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Friday, June 28, 2013

Pico de Gallo

Let's take advantage of the fresh vegetables!!

5 Roma tomatoes diced
1 small Onion chopped pretty fine
2 cloves Garlic minced
4-5 Jalapenos cleaned of seeds and minced
HUGE handful of Cilantro finely chopped
Juice of one lime
about a teaspoon of sea salt

Toss it all together. Chill for a bit and serve.

Here are your yummy fresh tomatoes

Give those babies a nice chop

An onion about this big

Big handful of Cilantro
Jalapenos seeded and minced. I make sure there are NO seeds in my Pico de Gallo because I don't want to inhale one accidentally and look like a fool coughing and having tears running down my face;) Add your minced up garlic and lime juice. Salt to taste but don't get crazy, remember the chips have salt too.
Isn't it pretty. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I LOVE this time of year because watermelon is SO yummy!!  But I want it to last for a couple of days.  So, what to do??

Wanna get a little extra life out of your cut up watermelon?? Put a few paper towels in the bottom of the bowl before you cube it up. The paper towels soak up the extra juice and your watermelon stays firm and juicy.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pesto Pasta Salad

This salad is one that I bring often and people always LOVE it and think I slaved in the kitchen.  Someone else brought it recently but they used cubed mozzarella and that was tasty too.  Or add some blanched asparagus or green beans.  Change it up and make it your own!!

What you will need
Box of Bowtie Pasta
2 Chicken or Vegi Bouillon Cubes
7 oz Container of Refrigerator Pesto Sauce ~ I've used the jar and it wasn't good
4 oz Container of Feta
Container of Grape or Baby Tomatoes
Chopped cooked Chicken ~ Optional

Cook your pasta in water that you've dropped a couple of bouillon cubes in. (IF you want to blanch green beans or asparagus, toss it in when the pasta has a minute left and drain when pasta is finished) Drain and toss with Pesto sauce. Add tomatoes, chicken and couple cranks of pepper, toss again. Add cheese and toss once last time. Serve.
Your ingredients
Chop your cooked chicken. This was left over salsa chicken but you can use anything or even rotisserie.
Drain your cooked pasta and mix in pesto sauce.
Add your chicken, tomatoes and a couple cranks of pepper.
Cheese goes in last.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Little Things

This would be the snack shelf in my cupboard.  It's not a shelf that I typically touch other than to replace a random item.  It's in the exact middle of a stand up cupboard so it's also not really in my line of vision either.  But something jumped out at me. 

Are you thinking, "What I don't get it??"

Do you see that ziploc bag?!!  That ziploc bag contains cookies that someone opened and tore the packaging so they got a ziploc and put the cookies inside so they wouldn't get stale!!  Someone got a bag out of the drawer and put the cookies in IT!!

The ziploc bag found it's way around those cookies and to my cupboard withOUT any reminders from me!!

My children are listening?!  Can you hear the angels singing?!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Just a cute photo

Found this on my hard drive:)  This was back in the day when she still allowed me to buy her random outfits (I still can buy her clothes, she just doesn't wear them).  You can't see but the leggings had gold buttons on the ankle and she found the gold ballet flats to match.  SO cute!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Sign

This was my 5th Father's Day that I celebrated the memory of my Dad and I'd like to say it gets easier but that would be a lie.  There is that empty feeling when you see the signs for Father's Day.  The punch in the stomach feeling when you walk by the card aisle.  I hold tightly to the thought that he is always near me when I'm missing him most and occasionally he'll drop me a sign but I hadn't had one yet.

This year was also a bit harder because Max had another baseball tournament.  A tournament that my Dad would have spent the weekend by my side cheering.  I know how big the smile would have been watching Max hit that ball that drove in a run or stopped the wild pitch and prevented that kid from scoring or the back handed catch in the field that robbed another run.

My Dad was a great ball player and he loved teaching Max the little things that made a difference in a game. So when Max was playing 2nd base and the catcher threw the ball to stop the steal and Max caught it, tagged the kid and pointed the glove showing the ball at the umpire, I had to smile because I got my sign.  My Dad taught him that.  "Always make your tag and then point to the ump so he has to make the call quickly and can see the ball".

We took Craig out to lunch after that game and Craig told him how proud Papa would have been for doing that particular move and Max asked, "why".  He didn't remember that exact thing being taught apparently.  Craig repeated what I wrote above and Max smiled slowly and nodded because he remembered when he heard the words and he got his sign that Papa is always with him too.

I love you Dad and I hope you enjoyed the game, I just wish you could have also controlled the weather so we could have finished the last one.  But knowing you, you're working hard on that little trick so it won't happen again;)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tuna Salad

If summer EVER gets here, we'll be having this with hot dogs and hamburgers.  I've posted this before but it's my favorite "go to" salad. 

You are going to need
1 lb Box of your favorite shaped pasta~I like skinny elbow, mini bow ties or small shells
2 cans Tuna drained~I prefer to use packed in oil because it has more tuna taste but typically have packed in water in the house
1 small onion minced
1 C Frozen Peas
2 stalks Celery chopped
Ranch Dressing
Miracle Whip

Cook your pasta according to directions in salted water. You want to make sure it is fully cooked, al dente has it's place and it's not in tuna salad. Put your frozen peas in the bottom of your strainer and when you drain your noodles, you will defrost the peas. Put both into a bowl. Add tuna, onions, celery and pepper. Give it a good stir. Cover and put in the fridge until just before serving or leaving. If you are going to serve right away, that works too. I personally like a tuna salad that is a bit warm.

The are going to use 3/4 Miracle Whip to 1/4 Ranch dressing. Start out with a total of a cup and add more Miracle Whip and a tiny bit more Ranch. Taste. I usually end up using more Miracle Whip because you don't want it to be too "ranchy" tasting but the Ranch adds a nice touch. Experiment, you'll get the flavor you like. Be careful NOT to put too much Miracle Whip, a wet salad can be a real day wrecker. You can always add more if it dries out, but you can't take it away.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pork and Rice

I was trying to come up with a catchy name for this dish but it's early and my creativity is apparently on summer vacation so Pork and Rice it is.  But it's not just any rice, sing it with me, "it's Riccccccccce-a-Roniiiiiiiiii, a San Francisco treat!!"  Did I just totally date myself?!?  I remember that commercial vividly but haven't had actual Rice-a-Roni since I was a kid.  We had it often enough as a side dish and I liked it but it never made it into my home until last week.

Alanna and I were talking about when we were kids and different things we liked.  She told me her favorite meal that her Grandma made was Rice-a-Roni with a can of stewed tomatoes that had pork chops on top.  Flash forward a couple of months and I was standing in Aldi and there was the generic version of Rice-a-Roni.  I had thin cut pork chops defrosting in the fridge.  Hmmmmm, would my kids eat it??  Was it actually good or was Alanna's memory skewed?  The rice was .89 cents, I figured I could give it a try.  Worse case scenario, I could scrape the rice from the chops and they'd eat that.  So, I threw caution to the wind and grabbed the rice.

What you'll need:
1 Box Rice-a-Roni
Package of thin cut, boneless pork chops
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder

How's that for a nice small list?? 

You're going to brown the chops.  Pan fry the pork chops that you've seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  What that means is, put them in the pan with the heat at about a 6, cook on each side about 3-4 minutes until they are browned.  Pour about 1/4 cup of water in the pan to get all the yummy on the bottom.  Turn off the heat.

In another pan, prepare rice according to box.  When it's time to add the water minus 1/4 C of water because you used that with the pork chops AND you are pouring the pork chops and water into the pan with the rice at the same time. 

Alanna's Grandma apparently threw in a can of stewed tomatoes at this time too but I wasn't feeling sassy so I skipped it. 

Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.  Make your favorite vegetable for the side while cooking.  Dinner is served!!  Quick, easy and yummy.

You're pan frying these without any butter or olive oil.  Simply use a non stick pan and save yourself the calories.
 When the pork chops are browned on both sides, pour 1/4 C of water in pan to get all the yummy from the bottom of the pan.
 Pour the pork chops into the rice with water.  Cover and this is what you'll find in 15 minutes.  Super moist pork chops on flavorful rice that took you less than 30 minutes!!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Swirl Cake

With chocolate frosting is another variation.  I made a simple white cake, put chocolate buttercream  in the middle and swirled the top with more chocolate buttercream.  You can kind of see the pattern better with the chocolate. 

With a star tip, make a circle with the frosting, about 3 turns.  Stop.  Start again in another area of the cake.  Fill in holes with strips of frosting. 

Happy Birthday Shannon!!  I hope you enjoyed your cake!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Swirl Cake

It seems that it has been raining for a month and the end of the school year is always a tad gloomy.    So, I decided to make a fun cake for a co-worker's birthday to liven up the joint.

His favorite is a white cake with white frosting, that's a new one for me.  I went looking for a good recipe.  There were tons out there but lots of fussy ones.  One of them had me practically churning butter to get that "delicate" balance.  I don't mind making from complete scratch but that was a bit much.  I was about to give up when I found this one which I altered just a bit AND I added a super yummy filling.  It was a HIT!

What you'll need:

1 box White Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 C Flour
1 C Sugar
1 1/3 C Milk
2 T Oil (I used Canola)
2 t Real Vanilla
1 C Sour Cream
2 Eggs

Mix everything in a bowl and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into greased and floured cake pan. I used a large round pan. Bake in 325 degree oven until the cake tests done~insert tester into cake and if it comes out clean, you're done. This size pan took about 40 minutes. Cool cake 10 minutes then invert on a plate and cool.

Cut cake through the middle with a serated knife. Once you've taken the top off, cut a little more out of the bottom middle~think of it as a very shallow bowl. You can put a nice thick layer of whipped cream topping after you do this.

Whipped Cream Layer

8 oz Whipping Cream
2 t Vanilla
2 C Powdered Sugar
1 carton Raspberries
1/2 C Raspberry jam

Whip the cream and vanilla until it's thickened. Add powdered sugar and beat until STIFF. Fold in Raspberries. Put raspberry jam in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt. You can use any type of berry, just be sure that your jam matches.

Spread the melted jam on the bottom layer of the cake. Put whipped cream mixture in the bowl of the cake but stay away from the edges.

I used my favorite buttercream recipe but to make it just a little more fattening, I used half and half instead of milk.

Pipe buttercream around edge and put top back on. Frost entire cake with a light layer of buttercream. If you want to get fancy, pull out your star tip and make a bunch of circles to create a swirl cake and top with a few berries. Or frost the cake with a thicker layer of frosting and top with berries.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours to overnight and serve:)

Here's the cake already cut in half and slightly "bowled" out. 
Spread your melted jam
Whipped cream beaten stiff
 Put cream mixture in middle of cake
Buttercream edge so you don't lose your filling
Light layer of frosting if you're going to decorate or a thicker frost if you aren't. 

 Using your star tip, make some circles all over the top of the cake.  No real pattern but it's called a swirl cake if you want to youtube it.  Refrigerate a couple of hours or overnight.

 Couple of berries on top so people know what the filling is.
Have a piece of yummy cake!!