Monday Pick Me up!

It’s Monday, again! I know a lot of us have the Monday blahs and if you do here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Monday’s are great beginnings, we get a whole new week of opportunities and adventures.

2. We are lucky enough to have made it to another week.

3. Sometimes chocolate is the only cure for things like the Monday blahs, if this is true for you, you have to try this treat. It is a the perfect cure.

M&M snack mix:

1 bag of plain or dark chocolate M&M’s

1 jar of roasted peanuts

1 box of raisins

Dump everything into a zip top bag and shake then eat!

Side note: M&M’s are my favorite candy. I can eat an entire bag in two days if show a little self-restraint :) Happy Monday!

PS…this face will also help cure the Monday blahs….

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Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Is there something you only have in certain seasons? For example, fried okra in the summer, chili in the winter months, that first grilled burger of the spring??? And the granddaddy of them all the pumpkin spice latte in the fall! Man I wait all year for that thing to be available but a couple of years back I really scaled back on my Starbuck’s intake. That stuff is expensive, good yes but expensive so I made a every once in a while treat instead of an every other day treat. Well, I came across this recipe for pumpkin spice syrup on another blog one night and immediately made some the next day.

The jury is still out for me on how much I think it tastes like Starbuck’s and I’m not sure if I would make this again but when I started this blog I wanted to share my experiences in the kitchen and sometimes things just don’t go like you thought they would. I have made a few adjustments to the recipe and I hope you will give them a try. The measurements I am giving make about a cup of syrup, I scaled down the original. While I will still enjoy my Starbuck’s treat this is a good fall syrup for my morning coffee!

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

Cook sugar and water in a small pot on medium heat until the mixture is clear. With a wire whisk, whisk in spices and pumpkin. Cook for another 5 minutes while you stir it. Do not let it boil. Cool for 15 minutes and strain through a cheesecloth lined sieve. Store it in the refrigerator.

Step 1: Add sugar and water to a pot.

Step 2: Cook on medium heat until clear.

Step 3: Add in spices and pumpkin and cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Don’t let it boil!

Step 4: Remove from heat, cool 15 minutes, strain and put some in your next cup of joe!

 

Recipe adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride,www.jasonandshawnda.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My favorite chocolate icing…

Well, here I am again, it’s been a couple of weeks and I haven’t posted anything. It’s not that my days aren’t jam-packed with excitement (ha, ha a little stay at home mom humor) but it seems lately they have been jam-packed with sickness! Hopefully we are all on the mend now and back in the land of the living!

Bart’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago now and I made him what he claims to be his favorite cake, funfetti with coca cola icing. I believe him about the icing part and we’ll get to makin that in a minute but what I don’t buy is the funfetti part. You see I must explain that while I throughly enjoy making a lot of things from scratch a cake just isn’t one of them. I don’t know if I haven’t used the right recipe or technique or what! My only exception I feel I must add is red velvet cake. A box mix just doesn’t compare, not to mention they aren’t truly red velvet cake in my humble opinion but that is a recipe for another day I promise! Back to the funfetti, that, my friends, just so happens to be MY favorite cake. Always has and always will be especially if I could get my hands on some rainbow chip icing, not the funfetti but rainbow chip!  So when I asked Bart what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday he said funfetti with coca cola icing! What a guy huh? Even thinking of me on his birthday, too bad I was sick and didn’t get to enjoy any of the cake. Oh well, guess I’ll have to make another….

Now to the icing. This is thick and rich and creamy. It’s great on cake or brownies but it is not great for decorating, I tried that. Once you taste this stuff, it won’t matter what the cake looks like though. It will merely be a vehicle for delivery of this decadent icing! My mom and I have made this icing for as long as I can remember and I’m not sure where the recipe came from. As long as you don’t let it come to a boil, it’s hard to mess up! My iphoto has to be updated and I wanted to go ahead and share this recipe so I don’t have step by step pictures but I do have a picture of the final icing.

You will need:

3/4 cup butter

1/4 plus 1/8 of a cup of regular coke(Not diet, the artificial sweeteners taste funky when heated)

4 1/4 tablespoons cocoa

4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine butter, coke and cocoa in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the butter melts and the mixture thickens ever so slightly. This takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Be sure not to bring it to a boil, it will separate and become oily.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla. With a hand mixer gradually mix in the powdered sugar and mix until there are no lumps and the icing is smooth and creamy. The icing will turn from a dark brown to a light brown by the time you are finished.

Yum!

I could really use a piece now….

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Hamburger steaks

It’s been a whole week since I have posted anything and I can’t believe I have gone this long without a post! Last week I had a little cold and keeping up with Soph was about all I could handle. I made a few recipes week before last that I want to share over the next couple of days.

This recipe for hamburger steaks was my favorite thing my mom made when I was growing up. In fact, I just had to make up the hamburger steak name because I always just called them hamburgers in the cheese sauce but I thought that may not be very appealing. Even now when I go home to have supper with my parents I usually request this if she asks what I want. You don’t need any fancy ingredients for this and trust me when I say you need to make mashed potatoes to go on the side.

Let’s hop to it!

Step 1: Take a pound of ground beef and form into small patties and pepper them. (This is about 3/4 of a pound but that’s all we needed for the three of us.) Cook these in a pan over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes per side until the are cooked through then remove them from the pan.

 

Step : Slice half an onion into strips and put in a pan that the hamburger patties were in. I added this part, my mom’s recipe doesn’t call for this but I like a little extra onion. Cook for 5 minutes.

Step 3: After the onions get a little tender, pour in one can of french onion soup. Be sure to scrap all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, they have good flavor.

Step 4: To the soup and onions add 1 cup cubed Velveeta cheese, trust me, it’s good…

Step 5: Turn the heat down to low and stir until the cheese is completely melted but don’t let it boil. If it boils the cheese will separate and it won’t taste bad but it doesn’t look good.

Step 6: Pepper the gravy and add the burgers back in to warm back up a bit and serve!

 

Here’s the recap:

1 lb ground beef

1/2 onion, sliced into strips

1 cup cubed Velveeta cheese

1 can french onion soup

Form ground beef into small patties and pepper them. Cook burgers in a pan over medium heat until they are cooked through. Remove them from the pan and add in your onions. Cook for 5 minutes. Add in french onion soup and scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add in 1 cup cubed Velveeta cheese, reduce the heat to low and stir until the cheese has melted. Add burgers back in to sauce and warm through. Be sure to not let the sauce boil because it will separate.

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Whoopie Pies

We spent the weekend before last in Charleston for a wedding and we also got to stay with Bart’s brother and his family. We always have such a good time with them, I just wish they would move to Knoxville(hint, hint if you’re reading this!) They have a precious little boy who is about 6 months younger than Sophie.  It’s nice to have someone who is going through the same thing about the same time! Sophie stayed in town with my parents and I was pretty nervous to leave her for two nights. What if she didn’t sleep well (highly likely)? What if she didn’t eat well (not as likely)? What if her mouth started hurting and she cried for hours and no one could comfort her but her mama who was 300 miles away?!?!?! Okay, so that last one was pretty far out but I was still worried!

Well, Friday morning we dropped her off in a rush with my dad and she just waved good-bye with a big smile on her face! All the updates I got assured me that she was being good and eating and sleeping and from the sounds of her playing in the background and pictures of her playing she didn’t give a rip we were gone! Sunday afternoon I was expecting her to be really excited to us and she was a little excited but not super excited. I am glad she is well-adjusted and I will know for our next mom and dad get-away she will be just fine!

Friday was my brother-in-laws birthday and I couldn’t show up empty-handed so I made these pumpkin whoopie pies! They were pretty good.  I think the only thing I would change though is either omit the maple syrup or add about three times as much. You couldn’t really taste it in the filling but either way you must make these!

Step 1: Combine 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice in a bowl.

Step 2: In another, larger bowl, combine, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup canola oil, 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 3 cups chilled pumpkin and 2 beaten eggs.

Step 3: Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture until it is fully incorporated.

Step 4: Scoop whoopie pies out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I use a cookie scoop so the cookies are about the same size. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-14 minutes. My oven took 15 minutes.

Step 5: With a mixer combine 1 stick butter, softened, 8 oz. cream cheese softened, 2 cups powdered sugar, 4 tablespoons maple syrup(if you want it) and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Mix until smooth.

Step 6: Spread filling on flat side of cooled pumpkin pie and top with another like sized pie and scarf one down!

Here’s the recap:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

3 cups chilled pumpkin

For the filling:

1 stick butter, softened

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons maple syrup(if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. In another larger bowl combine both sugars, eggs, vanilla, oil, applesauce and pumpkin. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until combined. Scoop whoopie pies out onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake 10-14 minutes. Let cool completely.

For the filling;

Mix butter, cream cheese, maple syrup, cinnamon and powdered sugar until smooth. Spread a layer onto the flat side of one of the whoopie pies and top with a like sized whoopie pie!

Recipe adapted from annies-eats.net

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Harvest Mix

This isn’t much of a recipe but I have seen it on other blogs and also in the grocery store. You have got to try it. I don’t know who thought of combining candy corn and peanuts but I sure am glad they did! This is perfect for the fall and I can garuntee you it won’t last long around your house!

All you need is one bag of candy corn and one jar of peanuts…that’s it! Make some this weekend!

 

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Sausage pepper pizza

I don’t have a story behind this recipe… but I do have a quick story about my great-uncle Sardie. My great-grandmother, Sardie’s sister, lived in Florida.  Every year since I can remember we would go visit her on Spring break. She and her family grew up in Brooklyn and they all moved down to Florida together. I never thought about that as a kid, but as an adult it makes you think about how much they valued their brothers and sisters to move halfway across the country all together. While we were visiting Grandma we would make the rounds to visit all her brothers and sisters also.

To me, Sardie was always the coolest. Number 1, he had a pool and a jacuzzi at his house. Number 2, we almost always ordered pizza. Number 3, he could do magic, real magic tricks! I once saw him push a glass through the table! Sure he could pull a quarter out of my ear but the glass through the table was my favorite trick! I couldn’t wait for him to show us his magic tricks! He even taught my sister and I few tricks along the way which I have since forgotten. The thing I will never forget is what I now call the Sardie split! As I mentioned we almost always ordered pizza and after everyone had a few slices uncle Sardie would say “anyone want to split a another piece?”(Imagine this said in a Brooklyn accent…) Usually no one would split so he would just cut the slice in half and eat half….followed shortly after by the other half!  So anytime I ask someone to split I always think of uncle Sardie.

This recipe is not a new food revolution but I think it’s just good food. I have a lot of fun lately trying out different pizza toppings but this is one of my old standbys. You can use any kind of pizza dough you like, store-bought or homemade. I’m not a big fan of Italian sausage so I use breakfast sausage in this recipe. Give it a try for  your next pizza night!

You will need: Sliced red and green peppers(or whatever colors you like) and sliced red onion. I used 1 red pepper and 1.2 a green pepper and 1/4 sliced onion. the sliced onion is soaking in water to take off some of the heat!

And… 1/2 pound sausage browned and crumbled.

Also… about 1 cup shredded pizza cheese, 6 slices of mozzarella, 1 cup marinara and the dough for one pizza crust.

Step 1: Lay out a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it with cornmeal. This will keep the dough from sticking and adds a nice crunch to the crust.

 

Step 2: Stretch your dough out to your desired thickness.

Step 3: Spread your sauce almost to the edge.

Step 4: Add your peppers and your red onion.

Step 5: Add your sausage.

Step 6: Top with the sliced cheese and the shredded cheese.

Step 7: Bake in a preheated 500 degree oven for 12 minutes! Dig in!

Here’s the recap:

1 round pizza dough

1/2 pound cooked, crumbled and drained sausage

1 sliced red pepper

1/2 sliced green pepper

1/4 of a red onion, sliced

1 cup pizza cheese

6 slices mozzarella

1 cup marina sauce

Spread out a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it with cornmeal. Stretch out your pizza dough to your desired thickness. Spread with marinara sauce. Lay your pepper slices and onion slices on. Sprinkle evenly with sausage. Put on the cheese slices and the shredded cheese. Bake in a 500 degree oven for about 12 minutes.

 

 

 

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