Monday, November 30, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes or Round Pumpkin Pies???

My friends Kim & John brought me this fantastic pumpkin pancake mix from Trader Joe's. OMG!!! Can I just tell you it is completely fab-u-lous!!! Seriously, I think it makes probably the BEST pancakes ever. No Joke!!

You simply use 1 cup of the pancake mix, 2 tbsp. of melted butter, 3/4 cup of milk and 1 egg. That's it. Mix it all up and then start making the most scrumptious pancakes.

The smell alone of the batter will get you hooked. It is the best spicy pumpkin smell. And then test, well nit's all over after that. They are soft and fluffy and the spices all come through together. This is like circular pumpkin pies with syrup. Mmmmmmmmmm, you've got ot go and buy some today.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cranberry Relish Anyone??

My mom makes the most fab-u-lous Cranberry Relish. For real, it is simply the BEST!!! And can you believe it only takes three ingredients!!! Yep, you read it correctly, 3 ingredients!!!! So, it is super good, super simple, and semi-super healthy (maybe without so much sugar). :)

You take a bag of cranberries and freeze them. Freezing them makes it easier to send them through the grinder.

Then take one orange and quarter it.

Alternate between putting the cranberries and the oranges through the grinder. Yes, you put the entire orange in, peel and all. This is my mom's old-fashioned grinder. I love it.

The scent in your kitchen will be amazing!!! Raven, this could be a new fab-u-lous candle scent. Y'all HAVE to check my friend Raven's website. She has these fantastic candles and other fab-u-lous little dirty pretty things. Start placing your orders now for the holidays. Her blog is pretty awesome too. ;)

Okay, I digress, you put the cranberries and the oranges through the grinder. Then you add 1 cup of sugar into the mixture and mix it all up really good.

Put in the refrigerator until your ready to eat. OMG!! Yummy!! It is so good and really, really easy. It is way better, I think, than the kind where you add in jello. Plus, then you just have to do more. Ha! Believe me, you will have to make this yourself and not buy any. It is so much better.

Here is my niece, Danica, helping again. She really is the best sous chef. :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pecan Pies

Yes, I am the ultimate Pecan Pie maker. It is my specialty every year. It is the only thing my family ever special requests of me. Little do they know it is so incredibly easy. I really only use the recipe from the back of the label on the Karo syrup bottle. For real, that's all it is.

Here's all it entails: First you mix 1 cup of Karo Syrup, 3 eggs, 1 cup of Sugar, 1 tsp. of vanilla, and 2 tbsp. butter. Mix that all up and then add in 1 cup (I put in the entire bag) of pecans.

Here is my niece, Danica, stirring the ingredients for me. She is the best helper and loves helping me in the kitchen. :)

Pour that into a pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes.

And then, walluh, yummy!!!!! Serioulsy, it is super fab-u-lous!!! OMG!!! So good. My sister-in-law Laurie always loves it so much. I make their family an extra pie each year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Seaweed Salad (Yes, you read correctly)

So, a couple of weeks ago I went to lunch with my friend Shannon. We both love sushi and that is always a perfect lunch and so off we went.

I started out with this amazing seaweed salad. Yes, seaweed salad! (The picture is actually pretty good considering it was taken with a phone camera.) Yes, the same seaweed as is in the ocean. Ha! Trust me it is so yummy!!!! It is a bit stringy, but other than that the texture is amazing! The flavor is refreshing. It is had sesame oil and probably some lemon and I'm not sure what else. I just know I really, really like it. I bet you will too! Plus, it is so incredibly good for you. So, next time you are out eating Asian, go ahead, order it off of the menu and thank me when your taste buds are doing the happy dance! :)

Oh, and I ate my sushi so fast I forgot to take a picture of that. Ha!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Peanut Butter Panda Puff Cereal!!!

OMG!!! Yummy! It's really hard to believe this cereal is both organic and healthy because it is sooooooooo fab-u-lously (my own word) good. It is by EnviroKidz, which is an organic food brand. It is super healthy and super good. I wasn't sure if I would like it at first because the only other peanut butter cereal I've had is Captain Crunch Peanut Butter, which is c'mon the ultimate. When I was little we would put Captain Crunch Peanut Butter cereal into a bowl and then drizzle chocolate syrup over it. Seriously good, but seriously SO MUCH sugar and SO MANY CALORIES! ha! :) It is the best comfort food or the go to food when you are down in the dumps. Try it next time.

But, this EnviroKidz cereal is right up there and not nearly as much sugar and no preservatives! If you little ones and they like eating cereal as snacks then you've got to get yourself some of this cereal. You can find it in the health food section of your regular grocery store. It is a bit more expensive probably, but so worth it. Really, it is that good!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two of My Favorites

OMG!!! Can I just tell you how I much I love, love, LOVE mozzarella sticks!!!! Seriously, they are absolutely one of my favorite foods. Really, what is not to like about fried cheese? I don't think I've ever met someone that did not like mozzarella sticks.

I also ordered out pizza tonight. I love pizza. I think my sister, Missy, and I could eat pizza 3-4 times a week and never get sick of it. I like my pizza New York style. If you don't know what this means, well it is the way they have it in NYC, big slices that you can fold over and let the grease drip out the bottom. Yummy!!!! I'm not a thin and crispy gal and I am not a Chicago style gal. C'mon something is wrong with pizza if you have to eat it with a knife and fork and not be able to just pick it up with one hand. Ha!

My favorite toppings are mushrooms and pepperoni. What's funny is that I like to take off all of the muchrooms and pepperonis one by one and eat them first and then I will eat the rest of the slice. I usually always eat it this way. I know weird right? And did you ever think how when you eat pizza you need to have a dark soda (coke, pepsi, etc.). Lighter sodas (ginger ale, mountain dew, etc.) just don't cut it. That one I cannot figure it out. It's just fact. :)

What are your favorite toppings and how do you like your pizza?

Monday, November 16, 2009

No Minced Fish Here

I love that commercial where the little girl is reading the fish sticks box and sees where the fish sticks are minced and she says "Minced! Have you ever seen a minced fish?" I love it. It always makes me laugh.

I love fish sticks. Seriously, when I was in graduate school there was a time when I had them at least once, if not twice, every week. What's not to like? They are fried, crispy, and usually pretty cheap. Ha! I got these at Trader Joe's (My blog friend Nicholle is going to kill me because I am always talking about Trader Joe's and there aren't any in Texas near her. :( That would make me sad too.) and they are low fat. I was hesitant at first because I don't like to mess around with fish sticks, but the healthy angel on my one shoulder was winning the battle and so I bought them. Well, I gotta tell ya, they are pretty darn good. There isn't nearly as much breading on them and so that is where the lower fat comes in, but really they are still very tasty. If your kids like fish sticks, but you know the fried pat is not as good for them, well try the lower fat version. They are really good and I bet your kids wouldn't even know the difference.

I also had a pea and corn mixture. This is again one of the Green Giant single servings. This one has a butter basil sauce and it is so good. I am loving these single servings.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Making My Own Applesauce

I got some apples a couple of weeks ago when I was home in PA. Thank goodness they are hearty because I totally forgot they were in the crisper of my refrigerator. I saw them and decided to make some homemade applesauce. Mmmmm...autumn isn't gone just yet.

It is really so simple to make. I used six apples because simply that is what I had. But you can get a whole bushel and make a lot and then either can it or freeze it. It will keep a long time.

I used a apple corer from Pampered Chef, which a fantastic little kitchen gadget. I use mine all the time to core and slice apples. A little bit of elbow grease was needed to be used for these big apples though. :)

Then I put the slices into a big pot on the stove with the juice from one squeezed lemon and also 2-3 tablespoons of sugar. Bring the pot to a boil and then put a lid on the pot and reduce to simmer. I let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes. I then dump them into a collander to drain.

Next, I use a Miller Food Mill (this is my mom's and she has had it forever and I love it) to strain the apples through. You just put the slices into the mill and then move the wooden tool around and because the apples are so soft they push right through the little holes. The skin on the apples stays in, which is great because then you don't have to peel them prior to cooking them and that saves a ton of time.

I then just add some sugar and cinnamon to taste. I like mine a little on the tart side sometimes and so I just a little at first and then when I have some I may add more. My friend Megan taught me how to make applesauce and she and I would make it in graduate school. She is the one that told me to add Red Hots to the applesauce. You know, the little red candies that are used for cookie decorating. They really do make it much better.

So, go ahead try it. Go the grocery store and buy some apples and make yourself some applesauce. It is so much healthier for you because you don't have to add in any preservatives.

Nostalgic Soft Boiled Eggs on Toast

I have Friday's off campus and so this morning I decided to make breakfast. I'm not normally a breakfast gal. Don't get me wrong, I love breakfast food, but on most days I don't take the time to eat breakfast. I love going out for breakfast or having breakfast with friends or family, but by myself, notsomuch.

So, as I was saying, this morning I didn't teach and so I decided to make breakfast. You basically just put some eggs (I usually make one egg per piece of toast) in boiling water and then let them boil for three minutes. Then pour out the water and I usually run a little bit of cold water over them just to cool them off a bit. Then, take a knife and crack the shell in half and the yolk will pour out on the piece of buttered toast. I then take the knief and scrape out the shell to get the white part. That's it! Eat it and enjoy!

I haven't had soft boiled eggs on toast in quite some time. My dad used to always make these for us when we were little. My dad has been gone for 13 years now and I still think of him every time I make them. All I would have to do is ask and he would make them for me. He would burn his hands breaking the shells and even though I would sometimes find some little shells in them I would love them! This one's for you daddy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

OMG!!! My First Award

The Wife over at The Cobia Family gave me this very cute and very fab-u-lous award!!!

It is my very first award and I love it!!!

I have to post 10 random facts about me and pass it on to 10 bloggers.

1. I am a college professor and I teach Psychology.

2. Believe it or not, when I was younger I used a recipe to make scrambled eggs! Yep, can you believe it???

3. If I didn't get into graduate school I was going to go on to culinary school and become a chef.

4. When I first started college I was a Communications major and wanted to be the next Connie Chung. (Kudos to you if you know who Connie Chung is.)

5. I also get super excited when someone leaves me a comment or I get a new follower on my blog.

6. I am the youngest of 5 children and my father was 55 when I was born.

7. I love watching Ghost Hunters and am completely infatuated with Steve. :)

8. I am a TV addict and DVR at least 10 or more shows each week.

9. I hate liver and love brussel sprouts.

10. I've been to Australia and probably would not go again because the flight is way too long.

And now I would like to pass this award onto some very special ladies. I know you will enjoy their blogs like I do. Please go read these fabulous blogs!

Clemson Girl and the Coach
Boyd's Crazy Mama
His Doorkeeper
Milk & Cuddles
Southern College Girl
Life of a Southern Belle
Goosman Art

These are all fantastic blogs and I read them daily! So you should definitely clink on their links now and read away!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Going Bananas

I love baked breads and I also enjoy making baked breads. Some of my favorites to bake are pumpkin bread, Amish friendship bread and banana bread. I have 2 or 3 favorite banana bread recipes. My newest favorite is the one I made today. I got the recipe for Starbucks Banana Walnut Bread.

I had some mashed bananas in my freezer and so thought it would be a good way to put them to use. I love bananas, but only when they just turn yellow. I don't like them too ripe. You know, when they start to turn a little brown. I like them really fresh and still a little hard. Mmmmm, they are so yummy then. If they start to get too ripe, then I mash them up and put them in a container and then into the freezer until I am ready to make a banana bread. It's perfect really, because I don't have to feel guilty about throwing them out and I will reuse them again later.

It slices up so nicely. I like to spread a little butter on my slices. Sure, you don't have to, but hey why not. A little bit of butter makes it better right?

So anyway, I tried this Starbuck's recipe today and it was sooooo good. OMG!! Really, really good. It is moist (I mean seriously moist, probably the most moist banana bread I have ever had) and the banana flavor is just right, it isn't overpowering. I didn't have any walnuts on hand and so I surpassed putting them in, but it was just as good anyway. And look at that shine. Really, I didn't use any egg white on top to get that shine. It just came out that way.

You try this bread and then stop by Starbucks and try theirs and you really will not be able to tell the difference. Except, I guarantee your's will be much cheaper. Ha! :) Let me know if you want the recipe. Leave me a comment with your email address and I will get it right out to ya.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Great Chicken, Part Deaux

So, I had some left over chicken from the chicken skewers last night. Remember I live by myself and they made A LOT!! So, tonight I made one of my favorites...QUESADILLAS. If you have been reading my blog, you know how much I love quesadillas. Seriously, I make them at least every other week. Ha! :)

Well, I diced up the left over chicken. I put that in the quesadilla, along with some shredded cheddar cheese. Then to give it a little kick I added some Rotel. If you've never had Rotel, OMG!! you've got to try it. It is fab-u-lous!! It is basically diced tomatoes and green chiles.

But, I digress, I put the quesadilla in my fantastic Quesadilla maker and just a few minutes later, walluh, a tasty, cheesy, a little bit spicy, yummy, meal! Okay, that was a lot of adjectives. :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Only the BEST Chicken Ever!

I am just so excited to tell you about this chicken I made tonight. OMG!!! It was so fab-u-lous!!! I am not a big chicken person. I have never been a fan of it, as I have mentioned before. I know it's good for you and so I try to eat it more often than I used to. Well, tonight I grilled it on skewers. I think that's called something right? Is it satay when it is grilled on skewers? Ha! :) Anway, it was so good!

When I marinade something, I simply put the meat into a zip lock bag with the marinade and then put it in the refrigerator either before I leave for work in the morning or the night before. I pounded it out so it was wasn't so thick. I then marinated it in this fantastic marinade from Tastefully Simple. (Yes, the bottle is empty in this picture because I forgot to take the picture until after I emptied it into the bag. Ha!) It is their Pomegranate Chipotle sauce and OMG!!!! incredible! It's sweet and thick but with a kick from the chipotle peppers. Seriously, you've got to buy some. You can do so at my Tastefully Simple website (you can just click on the word "website") if you wish. However, you can marinate it in whatever marinade you wish. It's all good.

I then just took some wooden skewers and stuck them through the chicken slices. It's kind of messy (okay, it is really messy), but oh so good in the end. I just buy the wooden skewers. They are so cheap at the grocery store. However, you can also buy metal ones.

Then I just grilled them on my inside on-the-burner grill pan. It's simple and good.

Man, I wish your computer had a scent feature because the smell is unbelievable. It's smoky and sweet and spicy all at the same time. That's a good way to describe the flavor too. Mmmmmmm! Yummy! Seriously, go out tomorrow, buy the stuff and have it tomorrow night for dinner. You will love it! I swear!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Krabby Patties

Sponge Bob would be so proud. :) I made these very yummy crab cakes for dinner tonight. I got them at Trader Joe's last week. OMG!! They are amazing. You simply thaw them and then put them in a skillet for about 5 minutes (no joke, that's really all the longer it takes) and then yummo, you're on your way to sensational tasty bliss. :) The spices and flavor is unbelievable. It's really hard to believe they were frozen. They are not really thick and so if that is what you like then these would probbaly not be for you. But hey, they come in a two pack and so I guess you could pile one on top of the other and there you have it, a thicker crab cake you will loooooove.

I also had some cheesy cauliflower. These are the new single servings from Green Giant. I live by myself and therefore the size is perfect! Genius really. I just cannot believe it took someone so long to figure single servings out. Really, it's not rocket science. They are perfect for a snack or to take along in your lunch. They just go into the microwave for 2 1/2 minutes and then some cheesy goodness. They come in different vegetables such as corn and a light butter sauce (OMG!!!) and peas and corn in a basil butter sauce and broccoli and cheese. They are sponsored by Weight Watchers and are only 1 point and so if that is what you follow then this is so good and helpful for you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wild About Blueberries

Last night I didn't feel like cooking anything for dinner. I was tired and blah. So, I decided I would go to Cracker Barrel. Now you know from previous posts how much I totally love Cracker Barrel. It's cute and cozy and warm (they had the fireplace going). I also love how you can order breakfast any old time. I love having breakfast for supper sometimes. Hey, somewhere in the world it is breakfast time anyway. :)

So, I ordered the Wild Maine Blueberry Pancakes. They are so delicious!! Absolutely fab-u-lous!!! I swear there are like a million blueberries in the pancakes and a big old hunk of butter too. But c'mon there are three huge pancakes and so of course you need a big hunk of butter right? I also always get bacon on the side. When I pour the syrup on the pancakes I also pour some on the bacon too. Seriously, syrup on bacon is outstanding!!!!! OMG!!! So yummy! I love how Cracker Barrel gives you your own little wee bottle of syrup. It's so cute.

I always walk around the country store after eating. They have the cutest things and I always get suckered into buying something. I got the cutest snowman polar fleece sweatshirt Too cute!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Whopper of a Cookie!

These are some of my favorite cookies. They are sooooo humongous and so fab-u-lous!!! Seriously, anyone who ever tries them looooooooooves them!!!!!!! I am going home to PA. tomorrow and my Aunt Martha Jane loves these. She had an 80th birthday a couple of weeks ago and so I thought I would make her some as a belated birthday present. :) She will be so delighted!! My Aunt Anna May also likes them and so I made some for her too. My sister also loves them and she is always asking me when I am making them again and so it will be a nice surprise for her too.

They are called Chocolate Whoppers. They don't have the candy Whoppers in them, but they are humongous and that is why they are called whoppers. Seriously, you use a 1/3 measuring cup to scoop them onto the cookie sheet! Here's what you do:
2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
3 ounces (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup sifted flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. powdered instant coffee
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup walnuts
1 cups pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put unsweetened chocolate, the semisweet chocolate and the butter into a double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In a small bowl use an electric mixer to mix together the eggs, sugar, coffee & vanilla at high speed for 1-2 minutes. Beat in melted chocolate until just mixed. Add in sifted flour and pther ingredients, again until just mixed. Stir in chocolate morsels, walnuts and pecans. Using a 1/3 measuring cup, scoop out the mixture and place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 17 minutes. the outside will be gooey. Let cool "completely" on a parchment paper before removing.

It is so simple, yet unbelievable. Everyone that tries them swears that I should sell them and that I could make a fortune. Ha! For now, I will settle for making them for friends and relatives and enjoying them. Did you notice that they have mucho chocolate and coffee too??? What is better than chocolate and coffee. Genius!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grilled Cheese + Tomato Soup = The BEST

I swear that grilled cheese and tomato soup is one of my favorite meals. I could eat it every night. When I was in graduate school I think there was a time when I had grilled cheese every night for about 5 or so days. I just love it! I mean really, what is better than melted cheese between two pieces of buttered bread? Nothing! Ha! :)

I always add one can of milk, instead of water, to my tomato soup. I just like it creamier. And I always use two slices of cheese in my grilled cheese sandwich.

I think it is nostalgic for me because in high school I always loved the grilled cheese sandwiches, the same in college too. I do believe it is one of the all time great comfort foods.

At my friend Kelley's wedding last year, after the ceremony and prior to the dinner, there were drinks and mini finger foods we had mini grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup in shot glasses. It was amazing. Who would of thunk it?

It's quite simple, but still one of my favorite combinations. Who else loves grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Post Candy Health Rush

Okay you cannot possibly imagine all of the candy I have had the past couple of days. I know all of you have had a lot too. However, I live in an apartment complex with about 800 apartments. There are two school buses just for the complex!!! So, when I had friends over on Halloween night I told them each to bring a bag (or 2) of candy to give out to Trick-or-Treaters. Well, I'm not sure what really happened this year, but we only got 10 kids! Yep, you read it correctly...10!!!!!!!!!! So, you can only imagine all of the left over candy. Each person that was over took some home with them, but I still 3/4 of a basket full. So, a little snacky here and a little snacky there and before you know it, I have snacked the whole way through the entire weekend! Ha!

So, I made this delicious, fab-u-lous salad for dinner. It is so pretty isn't it??????? (You know it's half about the presentation.) It was so incredibly yummy and so easy!! I simply put in some spring mix greens (just from the bag that I bought at the grocery store), shredded mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and black beans. That's it. It doesn't have to be complicated and have a ton of ingredients to be fab-u-lous!!!

I then topped it off with this Asian Peanut Dressing from Trader Joe's. OMG!!!!! It is so good. You have got to go and buy some asap. Seriously! It is soooooooo good.