Menu 3/10/14

Good Morning,

I just wanted to take a few moments out to let you know what we’re having for dinner this week.  I usually try to put this out on Friday or Saturday, but it was a work Friday and a very busy Saturday, so I’m getting to it today.

Did you remember to change your clocks for Day Light Savings time?  I remember to change the clock in the bedroom so that I could get to church yesterday morning, but forgot the rest of the clocks.  Let’s just say we had dinner at 6:30 last night and I thought until the end of dinner that I was doing good with my time. Smile with tongue out

Here’s what’s for dinner…

Sunday – We had…Chicken Stroganoff, Spinach, Candied Yams (that I found leftover in the freezer from a previous dinner), and homemade biscuits

Monday – Chicken and Wild Rice Soup and Boston Brown Bread (Babydoll loves this bread and she has a dentist appointment today that she was terrified when I told her about it so I want to end her day on a happier note.)

Tuesday – Fried Shrimp and Sweet Potato Tator Tots (this is assuming I make up the Tator Tots today, but I started back at the gym today, meaning I lost an hour, and I still have three loads of laundry and the bathrooms to clean – already vacuumed the downstairs.  Does anyone else hate cleaning bathrooms as much as I do?)

Wednesday – Turkey Burgers with Potato Pancakes (I think I’m noticing a potato theme this week and that was not my intention at all).

Thursday – Chicken & Waffles and some type of green vegetable.  I originally had spinach down as the side, but I cooked it yesterday, so now I’m thinking broccoli or asparagus.  Stan is not a fan, but Babydoll loves it, especially with lemon pepper and lemon juice squeezed on it, and it’s on sale this week; I can pick some up before I pick her up from school.

Friday – Fish Fry Friday…enough said.

Saturday – Last Saturday, I volunteered to work at the church and was gone most of the day.  This Saturday, I have a book club meeting and cannot say what I will do; it may be an every-man-for-himself day.

For dessert this week I decided to make brownies – two types one without nuts and no frosting for Babydoll and the second with walnuts and a peanut butter chocolate icing.  I bought some Salted Caramel Blue Bell Ice Cream to go along with it.

That’s our menu this week, as you can see besides the potatoes everywhere; we are having a lot of poultry this week.  I asked Stan if he thought we could have a menu entirely of chicken…he said let’s do it.  I settled for mostly poultry with a few seafood items mixed in just so it wouldn’t become too boring.  Maybe I’ll do a whole week of it at another time to see how it goes.  What are you having this week?



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I found it!

For months I’ve been trying to duplicate this bread that they serve at Wildfire Grill in Chicago.  I’ve posted a couple of attempts of the pumpernickel bread that had raisins in it.  It is a bread that is served that is standard for each table.  It is so awesome.

Anyway last week while in the line at the grocery store doing my usual looking through all of the food magazines I came across a recipe for Blueberry Boston Brown Bread.  The picture looked just like the bread that I’ve been trying to make.  I knew I did not have enough time to write the recipe on the back of my grocery list, so I whipped out my phone and took a picture of the ingredients.


Yes…I took a picture of the ingredients.

The book was a book of slow cooker recipes and I briefly read the instructions, but my thought was I should be able to go online and find this recipe.  Not so. Sad smile  I found recipes for Boston Brown Bread, but not a slow cooker recipe that was the same as the one I had took a picture of.  I went through my cook books and found a recipe for the bread in my Better Homes and Gardens book and decided to go with it.  The final product was AWESOME (I say that in a sing-songy voice)!!!

Here is the break down….

First I mixed the All-purpose, Whole Wheat (I have white whole wheat), Rye flour, & Cornmeal in a bowl


To that I added baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.


Then I remembered that I needed to soak my raisins and cranberries  in 2 tbsp of boiling water.


I mixed all the dry ingredients than moved on to the wet.  I measured a cup of buttermilk.


I mixed it with molasses and brown sugar that I put in another measuring cup.


I added the wet to the dry, then folded in the raisin/cranberry mixture.


This I placed in a loaf pan that I had sprayed with cooking spray and then placed that inside of a casserole dish.  I took a piece of non-stick aluminum foil and placed it over the top of my dough/batter.  (In hindsight, I should have done a better job of covering it, and I’ll tell you why in a sec).


I placed this in my oven (325 degrees convection, 350 convention) and added water to the casserole dish.


The bread is to cook for approximately 2 hours.  I think I let my cook longer than that because I was also making a cake at the same time and I didn’t reset the timer once I had taken my cake out of the oven.  Have  mentioned that I cannot wait until I get my kitchen remodeled so that I can have double ovens?

Anywho…I took the bread out of the oven and gave it a slice.  The top was a bit crunchy, that could have been a result of my not covering the top securely or me leaving it in the oven for too long.  I’m not sure, but it was still awesome and finally what I had been eating at Wildfire. No longer do I have to attempt to make that bread.  I now know what I’ve been eating.  It wasn’t pumpernickel raisin, it was Boston Brown Bread! Smile

I slathered on the butter.  Then cut me another piece and slathered on more butter and had it with dinner.


I’m so happy to have found it. Smile  Now if I could just get the recipe for their spiced peanuts that they serve at the bar.


Here’s the recipe.  I hope you like as much as I do.

1/3 cup raisins (or dried blueberries, cranberries)

2 tbsp boiling water

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup rye flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup full-flavor molasses

2 tbsp maple sugar or dark brown sugar (I used light because that was all I had)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray loaf pan.  Add raisins to 2 tbsp boiling water and set aside

2) Combine all-purpose flour, cornmeal, whole wheat flour, rye flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and set aside.

3) In another bowl combine buttermilk, molasses, and brown sugar.

4) Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

5) Fold in raisins, include the liquid from the soaking process.

6) Place in greased loaf pan.  Then place the pan inside of casserole dish.  Take a piece of aluminum foil that as been lightly sprayed with cooking spray and place over the batter sprayed side down. (I know you can figure that out, but I do know some people that would not know to do sprayed side down, so I had to say it.)  For this I would try my best to secure it as much as possible without actually closing it off.  Tuck it around the sides really good.

7) Place the casserole dish in the oven then add enough boiling water into dish to come up sides of loaf pan about 1-inch.

8)  Let it bake for about 2 hrs or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Slice and serve warm with butter, cream cheese sweetened with honey, or even honey butter.  I had plain butter and it was fabulous.

Note:  I believe that I got this recipe from the Better Homes and Garden Slow Cooker Recipes book, but I must emphasis that I was in the grocery store line and didn’t pay much attention to which book I picked up.  I did however confirm the recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens Dessert Cookbook.

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Krispy Treat Hit and Miss

As I mentioned last week, I made a lot of rice krispy treats.  I made five types…some were a hit, some were not.  Here’s my recap.  NOTE: There are a lot of photos in this post because….I made a lot of rice krispy treats.

I decided to make Strawberry, Vanilla Bean, Cake Batter, Butterscotch White Chocolate, and Caramel with salted Chocolate.

Can you guess what were the hits and which were the misses?

First I started with two HUGE bags of rice cereal and five 10 oz bags of marshmallows.  I decided to go with the store brand to see if these was something that doesn’t make a difference or not and I was making a lot of treats.  I will say now, the treats that were hits were hits regardless of the maker of the basic ingredients and the misses were because they were – let’s face it – just not the right ones for my taste palette.


The first treat I made was the strawberry.  It required half of a box of strawberry gelatin to be added to the basic krispy treat recipe (6 cups of puff rice cereal, 1/2 cup of butter, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and 1 10 oz bag of marshmallows).



I melted one stick of butter, then added 1 bag of marshmallows.


I melted the marshmallows and butter in 30 second increments that took about 1 minute total.



I added about 3 tbsp of strawberry gelatin to the marshmallow butter mixture.


Then my six cups of cereal



I then pressed my mixture into a greased tin pan (I bought a four pack) and let them sit.


Next I made the Vanilla Bean treats.  For these I decided to try margarine to compare flavors – I have decided that I like the flavor of butter better.  The recipe is very similar: 4 tbsp of margarine, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, 10oz marshmallows, 6 cups of puffed rice cereal.


To my marshmallow and margarine mixture I added 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste and 1 tsp of vanilla.



These were a lot sticker, so I had to spray my hands with a little of cooking spray to press these into the pan.


Third I made the cake batter treats.  This recipe called for the addition of cake mix – 4 tbsp of butter, 10 oz marshmallow, 1/2 cup cake mix, 5 cups of puffed rice cereal, and 1 container of sprinkles.


1/2 cup to be exact



At the last minute I realized I had forgotten to buy the sprinkles and I had none in my pantry.  I did have tons of sparkling sugar though.


After I pressed the treats into the pan, I used my multi-colored sugar and went to town to add some color.


Butterscotch White Chocolate Cereal Treats was next on the list.  This recipe required


Butterscotch chips and one of my favorite ingredients


Peanut Butter!

This recipe did not need a fat ingredient, getting it’s fat from the peanut butter and chips.



I added white chocolate chips to my mixture because the original recipe called White Chocolate Wonder by Peanut Butter & Co.  I didn’t have that, but I did have some white chocolate chips and some peanut butter, so I tried my own version.




Once it was smooth, I added the puffed rice cereal and smooshed it into the pan.  Then I started thinking lets add some melted white chocolate over the top.




Butterscotch White Chocolate Rice Krispy Treats : 1 bag butterscotch morsels, 1 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, 6 cups puffed rice cereal.  Combine butterscotch morsels, peanut butter and white chocolate chips.  Melt in microwave about 1 min (in 30 second intervals).  Add rice cereal.  Press into 8×8 lightly greased pan.


The final treat I made, Caramel with Salted Chocolate, required caramel.  So, I made caramel.  I did this by combining 1/2 cup of sugar with 2 tbsp of water and placing them over med/high heat.



I left that mixture alone until it began to turn amber around the edges.



At that point I removed it from the heat and began whisking.



I then added 2 1/2 tbsp of softened butter to the mixture and whisked again.  Once that was incorporated, I added 1/4 cup of warm whipping cream.



Now that my caramel sauce was done, I melted my butter and marshmallows.




Then I combined the caramel sauce and marshmallow mixture.



I added my cereal, 6 cups, and smooshed into a greased pan.  I then made the ganache my pouring 3/4 cup of very warm heavy cream over 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips.





I let my ganache sit for a few minutes then poured it over my treats.  Maybe I should have placed the treats in the frig, but I’m not a huge fan of overly cold desserts.  Cheesecake, lemon meringue pie, key lime pie, jello, and a few other desserts should be cold…Rice Krispy treats, in my opinion, should not.  Oh yeah…after I let the ganache sit a little while I sprinkled the top with sea salt.



But maybe if I had my ganache would not have seeped through. 😦



Here’s the recipe: Salted Chocolate Caramel Rice Krispy Treats (courtesy of

Caramel: 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tbsp water 2 1/2 tbsp of softened butter, 1/4 cup heavy cream

Cereal Treats: 1 10 oz bag marshmallows, 2 tbsp of butter, 1 tsp vanilla, 6 cups puffed rice cereal, and caramel sauce

Ganache: 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, 3/4 cup heavy cream, Sea salt for sprinkling on top

Make the caramel sauce: Place cream in small pan and warm, but do not boil (I actually placed mine in a small ceramic bowl and placed it in the microwave for 30 seconds right before I added to sugar mixture).  Combine sugar and water in small pan over med/high heat.  Leave alone until the edges begin to turn amber.  Turn off the heat and begin whisking.  Add the butter and continue whisking.  Add warmed cream and whisk.  Place to the side.

Make cereal treats: Melt butter and marshmallows.  Add vanilla to marshmallow mixture.  Add caramel sauce to mixture.  Add rice cereal and combine.  Press into lightly greased pan.  Set aside and make ganache.

Make ganache: Place chocolate chips in bowl.  Heat cream just until it is about to boil.  Pour hot cream over chips and whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Allow to sit and cool a few minutes.  Then pour over treats.  Tilt pan to allow even coating of treats.  Let sit a few minutes more then lightly sprinkle with sea salt.      

Here are all of the treats lined up on my dining room table setting and waiting to be cut.




Now to tell you about my hits and misses.  Did you figure out which was which?


Strawberry was a phenomenal hit!!!  Babydoll and her sleepover guest loved them and any others that were left was taken as a dessert treat with lunch this week.



Vanilla Bean and Cake Batter were also hits!  They weren’t as well liked/loved as the strawberry by Babydoll, but they are her backups.


The Butterscotch White Chocolate was just too sweet for my palette.  As much as I love peanut butter, I could not take how sweet it was.  If I attempt them again I think I will cut the butterscotch morsels by half and double the peanut butter.  I will search the store aisle and find the White Chocolate Wonder and use that also instead of my own version.












Finally, the Salted Chocolate Caramel was a big miss.  I believe a lot of this had to do with the fact that the ganache seemed into the actual bar.  This changed the texture of the bar and made it something I really did not want to eat.  In the future, I think I will make these without the ganache top and just do the caramel krispy treats.



That was my Saturday, off & on because I took Sasha to get a haircut and met Stan and the girls (Babydoll and her sleepover guest) for lunch after he took the girls skating and dropped off his car at repair center.

I found several other recipes for rice krispy treats that I will try another time (they tend to be a big hit at gifts at my Girlfriends Dinner party).  I’m excited to try the pumpkin spice.  Plus I still have 3/4 of a bag of cereal to use up.  Do you have a variation that you would like to share?  I’m open to suggestions.






Sorry about the picture quality, first I am not nor do I claim to be a food photographer; and second I re-sized these pictures in WordPress, something I stopped doing a long time ago when I began using Windows Live Writer.  I had already transferred the draft to WordPress and decided to finish up here before I had decided on size of pictures.  There were so many I pictures I didn’t want it to take too long to transfer.  Lesson learned, I will complete my editing in Live Writer from now on. 🙂    

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Menu 3/2/14

Happy Friday Everyone,

Here’s what we’re having this week.  Have a great weekend. 🙂

Sunday: Roasted Bone-in chicken breast with Creamy Orzo and roasted Asparagus

Monday: I will be making Stan a childhood favorite – Chipped Beef on Texas Toast and Babydoll and I will have soup and Sandwiches (we may try the chipped beef instead of the sandwich), soup wise I’m thinking I will take one of my Bear Creek packages and do a quickie soup.  I’ll Tweet which one I decide on.  There’s supposed to be a huge snow storm on Sunday so the soup will be much appreciated.

Tuesday:  Chili Dogs and Tater Tots with Fruit Salad.  This has to be a really quick meal because last week we finally found a new dance school for Babydoll and it looks like we will be in school from 5:30-7:30 with back-to-back dance classes.

Wednesday: Taco Salad (another late night – Babydoll has choir practice)

Thursday: Turkey Manhattan with chopped Spinach

Friday: It’s a work night, it’s every-man-for-themselves

Saturday: Chili

Have a great week. 🙂



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Crockpot Save

Today I want to share with you guys, something that I feel is vital to all slow cooker/crockpot cooking.



In the past when you had to cook something in the crockpot you were happy because you knew you could cook your meal while you were out of the house; having a completed/most completed meal ready when you got home.  Then when all of the easiness is over you would have to clean that helpful tool.  I don’t know about you, but this was always a dark cloud that came shortly after my sunshine and rainbows.

Several months ago, I had a couple of coupons for the Slow Cooker Liners and bought them because they were on sale; then tossed them into my pantry bin for my food wrapping supplies.  I forgot about them until about around December when I saw them at the bottom of my bin.  I promised myself that the next time I used my crockpot I was going to whip them out.

My parents got me a new crockpot for Christmas that has the removable pot (my old one did not come apart and boy that was an even worse nightmare to clean).  I used my liner for the first time when I made pork for carnitas for Superbowl Sunday.  The clean up was easy-peasy.  Today, I made my Asian Beef and Broccoli (it was on the menu for yesterday, but I forgot to take my beef out of the freezer early enough and it was still frozen when I woke up that morning so, it got bumped to today).


Take a look at the space between my liner and my crockpot….


Amazing right?

I found another coupon for the liners and I’m going to buy another box or two or three (I don’t have that many coupons, but what can I say, I love these things Smile).  If you have not already tried them and you use a crockpot…what are you waiting for?  Go to the store and buy yourself some of these awesome liners.

Until next time,






Note: the opinions of this post are not from a paid endorsement, I’m just sharing my opinion about something I have come to love. Smile


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Menu: 2/23/14

I haven’t posted one of these in a while.  I’m still making my menu’s just haven’t been putting them out here (or even putting them on the kitchen menu board for that matter. 😦 )  I think this winter weather is making me a lazy bumb.  I’m keeping the house clean and have even given up my weekly Saturday morning grocery store jaunt just so I don’t have to get out of bed and fight the snow.   Anyway I hope you guys get inspired by my menu…please share yours, I could use ideas (especially hearty soups for the winter – but please no soups with beans I acquired a bad taste of those after one of my summers with my grandmother when I was 9.).  So here we go:

Sunday – Salibury Steak with noodles (I know you are thinking why not potatoes, but I’m having potatoes on Saturday and if you remember, my actual menu starts on Saturday so we won’t be having potatoes back-to-back :))  I think I would like to add some type of greens with this so I may pick up some on Saturday afternoon from Kroger (they have the best greens pricing) – maybe a collard/mustard mix.

Monday: Soup & Sandwich day!!! – My version of a Minestrone without beans and Rachel’s or Ham & Cheese for Babydoll.

Tuesday – Asian Beef & Broccoli…I plan to serve these with homemade egg rolls and potstickers if I can dedicate myself to make them ahead of time on Monday.  I not then we’ll have the store bought version.

Wednesday – Pasta and Sauce – Stan loves this and I will make plain pasta for Babydoll and add some smoked sausage (she stays away from tomato sauce as much as possible because it aggravates her re-flux), I’ll fix a salad and garlic bread to accompany it.

Thursday: Pan-fried Tilapia and rice and either fruit salad or steamed broccoli

Friday – Not sure…I’m hoping I can talk Stan into taking us out if the weather cooperates.  If not, I maybe make a quick taco salad.

Saturday – Pork chops with pears, Twice-cooked roasted potatoes and spinach.

The dessert that I will make for the week is an Apple Crisp/Cobbler with French Vanilla Ice Cream.

On a side note: I have been craving Rice Krispy Treats since I watched an episode of Unique Sweets (does anyone else love that show); so I will be making about 5 different versions of Treats on Saturday.  My goal is to take pictures and post how they turn out.  Look for it some time next week. Smile

Also…I have been working on post about the basement remodel.  I believe I will break it down into about five or six parts.  I’m writing the entire post and will then break it down once I’ve finished it.

Have a great weekend guys.


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Happy New Year!!!!

I hope everyone had a safe, stress-free holiday season with family and friends.  As for me and mine it was fabulous.  I had a great Thanksgiving with my family, had family portraits taken the following week (and they turned out amazing), had Christmas dinner with my book club the next week, my annual “Girlfriends Dinner Party” the week after that, then finished up with Christmas Sunday brunch with my family the weekend before Christmas.  Christmas was just Stan, Babydoll, and I and the same went for New Years.  It’s something that we really enjoy, because it gives us the opportunity to do not much at all.  Of course I cook, but we don’t have to worry about someone coming over or having to be somewhere.   With all of the cooking and baking and cooking and baking and cooking and baking that I’ve done, I really need the break on the actual holidays. 

And to top it all off, we have finished with the basement.  When I say finished, I mean that we have done everything that was deemed necessary.  We still need to add the bar area,  but that is something that we have decided to think about a little more because it will have to be something custom due to space.  We have furniture (that has a story that I will tell later) and now Stan truly spends all of his free time down there.  He really is happy with the finished look.  I am too, but I’m able to play it a little cooler than him. 

Looking back over 2013, I think back on the projects that we worked on this year.  The basement was something that took a lot of our time.  It was basically a year long project, but we also had some backyard work done.  We spent well over a three weeks having a  the grass removed, having electrical installed and then laying out sod, rocks, and lights to make the backyard more polished. 

I will post tons of pictures and chronicle the process at a later time in a longer, picture-filled post.

This year I will be getting my long awaited kitchen remodel.  (sigh)  The thing with this remodel is that I need to have my budget very precise.  I will not be able to space it out like we did the basement.  I don’t want to spend months without a kitchen, my goal is to have a completed kitchen in three weeks.  Don’t laugh that’s my goal and I’m sticking to it.

Do you have any major home remodeling projects for this year?


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