap ($48) but I've never believed in cheap bras (maybe if my gals were smaller?).  There is something magical about this bra.  It really pushes "everything" front and center.  My mom and I were recently sucked in.  Fun fact:  The Soma bra fitter commented on how similar my mom and I are built.  Nice.

4.  Essie nail polish.
My college roommate Alissa got me stuck on this.  Really (seriously) superior to the cheap polish I've always purchased at Wal-Mart.  This stuff lasts and lasts.  Current wishlist:  Mojito Madness, California Coral, Pretty Edgy.

5.  Emerald green.
Finally!  I L.O.V.E. green and this year's Pantone color of the year is Emerald.  Last year it was that fun bright orange which was nice but not quite so wearable.  I fully intent to embrace this trend.

6.  Paypal.
This site is so darn handy.  I am constantly impressed with how efficient and effective this site is.  I use it daily for business (rbtbags) and pleasure (Matilda Jane, sending money to family) and love.  Thought something I use this much deserved a spot.

7.  Curry.
My friend Camille got me addicted to the curry at a local Thai place.  My new favorite food.  One of these days I'm going to learn how to make it at home.  Kind of tricky when our small town doesn't have an Asian specialty food store.

8.  Ann Taylor LOFT Curvy fit jeans.
I've always been jealous of people that have a specific brand of jeans that always fit.  Well... now I am one of those people.  The Loft curvy fit jeans always works for me (modern fit = not so much).  Whether it's boot cut, skinny, or flare... as long as it says curvy it's gonna fit.  Yay for me!  Death to them if they ever change this.

9.  Favorite movie of the year:  The Dark Knight Rises.
There's just no accounting for my taste in films.  Love a good butt kicking movie.  Love Christian Bale.  Love Joseph Gordon-Levitt (for the first time since 10 Things I Hate About You).  Usually dislike Anne Hathaway but loved her here.  2nd favorite = the last Twilight movie.  Most anticipated movies for 2013:  The Great  Gatsby, Fast & Furious Six, Star Trek Into Darkness (this one's at the top), The Lost Symbol. 

10.  Werther's caramel apple filled candies.
So yummy and only 30 calories per candy.

11.  Duck Dynasty.
There's just no explaining my love for this show.  I've also been loving the show Revenge.  

I feel like I'm leaving things off so I may update this later.