Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oh Noooo!!!

It started with Hannah in the middle of the of the night. I hoped it was just a fluke. She puked a couple times and slept most of the day.. Then this afternoon Heather says "Mommy, my tummy isn't feeling so good". At 4:30 Justin calls me sounding grave asking me to come pick him up from his friends house.. he's apparently been puking all night and day but waited that long to tell me and come home.. At dinner, when asked why he wasn't eating his favorite chinese orange chicken Jason responds "I don't know, my stomach doesn't feel right". They are all running fevers, they are all starting to puke.. Just waiting for Andy to catch it.

It's official. We have The Plague at our house. This is no good. NO GOOD! All I know is, I've got a wedding to go to Saturday morning, so they better keep their cooties away from me!! lol

Potato Salad

I tried a new potato salad this weekend and really loved it. It was way different than anything I'd ever tried before, but I knew reading it that it was going to give me that tangy sweet punch that my potato salad has always been lacking, much to my dismay.

I started by boiling several whole potatos (about 5 or 6 l bs worth).. once the skins started to loosen and a fork inserted into them easily I drained them and had the husband peel the skins off the potatos (Hey, he's a mechanic and his fingers are tougher against heat than mine are hehe).. While waiting for the potatos to cool I boiled 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1 cup of sugar and one cup of water, then let it cool. Once the vinegar mixture and the potatoes had cooled down a bit, I diced the potatoes into big chunks, placed them in a large bowl and poured the vinegar marinade over them and set the whole thing into the fridge for several hours (at least 7 or 8).

When I was ready to mix up the potato salad, I drained the potatoes and let them sit in a colander for a little while so they would drained really well. I finely diced up some yellow onion, threw it into a bowl with about half a cup of sweet pickle relish and a couple ribs of finely diced celery(next time I will omit the celery, I just wasn't digging it like I thought I would). Then I tossed the potatoes in with these things, sprinkled about a teaspoon of onion powder, half a teaspoon of celery salt, a teaspoon of paprika, and some freshly ground black pepper over the top. I added about a teaspoon of honey dijon mustard, and somewhere between 3/4-1 cup of light mayo (I *am* on a diet you know lol) and mixed it all together. Left it in the fridge overnight and let me tell ya.. WOW!!! I just adored it! The marinade really gave the potatoes a sweet tangy-ness that I just have always tried to get when making potato salad, but until now had never achieved.

Hmmm, haven't made cinny rolls in a while

So Jason is having his little sleepover on Saturday night... I was just gonna have them eat cereal for breakfast.. but what's the fun in that?! So then today I'm thinking "Hmmm, I haven't made cinnamon (aka cinny) rolls in a while.. maybe I should make those for the sleepover!

So now the seed has been planted. I'm on a sinful food high from last night's adventure with fried chicken and bacon baked beans... I mean why not?! LOL I use The Pioneer Woman's recipe for cinnamon rolls, with a few modifications.. Like I add some vanilla to the milk after I scald it and let it cool down, and most of my family and friends like cream cheese frosting over the maple coffee icing that PW uses, and I like brown sugar in the filling as opposed to white. Oh and as much as I adore butter (hell I named my cat Butter because I love the stuff so much lol), I don't put quite as much melted butter in mine as PW does... I tried putting as much as she says to one time and it all poured off the dough onto my table, so I deemed it just a tad too much. LOL

So yeah, I've pretty much talked myself into it now.. I'm thinking cinny rolls are on the menu for Jason's sleepover. He's gonna be so excited!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sinful Yumminess

MMMMMMMMMM Nothing like breading up some chicken thighs with a double coating of buttermilk and seasoned flour and frying them up in your big cast iron skillet.

Baked beans with meat candy, aka bacon, on top. The sister-in-law left her bacon in whole strips, I decided to chop mine up so that when serving it was easy for everyone to get some bacon. I liked it this way.

My plate of yumminess. You have NO idea how difficult it was to stop long enough to take the pic.. I wanted to dive right in! lol The biscuits were only so-so. I cheated and bought a can of them, since I didn't even get to the grocery store until 5:45pm and therefore didn't start cooking until after 7. There was just not enough time for homemade biscuits.. I wish there had been.. they would have been way better. The potato salad is leftover from yesterdays picnic at the lake. I need to sit down and write down that recipe and get it up.. it was really yummy.

And I did indeed top my evening off with a small bowl of Coconut Fudge icecream from Blue Bell. It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal. :)

Wantonly Behaviour

I'm making fried chicken as I type this. Not oven fried weight watchers friendly chicken.. Deep fried double coated crispy crunchy wantoness. MMMMMMMMMM Also making some more baked beans.. and gonna finish off the potato salad. woot! lol

And for dessert... Coconut fudge icecream from Blue Bell. Yeah Baby. Packin on the pounds tonight!! haha

Fun in the sun

Okay, so I spent WAYYY too much money this weekend.. But we really had a blast. I even caved and let my kids jump off the dock. And not only did I let them.. I egged them on chanting their names or "DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!" like the mom in that commercial for laundry soap. LOL

Everyone was super impressed with my rainbow cupcakes.. they were "oohed and ahhed" by all who ate them.

Oh and my new potato salad recipe.. WAYYY yummy! Definitely gonna do the marinate in vinegar and sugar thing to the cooked potatoes again. Oh and I took the baked beans that my sis in law made.. everyone else agreed.. most awesome baked beans ever. LOL

And to sum up how I felt about things today..

Today was hot. But the beer was cold. Amen. lol

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Oh yeah.. how I did them

When I do tie dye cupcakes, we just spoon different colors of batter into the cupcake liners because it doesn't matter how messed up or swirly it is, since you're gonna swirl the colors together with a toothpick anyway... but for these I wanted the layers to be perfectly flat, with no smudges up the sides of the liners (which happens often when you are putting batter in with a spoon).. So I came up with a much easier way.. may even start doing tie dye cupcakes this way... I filled disposible icing bags up with cake batter, before snipping the end (since it pours right out).... twisted the top and secured it with a twisty tie (so no batter squeezed out the top, I do this with frosting as well).. Then snipped the end of the bag off and squeezed the batter into the liners, making sure to go around the edge really well with each color first (so the outer appearance of the cupcake was perfect straight lines in a rainbow pattern) then filled in the center. It worked like a charm! I'm very pleased with this technique, both in how easy it was and how pretty they turned out. :)

Rainbow Cupcakes

Isn't this just adorable!?! I can't wait for H&H to see them tomorrow! And my niece, Jozi, is gonna be so impressed.. She loves all my creative colored cakes and makes the tie dyed cakes I showed her how to do all the time. :)

And now that potato salad is made and cupcakes are frosted and sprinkled (thanks to my sous chef, Andyboo) I am gonna try and get a couple hours of sleep before tomorrows long day of fun. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

BBQs, Groceries, and Cupcakes

Whew what a day!

After a night of little to no sleep, because it felt like someone was stabbing me in the left eye with an icepick... I had such a lonnnnng day. A good day.. but long.

Went to the in-laws for a BBQ.. The Husband's sister made the *best* baked beans I've ever put in my mouth.. and considering I make pretty freakin good baked beans.. that's sayin' something! She put slices of bacon all across the top.. MMMMMMMMMMM It was like meat candy. Heavenly! The kids got pelted with water balloons.. lots of fun. hehe

It was a fun BBQ, but by the time evening started setting in and the sun went down, my energy went with it.. I was NOT looking forward to having to go to the grocery store to get all the things we needed for tomorrow's lake party. But I went anyway. Even managed to find myself a CUTE strapless black dress thats really long. I like it a lot. Oh and a lipstick that I'm in love with. Tried out a brand that I saw Pioneer Woman talking about on her blog. She's right.. it's pretty great lipstick and at 5 bucks, it's a pretty great deal. Got the biggest container of cheeto balls I've ever seen. Justin went nuts over it. LOL

By the time I left the grocery store, I was WIPED OUT. So you know what I did? I went to Mickie D's and got myself a "Frappa-fuckin=ccino" and felt zero guilt about the calories. I say "Frappa-fuckin-ccino" because I was talking to my sis in law on the phone as I was deciding that I needed something to drink and told her that's what I was gonna get and didn't feel guilty about because it was late, I was tired, and I still had rainbow cupcakes to make. She laughed hysterically at my ability to insert the "F word" into any multi-syllable word. haha

So I got home, made the two boys that were still awake help me unpack the groceries and made the dang cupcakes. Said two boys "helped" make the cupcakes.. LOL They actually did help a bit.. they held the icing bags open for me as I poured cake batter into them so it wouldn't get everywhere.. and HAD to help squeeze food color into the cake batter. LOL

We just took them out of the oven a minute ago.. and the tops aren't solid red like I'd hope.. we'd kinda ran out of cake batter by the time we got to the red. Oops. LOL However, when we lifted a cupcake out of the pan, they were perfectly striped.. and we had a group hug and "high-fived" each other several times at our collective baking genius and assured one another that once we covered the tops with a fluffy cloud of icing, no one would know they weren't perfect anyway. haha And besides.. they taste awesome and that's all that really matters anyway, right? LOL

Its been a very long day.. and I'm ready for bed.. but I still gotta make that potato salad, wait for the cupcakes to cool and get them iced.. THEN I can take my tired booty to bed.

Friday, May 27, 2011

And I was right..


He ordered a hamburger. haha

I had a quandry going in.. See I have been having a wild love affair/obsession with chili rellanos lately. Like I can't get enough. Need them every Friday. I don't normally request Mexi food.. but lately.. oh yeah. Need the rellanos. So I had this problem.. Do I get a rellano or do I get the much loved veggie enchiladas with boom boom sauce. And do you know what? They had a vegetarian lovers plate with one of each! Woot!! I was a most happy girl! :) And so freaking full. LOL

For dinner I made the twinsies their blueberry pancakes, sausage, hashbrowns and homemade blueberrry syrup.. and restrained myself to 1 pancake, 1 sausage and 1 hashbrown. My self control should be commended.

Speaking of self control. Yesterday I ate ONE bite of a chocolate covered donut and then walked away. Now that is some serious self control. I deserve an award or something.

That's all for now.. I'm off to kick some ass on my kingdoms of camelot game over on facebook. haha

My last lunch date Friday :(

Until September. :((( Dave and I have a standing lunch date every Friday during the school year. But today is the last day of school.. so this is it for a while. I've decided that we need to go out with a "boom" and go to Chuy's.. A local Tex-Mex place that is funky and yummy. They have this special queso-type sauce called "boom boom sauce". And let me tell you. All is right in this world when you put that in your mouth. Its spicy, its creamy, its YUMMY. I usually comes on chicken enchiladas that they call "chicka chicka boom boom" (how cute is that name?).. but for myself... I like to order it over the veggie enchiladas.. a little bit healthy, a whole lotta naughty. I'm pretty excited.

Jason has always wanted to go to Chuy's.. infact I can remember him asking, on more than one occasion, "Mom when are we ever going to go eat at Chuy's?" My answer is usually "When the sky opens up and starts raining money".. Because it's yummy, but not exactly cheap. But since I started homeschooling him, he's been going on the Friday Lunch Date's with The Husband and me. So today he finally at last gets his wish. We shall eat at Chuy's. Bet you anything he orders a hamburger or something. LOL

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Strawberry Cake

My mother in law made me this cake many years ago for my birthday.. it was so good, it set my gall bladder off and I ended up in the hospital having surgery. LOL Since I don't have a gall bladder anymore, I think it's safe to have this cake again. The husbands family is having a little BBQ for the twins and Jason's birthday this Saturday and I requested that she make it for them. The recipe is too yummy not to share, so here it is! :)

1 box white cake mix
3/4 cup veggie oil
1 box strawberry jello
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
2/3 of a 10 oz package frozen strawberries, thawed

Mix ingredients seperately then beat for 4 mins. and bake in a greased 9x13 cake pan for 30 mins.

1 stick of butter
1 box powdered sugar
rest of the strawberries

Stir together until well mixed and pour over cooled cake.

Attempt to control yourself. But it will be impossible, because it's just That. Damn. Good.

P.S. Look at me, I barely post for over a year and I've posted like 3 times today alone. LMAO

Mimi's Wedding cake

I did this cake back in March, for my dear friend Mary Ann's wedding. She was very happy with it.. The bottom tier was an irish cream cake, and the top tier was raspberry swirl with raspberry filling. The frosting was buttercream, and the decorations were real flowers I picked up less than an hour before the wedding, and put on the cake literally 15 mins before the ceremony started. LOL We were running a bit behind that morning. haha Its hard to see, but I sprinkled the entire cake with green edible glitter, since the wedding was held on St. Patricks Day. Lots of fun!!

My fave pic of it, even though the lighting is bad, is probably this one.. of her 2 year old daughter, Lily, swiping a finger full of icing just as I was snapping the pic :)

Rose Cake

I got this idea from iambaker's blog. LOVE her. She's contributing to the delinquency of a dieter.. but that's why I love her. lol Anyway, I took this cake to a bridal shower/bachelorette party last weekend and people went nuts over it. I have to say, I am pretty impressed with myself for creating it. The best part was that it tasted even better than it looked. Moist rich lemon cake with blueberry cream cheese filling between 3 layers of said lemon cake. To. Die. For. Seriously. The frosting was a sweet buttercream. Didn't go with french buttercream for this one because I needed a frosting that would set up and crust well, because those roses use a LOT of frosting and get heavy. The technique was pretty simple.. big open star tip (1M size from wilton) done in a swirl around the center point. Easy Peasy! The hardest part was starting the next flower the appropriate distance away from the first, so the roses fit together properly. But once I figured that out (and I only had to scrape one flower to figure it out, woot!) I was on a roll and had this thing decorating in under 15 mins. I'm pretty happy with it. Definitely going to do this again. :)

Happy Birthday H&H!!!

Its my twin princesses 9th birthday today :) Hard to believe we've come so far since they were 2lbs and in the NICU. Sassy sweet little girls that I love so much. Can't wait to make their rainbow cupcakes this weekend! :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pretty Girls 9th Bday,

H&H turn 9 on Thursday. They are pretty excited :) I'm planning a little soiree at the lake. I'm thinking rainbow cupcakes this year.. I found a pic of some on allrecipes.com the other day and they are just too cute. A lot like my tye dye cupcakes, but instead of swirling the colored cake batter all together, you just layer it in the cupcake in the rainbow order of colors.. Top with some fluffy frosting and some sprinkles and they'll be cute as a button.. or rainbow. LOL

For the menu I'm *really* wanting to try out this potato salad recipe that I found on allrecipes (really love that site, yes I do).. It calls for soaking the cooked potatoes in sugar and vinegar for 12 hours in the fridge, then draining them and adding all the rest of the stuff. Could be weird, could be awesome.. I need to find out which it is. :P BBQ always goes great with potato salad.. How much money we got left will determine what kind of BBQ it will be.. might be cheap chicken.. but I'd really love to do some pulled pork or maybe ribs. Or maybe burgers. The girls do love burgers. Hmmm. That might be the route we take. Add potato chips for the punk kids that don't like potato salad and we'll have a good meal. :)

Have NO clue what they want for a present. None what-so-ever.. Jason, who's birthday is next Friday has told me he wants half a dozen different (way expensive) things..but the pretty girls just want to know what their cake is gonna look like. lmao Funny girls. So much like me, food is always the most important thing. LOL They could use some new clothes, so maybe I'll get them some summer dresses and such. Or a game that's just for them to play on the wii or xbox. Hmm I will have to ask them if they had anything in mind.

As for Jason.. he wants a sleep over party. We'll prolly do something simple like totinos pizza rolls.. And that 14 layer cake I posted about. MMMMMM His friends will be most impressed.

And after this.. I don't got another birthday till MINE in October. haha :)

Meatball Sammiches

Jason is super stoked. Tonight we're having meatball subs with homemade turkey meatballs. I make meatballs at least once a week, for spaghetti.. but this week I decided we should change out the noodles for sub rolls and the parm for provolone. Not all my kids love spaghetti the way I do (still not sure I took the right baby home from the hospital because of this).. But they all LOOOOVE meatball sammiches. So tonight I shall make them all happy happy.

My meatballs are super duper easy.

1 package sweet italian turkey sausage links, casings removed (you could do this with regular pork italian sausage.. but I'm on the weight watchers train for the umpteenth time so we do the turkey)
2 pieces of toast ground up in the food processor (or you could go with 1/2 cup breadcrumbs.. but I keep forgetting the dang breadcrumbs at the store)
a splash of wine (like an ounce or so.. not a ton, but enough to make you feel good about yourself)
1 egg, beaten
some garlic pepper (yeah, idk how much.. like a teaspoon maybe? I really should measure things, but where's the fun in that)
some dried oregano (again, I outta measure this, it's prolly a teaspoon or so)
some fresh basil (haha are you seeing a theme here? this is prolly more like a tablespoon or two)

Mixy Mixy this all up with your hands, and roll into little meatballs.. Bake them off in the oven at 425, until they are golden brown (throw a sheet of parchment paper on the cookie sheet to make your life a LOT easier when removing them) . I really am not sure how long I bake them.. I just watch them.. when they are golden, they come out and go for a swim in the sauce. If I had to guess, I would say around 10 mins. Usually it takes the same amount of time to bake the meatballs as it does to make up the sauce.. so that's my time measurement.

The sauce.. is simple. Start with an onion and 5 or 6 cloves garlic that you've finely diced and browned up in some olive oil with a little salt and pepper. When they are nice and translucent you add the tomatoes. Tomato Puree. Not tomato sauce. I don't like tomato sauce. Sorry to any tomato sauce lovers out there.. but I think it's grody. I just do. So, tomato puree.. and if you use the sauce, just don't tell me about it, okay?.. then add in a a couple teaspoons of dried oregano, a big ole handful of chopped fresh basil.. a couple tablespoons of sugar.. and you are in business my friends! If you're feeling frisky (and I usually am) and the wine is still out (why wouldn't it still be out, you know you're drinking it).. deglaze those onions and garlic with a bit of wine before throwing the tomatoes into the pot. Check your seasonings for salt and pepper, and voila! You have homemade sauce that your homemade meatballs can swim in!!f Let them swim in the sauce with a lid over the pot for 10 mins or so (this is when I cook the noodles) with the heat on medium heat.. so all the flavors can marry, and the meatballs can soak up some of that lovely sauce.. Whether you put those meatballs and sauce on some nice cooked spaghetti and top with a little parm... or shove them between a big soft sub sammich roll and top with a slice of provolone.. is up to you. Either way.. you will have a happy crowd. Unless they don't like meatballs. In which case, find a new crowd. :D

This is yummy. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

14 layer cake.. pretty sure i gotta do this soon

Servings: Makes 16–20 servings
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs , at room temperature
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder , preferably Dutch process
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , cut up
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Pecan halves, for garnish
Position racks in the center and bottom third of the oven and preheat to 375°. Lightly butter four 8 1/2- to 9-inch cake pans (you will bake the cakes in three batches) and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Flour the pans and tap out the excess.

To make the layers, sift together the sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Sift the mixture one more time, and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle blade on high speed until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and be sure the mixture is well-blended. On low speed, add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the milk, beginning and ending with the flour, and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl often with a rubber spatula. Beat in the vanilla. Using a scant cup for each layer, spread the batter evenly in the pans. It will make a thin layer.

Staggering the pans on the racks so they are at least 2 inches from each other and the sides of the oven and not directly over each other, bake the layers until they feel firm when pressed in the centers and are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pans, about 12 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Invert the layers onto cake racks, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely. Wash and prepare the pans. Repeat the procedure until all 12 layers have been baked and cooled.

To make the icing, bring the sugar, cocoa, butter and evaporated milk to a full boil in a large saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the icing has thickened slightly (it will resemble chocolate syrup but will thicken as it cools), about 3 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Let the icing cool until thick enough to spread, but still pourable.

Place a layer of cake on a wire rack set over a jelly-roll pan. Spread with a few tablespoons of the icing, letting the excess run down the sides. Stack the remaining cakes, icing each layer. Pour the remaining icing over the top of the cake. If you wish, smooth the icing on the edges to cover the sides. Place pecan halves around the top perimeter of the cake. Let stand until the glaze sets. (The cake is best served the day it is made. To store, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day.)

Recommended technique: If you buy inexpensive aluminum foil cake pans at the grocery store (they can be saved for another time as well), you will be able to knock out layers in no time. And no washing between baking!

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
1 box (1 lb) confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-3 Tbsp milk

  • Cream the butter and cream cheese with a mixer.
  • Add the cocoa and vanilla.
  • Add the confectioner’s sugar in small batches and blend on low until combined. Scrape down sides with each addition.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until you get the consistency you desire.