And I Suck

Sorry for being such a bad blogger. I'm going back to school to get my graduate teaching certificate right now so, life is hectic. Working 40 hours a week, sitting in class 11 hours a week, homework, observations, RBing, family stuff, almost being homowners (we close Sept. 28!), and I can't even think what else leaves very little free time. Cooking has def. been on the back burner.

It's been almost 2 weeks since the husbantor or myself have cooked a meal. ACK! I'm gonna try much harder on the weekends to make things and update this. It may take another week or so, but I promise I'll get back in the swing of things.


One Dish Meal

One of the showers I had before the wedding was a recipe shower. This recipe is from that. It's one of M's favorite things to eat. I think it's alright, just not my favorite. It's kind of bland so to spice it up I added some fresh green chili's.

Black Bean and Corn Skillet

1lb ground beef or turkey
1box 8oz Black Beans and Rice (I use 7oz Zatarain's)
1 can Rotel
3/4 bag corn
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup chopped green chilis
Cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, other toppings

Cook beef - drain. Stir in Rice and beans, Rotel, corn, cilantro, and 2.5 cups of water. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 min or until water has been absorbed.

M loves to eat this with chips. I like to eat it like a burrito. I had left overs the next day and was out of salsa so I cubed some Velveeta, added some onion, cilantro, and taco seasoning and melted it in the microwave. I added it to the mixture and it was so good. I highly recommend that.


Not Food Related

My husband's grandma passed away this morning. If you're a praying person and wouldn't mind saying a prayer for her and the family, that would be nice. Gma Dinks was such an amazing person and she'll be missed very much. It's good to know she's now in heaven and not in any pain.



A Delicious Disaster

Friday night M went to a Wii Party (I guess boys never grow up....) so I had the entire evening to myself! I was so excited. I used the evening to cook and bake. We had to go to a BBQ at my brother in law's on Saturday so I decided to bring my Taco Salad and make Easy Candy-Bar Teats. The recipe seemed simple enough and I had all night.

I got everything prepared and realized that I didn't have the correct size pan. I mean come on, who has a 9x9x2 inch or 11x7x1.5 inch pan. Not me said the flea. I'm not sure what size pan I used (it was smaller than the recipe called for) but, I think it was the demise of my treats.

Easy Candy-Bar Treats
Prep: 10min Cook: 7 and 3/4ths minutes Chill: 2 hours

½ cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup cold milk
3.5 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
30 vanilla caramels, unwrapped*
1-tablespoon water
2 cups unsalted peanuts*
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips*

½ cup milk chocolate chips*

1) Line a 9x9x2 inch or 11x7x1.5 inch-baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Butter the foil; set aside.

2) In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter, uncovered on 100 percent power for 1 – 1.5 minutes or until melted. Stir in cocoa powder, brown sugar, and milk. Microwave, uncovered on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture comes to a boil, stirring once. Stir again; microwave for 30 seconds more. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread mixture in prepared pan.

3) In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine caramels and water. Microwave, uncovered, on 50 percent power (medium) for 2.5 to 3 minutes or until caramels are melted, stirring once. Stir in peanuts. Microwave, uncovered on medium for 45 to 60 seconds more or until mixture is softened. Gently and quickly spread peanut mixture over fudge layer in pan.

4) In a 2-cup microwave-safe glass measure, combine semisweet and milk chocolate pieces. Microwave, uncovered, on 50 percent power for 2-3 minutes or until melted, stirring once or twice. Spread over peanut layer, Score into pieces while warm. Cover and chill for 2 – 3 hours or until bottom is firm. Use foil to lift candy out of pan. Cut into pieces. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

**I used 3 cups peanuts, 43 caramels, 1.25 cups milk chocolate chips, and 1.25 cups semi sweet chocolate chips**

So everything sounds simple enough, right? My picture up above looks decent, right? So here is....

The Story of A Delicious Disaster

It all started with the fact my pan wasn't the right size. I'm pretty sure it was too deep. I made my bottom later and all was good. I started on my peanut layer and all was good until I went to spread it in the pan. There wasn't enough mixture! I melted a little more caramel and add some peanuts and all was good. Before I mixed my chocolate chips I added about 1/4 cup more of each kind of chocolate chip since I had to add more peanut mixture.

So I made the candy and stuck it in the fridge. I let it sit there all night, thinking that it would be firm in the morning. When I finally pulled the dish out, I lifted the candy out of the foil and this is what I see......

The damn fudge didn't set! So I was a little upset about it and I decided to put it back in the dish (without the foil). I had M cut it for me. As soon as he stuck the knife in there and fudge part started gushing up the sides. :( He cut it anyway and we stuck it in the freezer. It tasted delicious, it was just super messy since the fudge layer didn't set. Here is a good shot of all 3 layers and you can see the fudge layer oozing around the bottom.

Here is a shot after about 1/2 the candy was devoured. You had to scape up the fudge layer. Not that that was a bad thing, it just wasn't what I expected. I'm pretty sure, the bottom layer was too thick to set. It may not have boiled enough either.

So all in all, it didn't turn out like I thought it would, but it was still good. It tastes very similar to a snickers bar. I will definitely be trying this again.... next time I'll use the correct pan!

What My Mother In Law Does Best....

Makes these awesome PB Rice Krispie Treats! In college she would make me some and all my roommates loved them. I've never met anyone who didn't like these bad boys. It was even what my husband wanted for his grooms cake at our wedding reception.

Foxy Roxy's Fabulous Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats

1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups Rice Krispies
1pkg milk chocolate chips
Combine sugar and corn syrup in a pan. Bring to boil. Add peanut butter until melted. Stir in Rice Krispies. Press into greased 9x13 pan. Top with melted chocolate chips.

The photo below is from our reception. The football in the rice krispie cake his mom made.

And here's a close up:

Doesn't this look good

It was my dinner Friday night (before the ginger soy sauce).

OK, that is all... carry on.


So, I was bored.

I was looking through my cook book before yoga and found some Peanut Butter Cookies I wanted to make. When I got home, M was visiting his G'ma at the hospital so I was bored. What better to do at 8pm on a Wednesday Night.... Bake!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Prep: 25 min Bake: 7 min per batch
Oven: 375 degrees Makes: about 36 cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-ish cup of chocolate chips*
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Granulated Sugar

1) In a large mixing bowl beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Mix in chocolate chips. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. If necessary, cover and chill dough until easy to handle.

2) Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in additional granulated sugar to coat. Place 2 inches apart on a ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten by making crisscross marks with the lines of a fork. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool.

*The original recipe doesn't call for chocolate chips. M and I have a horrible habit of eating chocolate chips and peanut butter when we are bored. I just used them to get rid of them.


New Heights In My Tiny Kitchen

Last night I did something for the first time ever.... I made candy! I was really proud of myself because this is something I had to keep an eye on. If the mixture got too hot, I was screwed, if it wasn't hot enough I was screwed. Who knew there was a such thing as thread stage, soft-ball stage, firm-ball stage, hard-ball stage, soft-crack stage, and hard-crack stage. My recipe dealt with the soft-crack stage. Anyway, this was really good, really, really good. I've decided that in the future I'll only make it when I have to bring a dish somewhere because M and I don't need to be eating all that sugar, butter, and chocolate!

Toffee Butter Crunch
Prep: 15 min Cook: 20 min Chill: 20 min Makes: 48 servings …. HA!

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon light colored corn syrup
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
½ cup finely chopped pecans or almonds, toasted

1.Line a 15x10x1 inch-baking pan with foil extending foil over edges of pan. Set pan aside.

2. Butter the sides of a 2-quart heavy sauce pan. In saucepan melt butter; add sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium – high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium; continue to boil at a moderate steady rate, stirring frequently until thermometer registers 290 soft crack stage about 15 minutes (adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil) watch carefully after 280 to prevent scorching. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Pour candy into the prepared pan, spreading quickly.

3. Let candy stand about 2 minutes or until set; sprinkle with chocolate pieces. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes or until set; sprinkle with chocolate pieces. Let stand 1 or 2 minutes. When chocolate has softened, spread over candy. Sprinkle with nuts. Chill about 20 min or until firm.

Random Thoughts:

*I was frazzled when I started making this and got out the cooking oil rather than the corn syrup. I was thisclose to pouring it in the mixture. Thank goodness I caught myself. I also forgot to toast my almonds.

*I don't see how Ms. Betty Crocker gets 48 servings from this. We maybe got 10! I guess if I want 40 servings I'll have to cut squares rather than break into pieces.

*I just used a 13x9 baking pan.

*The next candy I make will be.... Easy Candy-Bar Treats. Can't Wait!



It happened. I successfully made rice.

We don't usually cook on Sundays, it's either fend for yourself or leftovers. Tonight was no exception, we had plenty of leftovers from last night's stir fry. I didn't want the exact same meal so, I decided to give rice a shot. At first I was just planning on having good old fashioned brown rice but after reading about Jules' "fried" rice I wanted to do something similar. This gave me a chance to use my $0.50 Tupperware Veggie Steamer I bought at a garage sale last summer and the delicious Frozen Sugar Snap Peas I had.

Easy Ginger "Fried" Rice

1 Cup brown rice
Tomato (because we have a ton of them)
2 Eggs
Ginger Flavored Soy Sauce

Cooked 1 cup brown rice
Steamed and chopped carrots
Cooked and chopped frozen snap peas
Chopped tomato

Cook 2 eggs in large skillet. When eggs are almost scrambled add rice, carrots, peas, and tomato. Stir in Soy Sauce to taste. I started out with a tablespoon but added more. Heat Thorough.

Here's the final product with the stir fry:

A Candy Thermometer?

Who'd a thunk it. Ya need a candy thermometer to make candy. And why didn't I get one of these at one of my 3 bridal showers, specifically the recipe shower?

I was all set to make Toffee Butter Crunch this afternoon. I've been wanting to make it since last week but didn't have the nuts for it. (hahahah, I crack myself up) Last night I picked up some almonds at the store and this afternoon I set out all my ingredients, measure my chocolate and my sugar and then decide to read the directions. Well hell, I have to let the mixture get to a certain temp, let it boil, and then let it rise to another temp.

I guess I'll have to put this off for a little while longer. I just hope the chocolate pieces last....


The Compromised Stir Fry

Tonight was very laid back. 5:00 mass, grocery store, and dinner. Ever since Sarah mentioned stir fry, I've really been wanting it. If you know me, you know that I'm an extremely picky person. I hated stir fry up until our honeymoon in Jamaica. Since then though, I've been a convert. Before we left for Church, we did an inventory of our food. M really wanted to use a bag of frozen veggies that we've had for a while. I really wanted to use fresh veggies. Well, we all know marriage is about compromise so, we decided to use the frozen veggies and throw some fresh ones in there too.

S&M Compromise Stir Fry

-1 green bell pepper
-1 red bell pepper
-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
-1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup baby carrots
-1 bag frozen mixed veggies (ours had red potatoes, carrots, onions, green beans, and some unidentified yellowish looking veggie!?)
-1 can water chestnuts
-Soy Sauce
-Ginger flavored Soy Sauce
-1 tsp of oil
- 1lb of Beef Stew Meat

1) Saute onions in oil. Add beef and frozen veggies. Cook until veggies are no longer frozen.
2) Add fresh veggies and water chestnuts to mixture. Cook Through
3) Add a Soy Sauce to taste (we used a few "splashes")
4)Add Ginger Flavored Soy Sauce to taste (we used 9 or 10 "splashes')

Serve with rice or noodles. (I didn't feel like dealing with rice tonight so I just had the stir fry on its own). M decided he wanted some fresh corn on the cob with his. (Weird, I know)

A couple notes:
*This goes great with red wine. I had MonteVina Zinfandel. OHMYGOSH. Amazing.
*The type of Ginger Flavored Soy Sauce I used.... House of Tsang.
*Next time I'm adding baby corn. I'm so mad I forgot to buy it!


One Dish Delight

I found this recipe in my favorite Betty Crocker Cook Book. M didn't want to have anything to do with the recipe because it had the word tamale in it. Little did he know there isn't a tamale in it. (Not quite sure where the name comes from.) We both loved it. This recipe is simple but rates pretty high on my mess scale! My tiny kitchen was a disaster afterwards. I'm not quite sure why.

3 Bean Tamale Pie
Prep: 25 min Bake: 25 min Oven: 400 Makes: 6 main dish servings

Don't make fun of the "garnish"... I'll explain that in a second.

1 cup chopped green sweet pepper
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon, cooking oil
1 15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed, drained, and slightly mashed.
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed, drained, and slightly mashed.
1 15 ounce can white kidney beans, rinsed, drained, and slightly mashed.
1 6 ounce (2/3c) veggie juice
1 4 ounce can diced green chili peppers undrained
1 tsp chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 8.5 ounce package corn muffin mix
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup cilantro parsley

1) Grease a 2 quart square baking dish or 10 inch quiche dish, set aside. In a medium skilled quick sweet pepper, onion, and garlic in hot oil until tender. Stir in kidney beans, pinto beans, vegetable juice, chili peppers, chili powder, and cumin; heat through. Spoon bean mixture into prepared dish.

2) Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions: add cheese and cilantro, stirring just until combined. Spoon cornbread mixture evenly over top of bean mixture. Bake uncovered in a 400 degree oven about 25 minutes or until golden. If desired, serve with salsa or sour cream.

Ok, now on to my garnish..... M loves to garden. Since we live in an apartment and can't have a garden, he has one at his brothers house. These teeny, tiny carrots are the fruit (ha, pun intended) of his labor. He pulled a couple carrots to see how they were doin. After he ate the carrots he wanted to throw the top of them away. I wouldn't let him and used the greens to garnish my dish!