Monday, February 27, 2012

Final Post (at least for now)

It's been fun.
No really, I've loved being able to share some of my favorite recipes and have them all in one spot. However, starting next Monday, I'm going to be a regular contributer to one of my favorite "Mom blogs". I'll be sharing some kid/family friendly recipes and foodie-type things over there. And even though I've enjoyed this little space, having to worry about three different blogs just isn't something I'm interested in at the moment.
I'm going to keep the blog up, just in case anyone happens to have a favorite recipe on here.

In the future, you can find me both on my regular family blog and here.

See ya 'round!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Perfect Pot Roast

A couple of weeks ago, our local Target ad had chuck roasts on sale for really cheap.
And if there's one thing I love in the winter (even if it is 65 out...), it's comfort food. I'm a big fan of the pioneer woman (who isn't?), and I knew she had a pot roast recipe that looked great. Time to give it a whirl!
First, let me tell you that the smell of this cooking is absolute heaven. It's all I could stand to let it cook completely, because I sure wanted to dig in after the first hour. Don't skip out on the herbs. It makes it smell that much more amazing.

Perfect Pot Roast
(Recipe by Ree Drummond)

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One 3 to 5-pound chuck roast
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 whole onions, peeled and halved
  • 6 to 8 whole carrots, unpeeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup red wine, optional
  • 3 cups beef broth (my roast was only 2.5 lbs, so I didn't need this much at all)
  • 2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Generously salt and pepper the chuck roast.

Heat the olive oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the halved onions to the pot, browning them on both sides. Remove the onions to a plate.

Throw the carrots into the same very hot pot and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so. Reserve the carrots with the onions.

If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pot. Place the meat in the pot and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.

With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pot, scraping the bottom with a whisk. Place the roast back into the pot and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway.

Add in the onions and the carrots, along with the fresh herbs.

Put the lid on, then roast for 3 hours for a 3-pound roast. For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours. The roast is ready when it's fall-apart tender. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Round-Up

I honestly couldn't decide what to post for today.
There are just way too many cute and yummy Valentine's Day treats out there!
So instead of focusing on one recipe, I thought I'd do a round-up of a bunch of fun recipe ideas!
Just click the link on the recipe you want to try out.

(it's not as difficult as it looks... promise!)

I'm making a variation of these for my little guy's V-day gift.
Aren't they cute?

 Hope everyone has a LOVE-ly Valentine's Day!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

I made these this week for our Bible study luncheon.
They were so good! And since we had a Valentine's Day theme, I thought the strawberry jam went along nicely. Over half the pan was empty by the time we were done... and our group was small that day, about 12-15 people. So that oughta tell you how great these were! Plus, I received several compliments. They're great as dessert, but I think they'd make a cute Valentine's Day breakfast treat.

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
(Recipe by Ree Drummond)

(I'm sure she'd do a much better job of photographing them, but unfortunately, she didn't. So you're left with my sad depiction...)


  • 1 3/4 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • One 10 to 12-ounce jar strawberry preserves


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan.

Mix together the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Press half the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread with the strawberry preserves. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly. Bake until light brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely, and then cut into squares. Makes 24 bars.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Skinny Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Anyone else seen this recipe floating around Pinterest?
I've been following Gina for a while now, and as soon as she posted this one, I pinned it right away. It sounded too good to be true. Cheesy, crunchy, tasty mozzarella sticks that weren't loaded with calories and fat? No way.
Since I'm trying to be a little more health conscious, I decided to give these a whirl for the Superbowl. My husband's family was coming over for the game, and this included our teenage nephews. What better chance to try out a (sneaky) healthy recipe than when I've got teenage boys in the house?!
When I told them I was making them, I immediately got a "Oh, those are gonna be good..." from the 15 yr old. And wouldn't you know it? They loved them.
The only thing I need to stress for these to work is to make sure you follow the freezing process. Otherwise, you run the risk of them turning into a pile of cheesy goo.
Thankfully, it didn't happen to me. They were amazing. For you WW peeps, each one is only 2 points. Crazy, right?!
I also recommend getting Sargento cheese. I went the cheaper route, and even though nobody else seemed bothered, I could tell there was more salt in them than I would've liked. Sargento is just better anyway, I think. So yeah. These were a hit.

Skinny Baked Mozzarella Sticks
(Recipe by Gina)


  • 12 sticks part-skim, reduced sodium mozzarella string cheese (Sargento)

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 2 tbsp flour

  • 5 tbsp Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

  • 5 tbsp panko crumbs

  • 2 tsp parmesan cheese

  • 1 tbsp dried parsley

  • olive oil cooking spray

  • Directions

    cheese in half to give you 24 pieces.
    cheese in the freezer until cheese is frozen.
    In small bowl,
    the egg.
    the flour on another small dish. In separate bowl,

    bread crumbs, panko, parmesan cheese and dried parsley.

    the frozen sticks in flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg, then coat with the crumbs.

    this process with the remaining cheese placing them on a tray with wax paper. Place cheese back into the freezer until ready to bake (this is a must or they will melt before the crumbs get golden).

    When ready to bake
    oven to 400° F.
    a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly

    with oil.
    Place frozen cheese sticks on baking sheet.
    the tops of the mozzarella sticks with a little more oil and
    in the bottom third of your oven until crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes.
    an additional 4 - 5 minutes watching them closely so they don't melt.

    Makes 24 pieces.

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    1-2-3 Mexican Bean Dip

    This is one of my most requested recipes ever.
    If you're looking for a great Superbowl snack, this is it.
    My husband had a friend come to town last year, and I had just made this. Hubs decided he wanted it all to himself and didn't share with his friend. I ended up having to make two the next time he had friends over. In fact, the same buddy helped me with some computer stuff, and when I asked him how he wanted me to pay him? He asked me to make this dip.
    Whenever I take it to family functions, parties, etc; it's always devoured in like 10 minutes.

    1-2-3 Mexican Bean Dip
    (Recipe by Mary Corpening Barber & Sara Corpening Whiteford)
    (sorry. no matter how great of a camera you have,
    Mexican food never seems to photograph all that well... or maybe it's just me?)

    •  1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
    • 1 1/2 cups medium salsa
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
    • 3/4 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (even if you hate mayo, don't skip this. my husband can't stand mayo, yet he can't get enough of this stuff)
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
    • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and chopped
    • 1 cup (2 ounces) grated extra sharp shredded cheddar cheese (sometimes I'll use the "Mexican blend" instead... both are great)
    • 1 jalapeno chili, cut into rounds (about 20)
    • Tortilla chips for serving


    Combine the refried beans, 1/4 cup of the salsa, the chili powder, cumin, and oregano in a medium bowl. Spread evenly over the bottom of a 9-inch round ceramic casserole dish (at least 2 inches deep) or an 8-by-8-by-2 1/4-inch glass baking dish.
    Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, red onion, cilantro, and onion powder in a small bowl. Spread over the top of the beans mixture.
    Combine the bell pepper and the remaining 1 1/4 cups salsa in a small bowl. Gently spread over the sour cream mixture, being careful not to mix the layers. Top with the cheese and jalapeno and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Serve with tortilla chips.

    Do Ahead: This dip can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated.

    Monday, January 30, 2012

    Swoon Pies

    I saw these in the most recent issue of Southern Living and had to try them.
    We were invited to a ProBowl party last night and were asked to bring a dessert. I figured it was a perfect excuse to make them. Unfortunately, both my husband and little man got sick, so we had to miss out. Consequently, I'm left with a ton of these things (I made a double batch).
    This recipe is one of those that's not hard to make, there are just several steps. But if you do give them a go, I promise you won't regret it. It's like eating a s'more in the form of a whoopie pie!

    Swoon Pies
    (Recipe by Southern Living)


  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  •  1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

  • Parchment paper

  • Marshmallow Filling

  • 1 (12-oz.) package semisweet chocolate morsels

  • 2 teaspoons shortening

  • Toppings: chopped roasted salted pecans, chopped crystallized ginger, sea salt

  • Directions

    Preheat oven to 350°. Sift together flour and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir in graham cracker crumbs.
    Beat butter and next 2 ingredients at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, beating until blended.
    Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition, stopping to scrape bowl as needed.
    Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake, in batches, at 350° for 13 to 15 minutes or until set and bottoms are golden brown. Remove cookies (on parchment paper) to wire racks, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).

    Turn 12 cookies over, bottom sides up.
    Spread each with 1 heaping tablespoonful Marshmallow Filling. Top with remaining 12 cookies, bottom sides down, and press gently to spread filling to edges. Freeze on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet 30 minutes or until filling is set.

    Pour water to depth of 1 inch in a medium saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer; place chocolate and shortening in a medium-size heatproof bowl over simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 6 minutes or until melted. Remove from heat, and let cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, remove cookies from freezer, and let stand 10 minutes.

    Dip half of each cookie sandwich into melted chocolate mixture. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with desired toppings, and freeze 10 minutes or until chocolate is set.
    Makes 1 dozen whoopie pies.

    Marshmallow Filling


    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
    • 1 cup marshmallow creme
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


    Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add remaining ingredients, beating until well blended.

    Full Swoon Pies: Increase semisweet chocolate morsels to 1 (16-oz.) package and shortening to 3 tsp. Prepare recipe as directed, dipping cookie sandwiches completely in chocolate mixture. (Use a fork to easily remove sandwiches from chocolate.)

    Cookie sandwiches may be covered with plastic wrap and stored in refrigerator up to 24 hours.