Hello Again

Y’all just might want to take me out back and beat me with a wet noodle, been too long since I’ve posted anything. Lots of things have happened since my last post. For starters, I’ve had a “cold” since last Friday. I put that in quotes because it’s not acting like any cold I’ve ever had before. Usually when I have a cold I’m so under the weather that I spike a fever, everything hurts, and I resort to drinking lemon ginger tea multiple times a day with organic raw honey.
Instead, I’ve just been plagued with fatigue, a sore throat that progressively gets better throughout the day until it’s late at night as I’m going to bed. Accompanied by a dry cough, and a gross amount of overly produced mucus. I know, TMI, but that’s how this blog rolls. Tuesday night I was feeling better so I got busy making brownies for the Harvest Party that my church is putting on this weekend. Wednesday I skipped my afternoon cold meds(which usually induces a nap) and baked up a pan of chocolate chip blondies and four dozen peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Everything had to be individually wrapped and ready for this weekends festivities.

While I love baking, helping, and doing my part…I probably should have skipped it this year. No regrets, but I was feeling miserable late Wednesday night. After teaching my Wednesday night class I barely had any voice left, my throat felt raw, and my dry cough got progressively worse as the night wore on. This morning when I woke up I didn’t get out of bed for two hours. I just laid there, any speck of energy that was in me was pretty much gone. But I did manage to pry myself out of bed. It was insane just how much effort it actually took. Of course, having an 80 pound dog pinning you in didn’t help any…but I would never blame sweet Spotty ๐Ÿ™‚

The other bit of news, aside from me being under the weather, is that as of last Thursday I am now an Independent Jamberry Consultant. Since Sunday I have had my launch party going on on Facebook, it’s called Under Wraps Launch Party.

20141019_155652000_iOS

Click the above picture to visit the event that is opened only to those in the USA and Canada.

Reason it’s only open to those two countries is because Jamberry doesn’t sell or ship to other countries. So far there’s been a bit of a turn out. But I would love to extend the invite out to all of you ๐Ÿ™‚ There are games, prizes, and deals. Such as Buy 3 Get 1 Free, this is the most popular deal going on right now. A $60 value for $45. Once I get more established I’ll be able to offer deals such as Buy 3 Get 2 Free or 3 Free, free tax, free shipping, etc. I am looking forward to not only doing that but also signing up interested ladies in doing online parties. It’s so fun! I do all the work and you reap the hostess rewards. Invite your friends, family, and coworkers, we play games, they place their orders and everyone has a wonderful time! Looking for interested hostesses for November ๐Ÿ™‚ Think about it in the meantime.

And then I’ve also been busy gathering up things to list on Posh Mark. Don’t know what that is? It’s a website/app where you can list clothing, shoes, jewelry, handbags, toys, children’s clothes, and so on. There a lot of great deals on there, designer labels going for steal.
I’m not a fashionista/designer person(I’m more of a “If it’s clean and I can button it, I’ll wear anything” kind of gal), but when I see a listing for a Coach bag that was originally $400 going for $95,ย  yeah that’s pretty darn good in my book! I do have a few listings on there, if you know of any plus size ladies in need of some shirts, cardigan, or an unworn triple tier dress, please send them to my Posh Closet (<–click). I have a few more items to put up just haven’t had the energy to do it recently. Even some kids items which will make great Christmas presents.

So, in a nutshell I’m “sick”, I have an at home job(aside from blogging and being a Mom…hopefully this one will pay), listing items to sell, and oh yes taking pictures of food that I’ve yet labeled or shared. I have NOT forgotten about those ๐Ÿ™‚ Bear with me. This next week is going to be busy for me as well, my church is having a Missions Conference starting Wednesday night and I want to be there every night since a dear family is going to be leaving in December to be missionaries in Italy. Sure gonna miss them! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
I’ll get my recipes up asap, I’ve got some good ones that I think you all would enjoy! Things such as a Frito Chili Pie, Loaded Baked Potato Soup(that even my picky eater ate and had two servings, huge shocker), and a Creamy Tortellini Soup. Tis’ the season for soups ๐Ÿ˜‰

Alrighty, back to your normal lives citizens!

thumbnail.asp

Advertisements

Pumpkin Banana Nut Bread *UPDATED*

20141014_172556000_iOS

Afternoon everyone! A couple of weeks ago I asked everyone on Facebook and Instagram what their favorite pumpkin recipe was. Sadly, only one person responded BUT her response was the best one I think I’ve ever made!

On Instagram a dear friend Melissa suggested a pumpkin banana nut bread. I asked her if she had a specific recipe for it or if I should just fly by the seat of my pants…and fly away I did! I looked around for a 5 star recipe, and sure enough I scored a delicious, delectable, and delightful quick bread recipes from the test kitchen of Nestle. It’s moist and it’s received raved reviews from those who purchased the mini loaves and muffins from me. Everyone loves the combination of the pumpkin and banana, and quite honestly I never would have thought to have put the two together! I can’t thank Melissa enough for suggesting it!!

Alright, enough blubbering… y’all just want me to get to the recipe already ๐Ÿ˜›
I did take a few liberties with the recipe. I don’t keep canned pumpkin(butternut squash) in the house. We process fresh pumpkin, or try to, every year. So I took out the fresh pumpkin from the freezer(2 cups worth) and let it thaw. Just like I do for the Amish banana bread recipe that my Mom has used for as long as I can remember, I let the banana’s get as ripe as I possibly could. And this particular quick bread recipe called for 4 tsp cinnamon. Now, I personally love to use a Chinese cinnamon called Cassia. It’s a very pungent cinnamon and a little goes a long way. Naturally I cut that back as well, but if you’re using a store bought cinnamon you may want to use the full 4 tsp amount. But I leave that up for you to decide, you all know how much cinnamon you can handle ๐Ÿ™‚

Pumpkin Banana Nut Bread

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 78 minutes

Makes: 24 slices (12 slices per loaf)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY’Sยฎ 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 medium) very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 350ยบ F. Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin, eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, bananas and vegetable oil in large mixer bowl; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture; stir in nuts. Spoon into prepared loaf pans.

BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

20141011_211049755_iOS

There is enough batter to make four mini loaves and 6 muffins(or two large loaves as suggested in the original recipe). I think the muffins turned out perfectly! I have enough ingredients that I plan to make more and this time add a streusel topping(per my Mom’s request)!
You can certainly use muffin papers if you like, it does make for easier clean up. If you do choose to do muffins, don’t bake them any longer than 20 minutes. The mini loaves were done in about 52 minutes or there about. I tested each one with a sharp knife, if it came out clean then it was time to take them out. It really is an easy recipe, and with the fresh pumpkin you’ll need to drain it slightly. I just placed the pulp in a mesh strainer over a bowl in the sink and gently moved the pumpkin around to help it drain faster. You’re not going for a dry consistency, you just want it less soupy.

AND These freeze up nicely too! If you want to make several batches before the Thanksgiving holiday and give them out as gifts, just be sure to wrap them up in plastic wrap, foil, place in a freezer back(remove all the air), wrap in freezer paper and if you want to make sure to preserve the freshness place them in food saver bags before freezing. Sounds like a crazy way to freeze them but trust me, it works! Just be sure to let them thaw out completely before gifting in a pretty wrap with a bow and tag!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe, it has become a family favorite for us!

Have a blessed day!!

 

****

UPDATE!

Yesterday I had to use up the remaining bananas, they were oh so ripe! I followed the above recipe to a certain point. With the exception to adding the nuts into the batter. I left those out and put the batter in a greased and floured pan. I went ahead and used one of the large aluminum casserole pans to fit all the batter. So what did I do with the nuts?!

10645126_10152731640049014_190871666787026337_n

Yep, I went there! I added the nuts to a streusel topping ๐Ÿ˜€ For. The. Win.

Nut Streusel Topping

1 stick butter, softened

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup oats

1 cup chopped nuts

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl using a fork your fingers. Sprinkle over the cake batter and bake until cake tester comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

20141016_020845377_iOS

Enjoy!!

To freeze or not freeze…that is up to you!

Hello my lovelies!

Thought I would refresh everyone on how easy it is to freeze leftovers ๐Ÿ™‚ If there is anything I love more it’s on a day when I don’t feel like cooking dinner and be able to go to the freezer to grab a yummy leftover. Makes for easy clean up as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

A couple of weeks ago I threw together a crock pot pork loin meal that the fam just went to town on it! I honestly wasn’t too sure about it at first because the flavor wasn’t something I hadn’t ever paired with pork before. It worked out really well and has proven to be a keeper, tried, true, and oh so yummy!

 

20141010_171228000_iOS

Crock Pot Onion Mushroom Pork Loin and Mashed Potatoes

2–3 pound pork tenderloin

1/2 cup water

1 small onion, chopped

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1 1/2 packets lipton onion soup mix

Mashed Potatoes with a Country Gravy

In a large crock pot(I used my 7qt crock) add in water and half a packet of lipton onion soup mix. Sprinkle in chopped onion and place your pork loin on top. Add the mushrooms around the pork loin. Sprinkle the remaining soup mix over the pork loin, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Just before serving, slice into medallions and spoon the au juย  over the meat. Prepare your mashed potatoes, gravy and serve alongside a medallion of pork with a spoon au ju sauce and mushrooms.

To Freeze:

Properly label a quart size bag with the name of the contents. Don’t forget the date you are putting it in to freeze. I usually stick with the month and year. When loading the bag I like to place the meat in first followed by the leftover gravy and mashed potatoes. Flatten out making sure to squeeze out as much air as you can. Freeze for up to three months.

Reheating:

Place the frozen meal pack in the microwave and depending on the power of your microwave you can either nuke on high for 1 minute or defrost according to the weight of the package. You’re just wanting to do it long enough to loosen it up from the package. Place in a microwave safe container and finish cooking for 2–3 minutes until completely heated through. Re-season potatoes and gravy if needed. You can certainly reheat this on the stove top if you prefer.

 

Even if you choose to not freeze the leftovers, this recipe is just as yummy the next day. My Dad was very impressed with the pork loin, might be his new favorite way to eat it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a blessed day!!

“I’m not a morning person…you don’t say!”

Good morning!!! It’s not too often that I’ll make something for a Sunday morning. There is usually very little time for me to do so, but G–Man has been requesting pancakes lately. I’m not a morning person…you don’t say! As if anyone here has missed the memo on that lol!! Sunday mornings I’m doing good just to get up and get ready for church. So G–Man asked me, why don’t you make breakfasts on Sunday morning? Apparently he had heard from another boy in his Sunday School class that his mom woke up early every Sunday to make waffles for them. In my head I thought well that’s great for them (note, I can be very sarcastic and a lot of the time I don’t voice it because it can be mean or rude…I don’t mean to be that way it is a knee jerk response though). I told him that I’m not a morning person to begin with, it’s not easy for me to get up before the crack of dawn. His solution of course, go to bed sooner and get up earlier. Oh sweet child of mine!

If only it worked that way! Instead I made a compromise, I told him that Saturdays could be the mornings that I make a special breakfast and any leftovers can be had for the next day! He agreed and I get to sleep in an additional hour now on Sunday mornings. I know that probably doesn’t paint me in a very good light, his childhood is fleeting I get this, he’s 10 going on 25 and knows everything. I should be more willing to get up before the sun and make those memories with him but honestly I just can’t do it. I’m lucky most nights if I can even get to bed before 4am. The hardcore truth is that my insomnia is getting worse and it is taking its toll on me. No matter how hard I try or how exhausted I feel, when I get into bed my brain will not for the life of me shut off. I’m thinking about everything I need to do, things I should have done but forgot about, projects I’d like to accomplish before the month/year is out(btw, there are 9 Fridays till Christmas as of today). Throughout the day my mind is like sludge but at night it comes alive and won’t turn off. I’ve lived up the the night owl name for quite some time but I would like to get some sleep and what little I get I’m not too eager to relinquish so quickly.

Everyone thinks they have to keep up with the Joneses, well folks I am a Jones(no seriously, that’s my maiden name) and I’m moving at snail speed through thick peanut butter, feel free to pass on by ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll most likely hold ya up. In the end, I don’t let what others are doing get me down. We all living our own lives, creating our own memories with our families. We can’t all be the same! But you have to do what is best for your crew(family). After explaining this to G–Man he’s content to let me have what little precious sleep I can get and enjoy what memories we can make. Besides, I’ve never been one to do what everyone else is doing. I’m a go against the flow kind of gal ๐Ÿ˜‰

In honor of G–Man and our Saturday brunch together, here’s a recipe that we made. Hope you enjoy!

20141010_165757000_iOS

Sausage Pancake Patties

(Basic Buttermilk Pancake recipe can be found HERE)

8–10 sausage patties

1 recipe for Basic Buttermilk Pancakes

Fry up the sausage patties and place on paper towels to drain. Don’t throw out the sausage grease, but add a little vegetable oil to it and reduce the burner temp to medium to get the oil heated. Follow the recipe for the buttermilk pancakes. Dip each sausage patty in the batter. It will be thick, you might be tempted to stir it till it’s runny. Please don’t do that, you want the batter to be foamy, this is what will give you the lighter pancake. Just carefully coat the sausage patties in the batter and place in the hot oil. Fry till they are golden brown and place on a paper towel lined plate. Serve with your favorite syrup, fruit compote and morning beverage!

20141004_174819952_iOS

We’re fans of 100% Maple Syrup ๐Ÿ˜€

We. Loved. This! If you have leftover batter, which I had enough to make a couple of pancakes, just cook it up on a hot griddle and freeze once cooled. Makes for a nice breakfast the next day! Pop it in the toaster oven and enjoy with butter, syrup or jam.

Have a blessed Saturday!!

Cornbread Chili Casserole and Caramel Apple Crisp

Afternoon everyone, I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything. It’s been a crazy recovery since September. I certainly do have a backlog of posts I need to share with you all, and what better one to start with than the cornbread chili casserole and caramel apple crisp!!

Y’all know I’m always on the prowl for food inspiration, even when I have a pretty good idea how something can go, I still like to see if someone else has done it with success. I’m weird that way ๐Ÿ˜‰ Let me just preface this in saying, my Mom makes THE best chili and cornbread in all the 50 states. She learned from the best, who had learned from the best and so on ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not the least bit biased hehe!! Well, I got it into my head that those two needed to be put together in a big ol’ pan just because. Now putting these two together is not anything new, just do a google search and you’ll find oodles of recipes that put together chili and cornbread. Why is mine worthy to blog about? Perhaps it’s not, but the family thought it was pretty amazing and left only two servings in the pan afterwards(even G–Man ate some, huge shocker). But hopefully on those chilly fall/wintery nights when your family is sick of having another pan of soup you’ll consider making this version and win them over ๐Ÿ™‚

20141010_163324000_iOS

This is by far the easiest meal I’ve made yet, bakes up in 20 minutes and can be made as spicy as you like…or not! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cornbread Chili Casserole

For the Chili:

2 pounds ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans black beans, one drained

2 Tblsp chili powder

1 Tblsp Spanish paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp oregano(or more if you like)

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 cup shredded cheese(Mexican blend is nice)

For the Cornbread

1 cup flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 Tblsp + 1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tblsp sugar

1 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a dutch oven pan, brown ground beef with onions and garlic. Drain fat if needed. Add in black beans, chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and oregano. Let simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. If mixture seems a tad loose(almost soupy) sprinkle in a little instant potatoes. It won’t alter the flavor and will thicken the mixture up perfectly! Spoon into a lasagna pan, spread out evenly and top with shredded cheese.

In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add in milk, vegetable oil and egg. Whisk briskly until completely combined. Pour over cheese layer, smoothing out to the edges and corner with the back of a spoon or spatula. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and somewhat bubbling around the edges. Serve with sour cream if desired.

Yields 8-10 servings

 

20141006_225539219_iOS

My Dad grew up having desserts almost every night, and while I wasn’t raised that way I do indulge him occasionally. Seeing that it’s apple season I went looking for a quick and easy dessert and thankfully I found one! Chow (dot com) has a very tasty apple crisp recipe with an oatmeal streusel topping. I just took it a step further and added a caramel drizzle over the top.ย  I didn’t have 2 1/2 pounds of granny smith apples, I had about three of them and several gala apples. It worked out nice in the end and is now one of G–Man’s favorite desserts! SCORE!! I’ll share the original recipe below since the website is acting all wonky on my computer. Not sure if it’s my system or the website. But I’ll post my changes/additions afterwards.

20141010_163557000_iOS(1)

Easy Apple Crisp

(Original recipe from Chow.com)

2 1/2 pounds medium Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples (about 5 or 6), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces, plus more for coating the dish

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oven to 350ยฐF and arrange a rack in the middle. Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter.

Combine the apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl and toss to coat. Place the apple mixture in the prepared baking dish and set aside.

Using the same bowl as for mixing the apples, mix together the brown sugar, oats, flour, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt until evenly combined. With your fingertips, blend in the butter pieces until small clumps form and the butter is well incorporated, about 2 minutes.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples and bake until the streusel is crispy and the apples are tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool on a rack at least 30 minutes before serving.

 

20141006_235252532_iOS

***NOK’S Touch***

Instead of thinly slicing the apples, chop the apples into bite size pieces. I left the salt out of the sugar and cinnamon mixture on purpose because I use salted butter when I bake. If you use unsalted butter by all means add in the salt. I even cut back on the cinnamon by 1/4 tsp because we use an imported cinnamon which is very strong. A little goes a long way!

I added the Breyer’s caramel ice cream sauce(comes in a soft black squeeze pouch, we use this one specifically because there is no high fructose corn syrup in it) after I pulled the crisp out of the oven. No need to poke holes or drag a knife through it, just let it cool with the caramel sauce on top till it’s warm and serve with vanilla ice cream. Simple!

This dessert was definitely a hit and a keeper! There wasn’t any left, I’m not surprised ๐Ÿ˜€ If you like, you could certainly add golden raisins or dried unsweetened cranberries to the apples(or both). Instead of apples, try this with peaches for a peach crisp (which is another favorite of my Dad’s)!

 

Hope you all have a blessed weekend!!