Friday, April 12, 2013

 Fiesta Lime Rice Bowls


Easiest. Meal. Idea. For. Picky. Eaters. Also, a great idea for feeding groups. It's fresh, healthy, very low in fat, and colorful!  


Taco Ranch Chicken (cooked and shredded, see recipe below)
1-2 Can(s) Black or Pinto Beans (with 2 cloves crushed garlic)
White Rice (cook)
Bell Pepper
Sour Cream
Lime wedges  

Pile warm rice, beans chicken and corn into bowl. Add cheese and any other chopped taco topping you desire. Squeeze a lime wedge over and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Taco Ranch Chicken
Add 1 taco seasoning packet, 1 ranch seasoning packet, 1 can chicken broth and 2-3lbs frozen chicken to slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or until chicken is soft enough to shred.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Samoa Cupcakes

Samoa Cupcakes

I found my inspiration for these treats from I wanted to make the recipe a whole lot simpler without taking from the flavor. I made these for a birthday gathering and they were a hit! Here is what I did...

1. Chocolate Coconut Cake
  •  Prepare a devil's food cake mix according to the package. Add 1tsp. of coconut extract to the batter. Scoop and bake. I was able to get 22 cupcakes out of one box mix.

2. Salted Butter-cream Butterscotch Caramel (Yum!)

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping, plus more for drizzling (I used butterscotch caramel)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cool cupcakes
  • Frost generously
  • Drizzle caramel sauce
  • Drizzle melted chocolate 
    • Melt 1/2 cup extra dark chocolate chips in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, stir and repeat microwaving until smooth. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable oil to help chocolate remain smooth.
  • Sprinkle with toasted coconut

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pantry Pasta

The other night I was not motivated to cook an extravagant dish (let's be honest, I rarely cook anything worth the word extravagant), so I looked in my pantry and grabbed a few Italian'ish items and VOILA!

Conclusion: It was a hit! The skim milk and cheese added a little creaminess, and the meatballs added big bites of flavor.

As for the meatballs, I am a meatball snob, I found a good recipe on and tweaked it a little.

olive oil
1 small onion sauteed
2 cloves of garlic sauteed
Pasta Seasoning Blend 4-6 shakes (From Trader Joe's)
1 Can of diced tomatoes
12-18 Meatballs (recipe below)
Splash of milk
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese  
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Saute chopped onions and chopped garlic in olive oil. Add Pasta Seasoning Blend. (If you do not have the blend from Trader Joe's, the ingredients simply are-- onion powder, garlic powder, basil, lemon, paprika, fennel, oregano, black pepper, ginger, and thyme). 

2. Pulse canned tomatoes in the food processor till slightly chunky so the kids will eat it. Add to pan.

3. Add meatballs and let simmer 10 minutes.

4. Just before serving over warm pasta add a splash of milk and shredded cheese until melted and combined.

(adapted from Meatball Nirvana on

1.5 pound extra lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 small onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Splash of milk if dry
1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Place the beef into a mixing bowl, and season with salt, onion, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, oregano, and Worcestershire sauce; mix well. Add the egg, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Mix until evenly blended, (add milk if needed) then form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs, and place onto a baking sheet.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, 20 to 25 minutes.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sweet Sugar Cookies

In college I had a room mate who would always make these sugar cookies. I am a chocoholic but these sure caught my fancy. They have a nice buttery taste. They are moist in the center but crisp on the outside. Perfect for any holiday... even if it's indulging in front of the TV.

Sugar Cookies

3 cups flour (plus some to roll out dough)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. Combine four, salt, baking soda and powder in a large bowl.
2. Cut butter and shortening into dry ingredients.
3. In a small bowl beat eggs, sugar and vanilla.
4. Combine both mixtures into large bowl. Dough will be crumbly but just grab a fist full, shape it into a ball to roll out on a floured surface.
5. Roll cookies, cut into desired shapes, place on UNgreased baking sheet.
6. Bake for 5-6 minutes. I like to catch my cookies before they become golden so I lean more towards 5 minutes.


1 lb powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk (Optional-- I add another TB or two to thin it out so it's more of a glaze than a thick frosting)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup butter
Food coloring

Frost those buttery bad boys and enjoy!  This last time around I only made half a batch of frosting. With my husband in the house, he devoured a ton before I could frost them. This is a common problem with these cookies.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day!

We do not make a big deal out of Valentine's Day, but my kids love the holiday! My 8 year old wanted to go to the store at 8 o'clock last night to buy a Valentine shirt. I kept telling her that she really didn't need a special shirt. She did not agree. I surprised her with this cute shirt for Valentine's day. She loves it and was a happy girl! I made both shirts in 10 minutes with my awesome Silhouette. I am still learning how to use my new Silhouette, but I LOVE all the things it can do!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Adopt-a-pet birthday party!!

My daughter wanted an "adopt-a-pet" birthday party for her 8th birthday party this year. I loved the idea and the kids had a great time.

I bought puppies from the dollar store. I made dog ears for each girl from headbands (dollar store) and felt. I hot glued the ears to the headbands. I printed out a certification of adoption paper for each girl to fill out.

I set up different stations for the new puppies and girls. I had a washing station, brushing station, dressing station, and a vet station. Then they made little dog houses from brown paper bags. I made little tutus for the puppies and hair ribbon from tulle. It turned out to be a great party and lots of fun!!

For snacks, I made puppy chow (muddy buddies recipe), dog treats (Scooby-Doo graham cracker sticks in the shape of bones. I bought these at the grocery store), cupcakes, and juice boxes.

Adopt-a-pet station

Bathing Station

Grooming station and dressing station

Vet station

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Maggie Mae Dress

I usually do not use patterns when I sew, but I found this pattern at Shwin Designs and knew I had to make it! The tunic/dress is adorable! I made matching ones for my three girls. Their are so many possibilities with this pattern and I loved it. It was easy to use too!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies (I mean the BEST)

Here it is folks. During my hunt for a good chocolate chip cookie recipe, I came across many that were alright. I really liked what Martha Stewart had to offer but then I moved. The elevation was the same, the baker was the same, but sadly the cookie was never the same. Here is a recipe that has survived several states, temperatures, and levels of humidity. This bad boy is a keeper.

Ingredients (Yields 24)

1/3 C unsalted butter
1/3 C shortening
1/2 C granulated Sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla (Mexican-style 'vainilla'.  Oh yeah!)
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix butter and shortening in a large bowl until creamy. Add both sugars and mix till combined. Add egg and vanilla then mix till combined. Add flour, salt and baking soda then mix till combined. Add chocolate chips, mix, then sample your raw dough! That's right MIL... I eat raw dough when you are not looking.

Bake at 375 degrees 7-8 minutes. I like my cookies soft and gooey with a touch of golden color on top.

SECRET to even better cookies-- refrigerate cookie dough overnight then load huuuuge hunkin' scoops of dough on the pan.  The taller the cookie dough is the thicker and tastier it gets. You'll have to bake the cookies at the same temp but for a little longer.  This yields about 12 cookies.