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Friday, March 30, 2012

Crockpot Chicken

I first made the sticky chicken recipe awhile back. I liked the flavor but let's be honest, I'm not a prep the night before kind of girl. I'm also not a huge fan of touching raw chicken so I now "sprinkle" the seasoning instead of rubbing the seasoning in. I also went crazy a few times and just grabbed some spices that go together and/or that I like, sprinkled them on top and turned on the crockpot. However, make sure you use at least 4 t Salt or equivalent because the chicken needs the salt. It's been wonderful every time. Other than the crunchy skin, it's very similar to Beer Can chicken that is done on the grill.

Here's what you'll need if you want to follow the recipe:

4 t Salt
2 t Paprika
1 t Cayenne
1 t Onion Powder
1 t Thyme
1 t White Pepper
1/2 t Garlic Powder
1/2 t Black Pepper
1 Whole Chicken
1 medium Onion chopped
2 cloves Garlic

In a small bowl, combine the spices. If you bought a chicken with giblets and/or neck..remove those. Wash the chicken well, taking extra care with the cavity. Sprinkle the spice mixture into the chicken, inside and out. Try to make sure it's evenly distributed.

Place garlic and chopped onion into cavity of chicken and put in the crockpot. You don't need any liquid because the chicken will make it's own juice. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, I cooked 10 because that's how my day worked out, it was falling off the bone. Slice it up and you can spoon some of the juices on top if you desire. I threw the onions/garlic out.

Here's your spice mix.

Just a whole chicken, wash it
Sprinkle with seasoning, throw the onion in the middle and a couple cloves of garlic

Doesn't this look yummy!
I cut it up, poured a bit of pan juices on top and put in the oven on warm while I made the sides. Forgot to take a "pretty" photo, sorry.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Chantel

As I've told you, our family celebrates every birthday. Kids typically on the weekend, adults on the actual day so I had to laugh when I got a text with HER birthday plan.

This is filed under the "You know you're a Mom when"..."Let's meet at Chuck E Cheese at 6".

Although she isn't the first adult to plan their party there. We like it because the kids can run around playing, the adults get to talk and maybe if they're lucky, beat their kid at skee ball or hoops:)

Hope your day is fabulous!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coca Cola Cake

Our book club read a cheesy book last summer, the name escapes me. One of the women in the book became a master baker who was famous for her Coca Cola Cake. I found the recipe on the author's website and was going to make it for our discussion but ended up not getting it done. However, I still had to know if the Coca Cola Cake was something that I was missing in my life. Turns out, it wasn't, lol.

I'm not saying that it wasn't a good cake, it was. But as you all know, I'm not a "cake" girl. That being said, several people REALLY liked the cake. It wasn't too sweet, just the right chocolate flavor. I thought it was kind of like a brownie/cake mix and let's be honest, pour some cooked chocolate frosting on anything and it goes up a notch in my book.

Here's what you'll need:

2 C self-rising flour (I didn't have self-rising so I made my own and used 2 C Flour, 2 1/2 t Baking Powder, 1/2 t Salt)

2 C sugar
3 T cocoa
1 C Coca-Cola
1 C butter
1 1/2 C miniature marshmallows
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C buttermilk
1 t baking soda
1 t vanilla


1/2 C Butter
1 T Cocoa
6 T Coca-Cola
1 lb Powdered Sugar
1/2 C chopped pecans ~ I skipped these)


Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch pan and set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour and sugar.

In a saucpan combine the cocoa, Coca-Cola, butter, and marshmallows; bring to a boil. Combine the boiled mixture with the flour and sugar mixture.

Add the eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla to the first mixture. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until cake tests done with a skewer.

Frosting: In a saucepan, bring butter, cocoa, and Coca-Cola to a boil. Stir in the sugar and mix well. Stir in nuts. Spread over the cake while both cake and frosting are still warm.

Serves about 16.

Melt the Cocoa, cola, butter and marshmallows.
Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
Pour boiled mixture into your dry and stir to combine.
Add buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. This is where I needed to get my whisk out to incorporate all the ingredients.
Pour into greased 13x9 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven.
Now we need to make the frosting. Put butter, cocoa and cola into a small pan, make sure it's big enough to also hold a pound of powdered sugar. Bring the butter, cocoa and cola to a boil. Remove and add powdered sugar and vanilla, whisk to combine. Immediately pour of warm cake. See those pesky white balls?? That is powdered sugar clumps that wouldn't break up, this particular bag of powdered sugar gave me problems in another recipe. I should have returned it because I don't typically have that problem and I was a tad bugged. Tasted fine though.
Let cake cool and serve

Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Tammi

Tammi checks in on me daily via this blog. Her and I met forever ago, waitressing during high school at the job we both deem, "BEST job EVER"!

Since that time, we've been through a lot of jobs, had a few kids between us, more than our share of cocktails and years of laughter and friendship. I love her to pieces!

So, it goes without question that I'm shouting out a HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIRLIE!! I hope your day is simply fabulous!!

Here's your favorite pasta recipe just in case you aren't going out:)

Spicy Peanut Butter Pasta

2 Chicken Breasts sliced thin
3 Cloves Garlic minced
1/2 small Red Onion diced
1 Bunch of Broccoli tops cut off into pieces, discard stock
2 inches Fresh Ginger sliced thin and minced
1/2 Red Pepper chopped
2-3 T Soy Sauce
1 C Peanut Butter
2 C Chicken Broth
1 C Shrimp cut in half ~ I use the frozen precooked ones that are thawed
1 1/2 T Chili Garlic Sauce
1 1/2 T Olive Oil
1 pkg Linguini Noodles cooked according to directions

Start pot of salted water to boil to cook Linguini noodles. When the water is boiling and you've added the noodles and given a stir, throw the broccoli into the water and cook for 2 minutes. Remove broccoli and let pasta finish cooking to your liking.

Cook chicken, garlic, red onion and 2 T soy sauce until chicken is cooked through. Add Ginger and Red Pepper, saute 2 minutes. Add Chicken Broth, Peanut Butter, Olive Oil and 1 T Chili Garlic Sauce. Cook until sauce thickens a bit,just a couple of minutes. Add shrimp, broccoli and noodles. Taste, if you want it spicier add another 1/2 T of Chili Garlic Sauce, 1 T more makes it really hot...that's how I like it but it's HOT!
Here is your chicken, onion and garlic. Add soy sauce and a few cranks of pepper.
This is what your broccoli looks like chopped up, washed and ready for the water.
Add the ginger and peppers and saute a couple of minutes.
Add peanut butter, chicken broth, Chili Garlic Sauce and oil. Cook for a few minutes until combined.
This is what the Chili Garlic Sauce looks like. You'll find it in the grocery aisle by the Asian food.
This is what the sauce looks like when it's cooked together.
Here is the broccoli cooking for 2 minutes with your noodles.
Add the shrimp to the sauce.
Add the broccoli to the sauce and 1/2 T of Chili Garlic Sauce.
Fold your pasta in and you're ready to eat unless you want to go really hot...add another 1/2 T of Chili Garlic Sauce.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wild Rice Hot Dish

Yep, I called it a hot dish because that's what we call it in Minnesota. In his meat eating days, Dylan had this at a potluck and LOVED it. I just came across the recipe so I thought I'd give it a go. It's really rich but has a great flavor. I'll be entering this in the wild rice competition at pow wow this summer.

What you'll need:

1 C "uncooked" Wild Rice = 3 C cooked
3 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
1 C Red Pepper diced
1 C Celery chopped
1/2 C Onion minced
8 oz sliced Fresh Mushrooms
1 Can Cream of Chicken soup~I used reduced fat
1/2 C Chicken Broth
1 lb Jimmy Dean Sausage ~ I used a generic pork sausage
1/2 lb Bacon diced
1 t Poultry Seasoning

Cook rice according to package directions but instead of using plain water, throw in a few Chicken Bouillon cubes. It makes the rice taste much better in my opinion. In all honesty you could probably make this with brown rice but the wild rice gives it that extra something of yummy!

Fry the sausage and remove from the pan. Add chopped bacon (I cut mine with my kitchen shears) to the pan and fry. And, no you can't cook it together because the bacon gets lost and doesn't cook right. Yes, I tried it and it was messy fixing my "time saving" trick.

When bacon's getting close to done, throw in the pepper, celery, mushrooms and onion together and cook until softened.

Mix everything together (from top of the recipe ingredients to the bottom). Put in a oven safe pot and bake for 30 minutes at 350. Enjoy!

Fry your sausage (don't look at the bacon. That needs to cook by itself). I added a little fresh cracked pepper just because I was feeling sassy;)
Adding in the vegetables
Add the mushrooms

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Max and Claire

He loved his little sister so much. I wonder if he'll ever hug her again?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I swore I would never like brussel spouts. The one time I remember eating them, mushy, no a word, ISH! I made the egg face when anyone suggested that I try them again. But I heard about roasting them and that intrigued me and I gave it another go. I liked them. I didn't love them, but I think I could learn to like them a lot. I also realized that they don't make good leftovers because the smell is overwhelming when you open the container. I didn't reheat and try, the smell was enough for me to toss.

What you'll need:
Bag of Brussel Spouts~that's all I can tell you, I bought them in the prepackaged vegetable section, I'm thinking probably a pound
1/4 C Olive Oil
4 cloves of Garlic minced ~ I used a tablespoon of the store bought minced
1 t Kosher Salt
about 10 cranks of the Pepper grinder

Give them a good rinse. Slice off the hard end piece and toss~you know the side that was attached to how it grew. Slice sprout in half. Toss with Olive Oil and garlic. Put in a cake pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 for about 25 minutes~I tested mine at 25 and liked the little crunch that was still present so I deemed mine done, if you like a little softer sprout, just leave in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Remove and serve.

Toss with garlic and olive oil
Roast for 25 minutes at 400

Friday, March 16, 2012

Artichoke Spinach Soup

Always looking for vegetarian recipes for Dylan and being that it's Lent, been thinking about my Catholic friends too, when I found this I was excited. I only changed a couple of things, I apologize that I can't give my direct source, I thought I'd be able to find the recipe again and I can't.

Dylan likes soup and he said this is the best soup I've ever made. It has the same great taste as artichoke spinach dip.

I took out a few bowls for Dylan and added chicken to the rest to share with friends since you all know that my kids won't eat soup unless I bribe them with money. "Restaurant quality" is what I heard a couple of times.

Bonus...SUPER easy:)

Here's what you'll need:
2 T Butter
2 T Olive Oil
Medium Onion diced
8 oz package of Mushrooms ~ roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 t Pepper
1/2 t Salt
1/2 t Cayenne
2 cans Artichokes packed in water
6 1/2 C Chicken or Vegetable broth
1/4 Flour
1/2 t Tarragon
1/2 t Thyme
2 C Half and Half
5 oz fresh Spinach chopped
1 C Parmesan
Package of Boneless Chicken Breast ~ optional

In your soup pot, melt butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Saute for about 6-8 minutes until vegetables are softened. Add artichokes. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to combine. Add broth, making sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to get everything mixed together and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Add thyme, tarragon and cayenne. Add half and half and spinach and simmer for another 10 minutes~very important to not let the soup boil after you put in the half and half. Stir in cheese and the chicken if you choose. Serve. Makes 8-10 bowls of soup.

If you are going to use chicken, cut into bite size pieces and pan fry with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Make sure you buy the ones packed in water
Mince your onion and rough chop your mushrooms
Chop your artichokes
Saute your mushrooms, garlic and onions. Add artichokes after about 6 minutes
Sprinkle your flour after about 6 minutes
Add your chicken broth
Add your half and half

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Miracles of Mitch

The kid's are doing the Kids Running For Kids Who Can't Triathlon. Their webpage went live yesterday. Check it out:)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's up Popeye

This outfit was one of my favorite outfits Max wore. A cute little coat, khaki cords and this hat. This was at his naughtiest phase and yes, I remember it well;) He exhausted me and I loved him to pieces.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes

It was Lisa's birthday and she loves dark chocolate so I wanted to make a rich, deep, chocolately cake. I looked up "best chocolate cake" recipes and I would give credit where credit is due but I found the same recipe on 6 different sites before I stopped looking. I thought, "this must be a great recipe if this many people thought so".

Grabbed the only thing I needed at the store, buttermilk, and got to baking. As I was mixing it up, I had deja vu? Yep, I've made a very close variation of this recipe before. This one had different measurements and HOT coffee but it was close. I decided to make cupcakes because I didn't have time to make an actual cake.

At any rate, it's a really good cupcake. It didn't hit "great" for me but I'm not a "great" cupcake kinda girl. But Max, who doesn't typically like cake, ate two and was looking for more. He loved how moist they were.

Another nice thing, it made 34 cupcakes. Sometimes, you just need more than 24 but you don't want 48.

Here's what you'll need:

1 3/4 C Flour
2 C Sugar
3/4 C Cocoa Powder
2 t Baking Soda
1 t Baking Powder
1 t Salt
2 Eggs
1 C Buttermilk
1/2 C Vegetable Oil ~ I used Canola
1 t Vanilla
1 C Strong Hot Black Coffee ~ I used Espresso Roast

Combine your dry ingredients and mix well. Add wet ingredients with the exception of coffee. Give it a couple of minutes with the electric mixer. Pour in black coffee and mix until incorporated. The batter is a bit thinner than a cake mix.

Fill cupcakes liners half full and bake at 350 for about 16 minutes. You can test by touching the top. If an indentation doesn't stick, they are done.

Cool, frost with your favorite chocolate frosting and enjoy.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tip Accordingly

I have put in my years as a waitress. I typically had pretty good tips and on the days that I didn't, I knew why. I was crabby or I was tired or I just plain didn't feel like being smiley and chit chatty. BUT I always made sure that my tables had what they needed, the sodas refilled, the drinks re-ordered, bread basket refilled.

Because I have worn those shoes, I have always left a good tip. Sometimes I leave a great tip. If I sit at a table longer than it takes for a reasonable dinner, I double my tip because the table can't roll over and allow my waitress to wait on another table, why should she lose out on her tip because we've decided to sit longer.

But lately, I've been finding myself leaving a different kind of tip, tips written on the back of the receipt, typically with a smaller percentage of cash. Very rarely do I leave nothing at all, but I have done that too.

What brings me to today's post is that I think it's time for everyone to STOP the madness and tipping for mediocre or crap service. Most of the time, I don't think wait staff is intentionally giving bad service. I don't think they've been trained properly. It should not be expected that you are going to leave 15-20% simply because someone took your order and dropped it at the table.

To sound like my Grandma, BACK in my day, I actually remembered who ordered the cheeseburger verses the chicken. Or was drinking a Bud Light instead of the Margarita. Sadly, I don't expect that, it's a bonus and those waiters get tipped accordingly.

What I have written on the back on the receipt (pick as many as you like)...

Your tip was reduced today because: You didn't bring the water I asked for (extra napkins, silverware, ketchup). You didn't refill my son's soda. You didn't come back to see if we wanted dessert or another drink and we DID. You didn't check back to see if our food was right and it wasn't. You took 10 minutes to come back and take our order when we are the only ones in the restaurant. You were completely rude.

My hope is that they take this information to heart and their next table gets better service. Pass it on!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Blast from the Past

Do you have photos in your house that you walk by everyday but never really pay attention to because they were so long ago? I walked by these tonight, stopped and tried to remember when they were taken. OH how I miss my babies.

Max was 2 and he loved his pow pows
Claire was just learning to laugh. She did it all the time.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chicken Sandwich

Claire wanted to stop at Wendy's and get a chicken sandwich and I said that I would make it at home. I got the egg face. For those of you unfamiliar with the "egg face", it is a scrunched up, I think I'm going to be sick face that "I" make when I am served eggs that aren't completely cooked. Claire has perfected the egg face when I say something she doesn't want to hear.

However, I am not swayed by the "egg" face so I went home and made these.

What you'll need:

2 Chicken Breasts boneless/skinless
1/2 C Flour
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder
Crisco for frying
Shredded Lettuce

Cut your chicken breast in half and put on Saran wrap.
Cover with Seran wrap and pound with the soft side of your meat hammer, it probably has a different name, that name escapes me at the moment. You want to make your first hit in the center. Don't hit too hard or you'll break straight through. Pound softly in the center until you flatten out your chicken.
I season the flour with probably a teaspoon of each seasoning but I also sprinkle the actual chicken with them as well.
Flip and cover each side with flour. Shake off excess.
Put it hot grease. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side.
If you want to know if your grease is hot enough, put the handle of a wooden spoon in and if the oil bubbles up around the handle, you're ready to go. Typically takes about a minute after the Crisco turns to liquid with your heat on an 8.
Put on your bun with lettuce. You can make some french fries from scratch too if you're feeling sassy. Just peel, cut evenly and fry until golden. Both kids said it was better than Wendy's...shocker;)
AND, if you're will pour ketchup on top of both and consume. Sorry, no photo of MY egg face when she does that.

Sidebar..she's been doing that since she was old enough to say, "I need Chetchup with my Chitchin"

Friday, March 2, 2012


I simply had to post this photo because it is CLASSIC Max. It's from their first district play off game. He is with his buddy Matthew who he has played hockey with since he was 4 years old. When they started, they were a fierce combo on the offensive squad, scoring many a hat trick between the two of them. This year, they played defense together the last half of the year.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Something to make me smile

Jack Jablonski's team, Benilde St. Margaret's team advanced to the state tournament last night and Jack was there to join in the celebration! A little added bonus was that they beat Minnetonka, the team that knocked Dylan's team out;)

Here is the Caringbridge update!

Good luck Benilde!!