Pure Random

I can’t quite figure out what I wanted to blog about today, so I will talk about different subjects, and give you a peek at what is going on in my mind…

Warning, it is quite diverse and a few different subjects at one time.

Food:

(Not my picture. XD)

I did it! I actually tried baking with the fresh strawberries, and let me say, it was delicious! Let’s just say the cake didn’t last long enough to take a picture. My family (aka: Me, my husband and my daughter) LOVED it and it was eaten pretty quickly.

My daughter’s 2nd birthday is coming up, so I may try something like this again for her cake (I am baking it for her this year to try to save money for the zoo!) so this is definitely an idea that will be shelved and saved for future reference.

Design:

Have you seen this picture going around?

You know what I’m going to point out, right? ….

I hope you answered THE RUG! *laughs* LOOK!

It’s an older style more traditional rug but it fits in this room VERY well! I would have never thought of placing this rug in this room, but look how beautiful it looks? Isn’t it fantastic? So I tried to see if I can find a rug similar to this on eSaleRugs.com

I think I found some close ones… what do you think?

esalerugs.com/22096199

esalerugs.com/22098990

Then I found a colorful version. ;P

esalerugs.com/22129645

Now, the colorful one isn’t exactly the same, but I thought it was interesting!

Kids/Family:

And I am really excited! My baby is turning 2!! It’s amazing how fast time goes by! And we know what we’re doing for her birthday. She isn’t going to get many presents, but she is going to visit…..

*trumpets*

THE ZOO!

We have been wanting to take her to the zoo since the first time she watched We Bought A Zoo! She loved that movie and it was her favorite for the longest time. And now, she gets to see a zoo! We figured that she is old enough now to actually enjoy it and have fun, so it’s the great “First Trip” (besides the cross country drive… but all she saw then was the backseat while wrapped in a blanket. *laughs*)

This is where we are going!

Riverbanks zoo and garden in Columbia, SC! I am truly excited. I will probably be taking a lot of pictures. My facebook friends are going to get a lot of new photos in a new album pop up on their feed soon after this. *wink*

I have been trying to plan this, but I think, in the end, winging it will just be the best thing. See what she wants to do and where she wants to go. Should be a blast.

And….

That is a look at what goes on in my brain at one time. It is quite… amusing how it jumps so quickly to all of it and bounces back between them.

What is going on in your mind today?

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Going to attempt…

Alright, I have always wanted to experiment with this, but I am always to scared I’ll mess it up, but people do it ALL THE TIME.

What if it ruins it?

What am I talking about?

Putting fruit in a cake mix and baking it. *laughs*

But this will be attempted tonight. I will cheat a little and use this mix:

Yes. Going to try. And the strawberries:

Except there are a LOT less. Must admit, me and my husband have been snacking and eating. But hey, there are still some to try!

I also have this:

Such a wonderful Combination.

And trust me, I’ll let you know how it turns out. ;P

Any recipes you tried? Did it work or did it fail? And for all those who cook with fruit IN the cake, any advise?

Delicious, Here I Come!

Can you tell? I’m HUNGRY! And so I started looking at possible recipes. And would you know that FoodNetwork.com is the WORST place to look! Want to know why? They  have lists and catagories and recommendations and GAH! I am drooling just thinking about all that I have seen. Not fair, by the way. I am STARVING now.

So we’re going to do the same to you. I am going to have a BUNCH of pictures here to show recipes I found, and I’ll post some. In fact, let me do a few entries for different themes. Maybe. But for sure, here are the photos. O.O (And if you want the recipe, CLICK ON THE PICTURE! Or just wait for my entry on the recipe. Yum…)

Main Chicken Entrees:


Seafood and Snacks:


Deserts:




And the topper to my hunger (Now I have HUGE cravings!)

Ingredients

  • 14 graham cracker squares (7 full sheets)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 2/3 cup sugar, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups 1 percent low-fat milk
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.

In a food processor, process the graham crackers until finely ground. Add butter and water and process until the crumbs clump together. Press the crumb mixture into bottom of pie plate and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes, then let cool.

In the meantime, make the pudding. Put the gelatin in a small bowl, add the boiling water and stir until dissolved. Set aside.

In a medium saucean mix the 2/3 cup of sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Gradually add half of the milk, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the rest of the milk. Turn the heat on to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Stir in the vanilla and reserved gelatin. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and let set for 3 hours in the refrigerator.

Whip the cream and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Before serving, garnish the pie with the whipped cream.

Old Fashioned Home Style Cooking

I feel… nostalgic. I remember when I was little, my mom or dad cooking up some of my favorite stew or soup in the world:

Beef Stew.

It was so delicious. Once I got older, I realized how simple it was as well.

What’s even better:
CROCK POTS.

Yes, cooking in a crock pot saves time but also creates these delicious flavorful meals.  And seeing as I am a working mom, it makes life WONDERFUL. Throw it all together, and I get the delicious tasting home style cooking that I adored when I was little. In fact, here is my own personal recipe. (Although, there aren’t nice descriptions of how much, etc.)

Beef Stew (YoungMomDecor Type)


Ingrediants:

A Cut of Beef (size depending upon your size of crockpot)
Kernels of Corn
Potatoes (Peeled and cut into big chunks)
Salt
Pepper

Additional/Optional Ingrediants:

Celery
Carrots

Directions:

– Put in the beef but arrange it so there is room around it to put the vegetables (corn, potatoes, etc).

– Spread the veggies around with a nice mixture. Make sure it is not too stuffed so you can add water to make actual stew.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of everything.

– Add a little amount of water, maybe a few cups, that way to encourage the liquid/stew part. The less you do, the thicker it will be, but you do want a least a little.

– Put lid on top and start the crock pot. Let it sit all day.

– Serve and enjoy! The richness and simplicity does wonders and is enjoyable by all! (The kids even eat the veggies!)

I know, simple, but worth the wait. And all you have to do is throw it all together in the morning and have a perfect dinner at night.

Honestly, makes me drool just thinking about it.

I Feel…

Like a Pizza night!

Or to be even more picky, I want a Calzone. A scrumptious, delicious Calzone… (Drooling at the thought.)

I love the ones they have at Pizza Hut, but I don’t want to pay that much for just one when I should share with my husband and daughter as well. Then it hit me: MAKE THEM.

Now here is how I differ from most calzone recipes. I always believed in making with NO sauce in the middle, but rather dip the calzone in sauce.

Very hard to find a recipe with it.

But I found one that I like enough, and I say, you can do it either way. Cook it with sauce in it, or leave the sauce out and dip. Your choice.

(Found at www.5dollardinners.com)

Ingredients
1 cup water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp sugar
1 package yeast
1 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
About 40 pepperonis
1 Tbsp olive oil
Couple shakes of garlic salt

Directions

Place the first 9 ingredients into bread machine on dough cycle. By hand instructions for pizza dough can be found here.

calzones 1 Pepperoni Calzones

1. Once the dough cycle is complete, place the dough on a clean, floured surface.

calzones 2 Pepperoni Calzones

2.Knead into a ball.

calzones 3 Pepperoni Calzones

3. Divide the dough into 2 balls.

calzones 4 Pepperoni Calzones

4. Further divide into 4 balls.

calzones 5 Pepperoni Calzones

5. And divide one more time into 8 little dough balls.  (From here, I took 2 of these dough balls and made them into 4, so that I could make “mini-calzones” for the boys.)

calzones 6 Pepperoni Calzones

6. Roll out the dough balls into rectangular-oval-ish shapes.  Place onto greased baking sheets.

calzones 7 Pepperoni Calzones

7.Place a few pepperonis onto one half of the dough.

calzones 8 Pepperoni Calzones

8. Top with some sauce, cheese and more pepperonis.

calzones 9 Pepperoni Calzones

9. Fold the other half over.

calzones 10 Pepperoni Calzones

10. Pinch the edges together.

calzones 11 Pepperoni Calzones

11. And mash the edges together with a fork.  (This step is not necessary, but I like to do it to prevent the sauce from leaking out!)

calzones 12 Pepperoni Calzones

12. Brush the top with olive oil.

calzones 13 Pepperoni Calzones

13. Sprinkle garlic salt on top.

calzones 14 Pepperoni Calzones

14. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Now, these are simple, but look delicious! Definitely worth a shot! I love how the www.5dollardinners.com site shows step by step. This makes it very useful.

Again, I cook without the sauce in, but feel free to put the sauce in like they did. It works either way.

Now, time to go munch!

The Forgotten Itch….

With all my careful planning, with all the thought I had put into yesterday’s entry, I regretfully say that there was something I forgotten to include in my list that is quite embarrassing.

The Itch of Cooking.

*blushes* Yes, I have to say, I forgot to include cooking on my list! (But in my defense, I was trying to avoid thinking of food to make sure I wouldn’t become hungry before dinner! *laughs*)

What would my blog be like if I didn’t include recipes? EMPTY!! I normally include recipes here and there! And it’s because, I seriously, truly like and enjoying doing so.

But cleaning up after is an entirely different story. *wink*

So, to make up for my brain forgetting to list this yesterday, I will give TWO recipes today to make up for it!

First, one of my childhood favorites! Chicken n’ dumplings! Unfortunately, I do not have my grandma’s recipe at hand, but that’s okay. Being a mom, sometimes I don’t have the time to do everything the way my grandma did. And with that in mind, I will show you a quick recipe for it, from Betty Crocker. ( Click here for the actual site)

 Ingredients:
1  1/2 cups milk
1 cup frozen green peas and carrots
1 cup cut-up cooked chicken
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed creamy chicken mushroom soup
For the Dumplings:
1 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1/3 cup milk 
Paprika, if desired
Cooking Directions:
 1. Heat 1 1/2 cups milk, the peas and carrots, chicken and soup to boiling in 3-quart saucepan, stirring frequently.
2. Stir Bisquick mix and 1/3 cup milk until soft dough forms. Drop dough by 8 spoonfuls onto chicken mixture (do not drop directly into liquid). Sprinkle with paprika.
3. Cook uncovered over low heat 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer.
————————————————
Now, for the desert.
These are easy to make and are a hit with just about everyone. Yum… I am craving them now. ..
But now is not the  time to dream of these treats! But rather, show you the recipe.
(Again, here’s the link.)

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package dark chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package low calorie chocolate cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the dark and light chocolate cake mix. Add the eggs and oil, mix until well blended. Roll dough into 2 inch balls, and place them onto the prepared cookie sheet. Flatten the balls slightly with the back of a spoon.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
  4. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese and confectioner’ sugar together until smooth. Spread between two cooled cookies.

Now, ENJOY my apology!