Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Taco Soup

Winter is in full force!
Hello Snow!
Hello SOUP!

Sooooooo easy to make!!

I know there are a bunch of different versions of Taco Soup floating around, but this is the one my family uses.

1 pound hamburger
1 medium onion chopped
1 15 ounce can of chili
8 ounces water
1 8 ounce tomato sauce
1 28 ounce stewed tomatoes (I use the petite diced ones)
1 15 ounce kidney beans (we were out, used black beans instead. Mmmmmmm)
1 4 ounce diced green chilies (didn't have any, totally fine to leave it out)
1 can corn
1 package taco season mix (Again, was out. So I used THIS recipe to make my own.)

Brown hamburger & onion together and drain the fat. In a large pan, add hamburger and all the other ingredients. Heat through and serve warm with shredded cheese, fritos, and sour cream on top. (We were out of fritos, they're my weakness, so we used tortilla chips.) You can also add guacamole on top, but I don't do "rottonmole". Lol.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chocolate Eclair Dessert

I made this for dessert for our family, as well as the Orange Fluff, on Sunday. Again- 10 people, 20 thumbs up!
Soooooo easy.
Super good.

Chocolate Eclair Dessert

3 packages of graham crackers, unbroken (as much as possible)
2 small instant French Vanilla puddings
3.5 cups cold milk 8-12oz cool whip
Chocolate frosting

Mix the pudding, milk, & cool whip.

Layer in a 9x13 pan-
Crackers (might have to break some to cover the bottom of the pan)
1/2 pudding mixture.
Rest of pudding mixture.
Top with chocolate frosting.

It's not the prettiest dessert, but it tastes fantastic.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Orange Fluff Jello Salad

Mmmm, jello salad!!
Yesterday, we had a Turkey Dinner at my parents house, for just because. I decided to make this Orange Fluff for everyone to try.
10 people = 20 thumbs up!
Keeping this recipe FOR SURE.
I was so bummed, I forgot to put the bananas in.... But I put extra marshmallows. Soooo yummy!
This recipe was found HERE
1 large package Cook and Serve vanilla pudding
1 large package orange jell-o
2 cups water
1 16 oz Cool-Whip (lite or fat-free is fine)
1/2 bag mini marshmallows
1 can pineapple tidbits (Any size, depending on your preference)
1 can mandarin oranges (Any size, depending on your preference)
2 bananas, sliced (Optional, put in before serving so they don't turn brown in the fridge)

Mix together pudding, Jell-o, and water over medium heat until it boils. Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Refrigerate until mixture has thickened (about an hour). Beat until creamy. Fold in Cool Whip, marshmallows, and fruit. Chill about an hour before serving.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Pancakes + Cinnamon Roll = How could I resist!? In our house, we have pancakes AT LEAST once a week. We heart our pancake goodness. Mmmmm. Plus, my 1 year old is the most picky, ding dong, little eater EVER. So, when we find something she likes, we have it a lot. Yeah....

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes with Cream Cheese Icing. *drool* These were good. Like, yummy in my tummy, have a glass of milk by you, good. The best part about taking pictures of my food is that I get to eat however many I stack... Ha. I may be 957lbs by the this time next year, but dude, so worth it.

Recipe found HERE

 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted (not boiling)
 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
 2-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
 3/4 cup powdered sugar (if you're out of powdered sugar, check out my post about how to make powdered sugar)
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 1 cup all-purpose flour
 2 teaspoons baking powder
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1 cup milk
 1 large egg, lightly beaten
 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil


Prepare the cinnamon filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a quart-sized heavy zip baggie and set it aside (see *Tips below).

Prepare the glaze: In a small pan, heat the butter over low heat until melted. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until it is almost smooth. Sift the powdered sugar into the pan, stir and add in vanilla extract. Set the pan aside while you make the pancakes.

Prepare the pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk, egg and oil, just until the batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).

Cook the pancakes: Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-heat and spray with nonstick spray. Use an ice cream scoop (or 1/3 cup measuring cup) to add the batter to the pan. Use the bottom of the scoop or cup to spread the batter into a circle (about 4-inches in diameter). Reduce the heat to medium low. Snip the corner of your baggie of cinnamon filling and squeeze the filling into the open corner. When your pancake begins to form bubbles, add the filling. Starting at the center of the pancake, squeeze the filling on top of the pancake batter in a swirl (just as you see in a regular cinnamon roll). Cook the pancake 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it's golden brown on the bottom. Slide a thin, wide metal spatula underneath the pancake and gently but quickly flip it over. Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is golden as well. When you flip the pancake onto a plate, you will see that the cinnamon filling has created a crater-swirl of cinnamon. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, and repeat with the remaining pancake batter and cinnamon filling. Re-warm the glaze briefly, if needed. Serve pancakes topped with a drizzle of glaze.


*Quick and easy tip: Use a boxed pancake mix as the base for this recipe.

*Tips for the cinnamon filling: Before swirling, open up the baggie again and give it a good stir to re-incorporate any butter that may have separated from the sugar. You want the mixture to thicken a bit- it's best when it's similar to the squeezing texture of a tube of toothpaste, which will happen if you leave it at room temperature for several minutes. Don't try to use the filling for the pancake swirl unless it has thickened as it will be too runny to make a solid swirl.

*Keep the heat low or your pancakes might cook up too quickly. Don't flip them until you see those bubbles starting to pop on top. Flip them with a wide spatula so you can grasp the whole thing without batter and filling dripping all over the place!


Would I eat these every day?? If I could still fit into my jeans, yes.
Will I actually make these every day? No, maybe once a month for a yummy treat...
Good bribery for the kids?? Possibly... Don't judge.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Make Your Own Powdered Sugar

This morning I was making breakfast, I was so excited, until I realized that I was out of powdered sugar!! Tragic, really. So I posted it on my Facebook Page and received a great suggestion, from Amber, to use the pin that tells you how to make your own powdered sugar. I had never seen it! I was pretty excited.Thanks, Amber!!
THIS is where I got the recipe from.

How to Make Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Sugar
2 tbs Corn Starch

Combine the 2 in a blender.
Turn the blender on and blend until the mixture is a powdery combination, depending on your liking.
Store final mixture in an airtight container.
Pretty simple. I probably could have blended mine a wee bit more, it was a little grainy & not as powdery as store bought, but the husband had just gone to bed, so I didn't want to disturb him too much longer.

All in all, it worked. I probably will just use this method when I'm in a pinch!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Curl Hair with a Flat Iron

I know there are a lot of tutorials on how to curl your hair with a flat iron. I have been using a flat iron to curl my hair for.... well, at least 4 years. There are a bunch of different ways to actually get a curl from a flat iron. I don't have a real "tutorial" about how to do this, if I should make a more detailed one, let me know.
For this type of curl on my daughters hair, I THIS .5in flat iron. Sectioned out about 1 inch pieces. Put the flat iron on, turned it half way (so the top was no on the bottom) and just pulled down like I was straightening her hair. Some of the curls were done with the iron held vertical (mostly the bottom ones), and some horizontal (mostly the top ones) It took us about 5 minutes to do her hair this morning. She loved it. She kept telling everyone, "Like my hair? My mommy did it. It's like a primpess hair." (primpess = princess)
Then for this curl, I used my 1 inch flat iron. I held the iron vertical, and as I was pulling out to the side, I was twisting it like a curling iron. Easy Peasy.
(This was the day my husband came home from his 14mo deployment to Afghanistan)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sugar Cookie Bowls

One of my amazing "likers" on Facebook suggested that I try a cookie bowl pin.
So, that's what I did today.
There were chocolate chip ones, meh, I didn't have chocolate chips... Then I saw a Sugar Cookie one! YAY.
They turned out pretty good.
THIS is where the recipe is from.

Sugar Cookie Bowls
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of the muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray so that each cup is evenly coated. Sift flour & salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg and extracts, beating until combined. Add the flour and salt mixture a little at a time, beating after each addition, until all the flour is incorporated.

Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thinckness. Cut out circles roughly 3.5in in diameter. Mold each circle to the bottom of the muffin tin.

Bake approximately 12 minutes, or until lighty golden brown. Allow cookies to cool for several minutes before loosening the bowls by running a knife gently around the edge of each bowl. Remove the bowls from the pan and allow to cool completely. Fill with your favorite filling and enjoy.

(These next 5 photos are just from my phone, not the best quality... I admit, I was too lazy to go downstairs to grab my camera)
My cookie cutters.
I decided to use my flower cookie cutter as well, I thought it would be cute to have a different edge.
Put it on... Cracks.. Mold away!
Time to bake.
So... They kind of squished together. I ran a knife between them and it was fine. I think nex time I might do like an every other placement...
Not too shabby...

My husband & daughters got a kick out of these.
I will be making these again one day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Decorative Blocks

For Young Women's, I wanted to do a craft with the girls. I ran across THIS one from Lil Luna, so this is what we ended up making.
I love it! I can't wait to make the 2013 theme to go right next to it!
While I had "crafting" on the brain. I decided to make blocks for my daughter's rooms. I have seen a couple pins on Pinterest about having a map up & a heart where everyone was born. Super cute, but we're boring. YAY. Haha.
So I kind of came up with something on my own.
These cutesy little things!
It's a 5x7 block.
Used Photoshop to make a 4x6 with whatever info that I wanted on it.
Mod Podged it on.
Tied some tulle.
Hooked a picture on.
Brielle helped me paint hers, she was so excited when we finished & it dried. She grabbed it and totally ran to her room to put it on her dresser. *melt my heart* I am raising a crafter! *Squeal!*

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Red Velvet Pancakes

I love me some Red Velvet Cake... Cupcakes... PANCAKES.
Include some chocolate chips & I'm sold.
This morning I wanted to make something fun for my daughters to eat for breakfast. Daddy was at drill, bummer dude, you missed out. (thank heavens for ziploc's & fridges, right?? heehee)
These were a hit, for the most part. They are very rich. YUMMMM. My 13mo almost at a whole one, but then she kept signing for "milk". I think she had her cup filled twice...

My 3 year old, she LOVED the first couple bites, but then did the same thing with asking for milk. They both ended up having cereal to finish up. BUT, an hour or so later, I spotted my 3 year old eating some from the fridge. So she really liked them, but I don't think she was use to this type of pancake.

I really liked them. I ate about 1.5 pancakes and I was done. Which is great, because I can usually pound down like 4 regular ones. I mean.... What?? Who does that... I also ended my meal with a big, tall, glass of milk. Totally worth it.

The original recipe is HERE

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups buttermilk (I didn't have buttermilk, so I searched how I could do it- Put 1 tablespoon White Vinegar in a measuring cup. Add milk until it gets to the 1 cup mark. Let sit 5 minutes. Since I needed 1.5 cups, I did 1.5tablespoons vinegar, and filled the milk up to 1.5)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons red food coloring
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (doesn’t matter what kind you use)

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, sour cream, food coloring and vanilla.
Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix just until combined.
Add chocolate chips and fold in batter.
Pour about 1/3 cup onto medium/high griddle and lightly brown on both sides.
Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and serve with maple syrup.

BAM. There you go.
You're welcome.