Saturday, March 26, 2011

Monkey Bread and Little Bo Bakes

Since everyone has been sick, we really haven't been doing much except hanging out around the house. I have had a lot of time to spend on the computer, and I have been doing a lot of blog surfing. One of my favorite blogs to visit is http://www.littlebobakes.blogspot.com/. I know and love Little Bo Bakes, and her blog is all about (you guessed it) baking! YUM! She is the best baker I know. Her baked goods complete my world! :)

Now, I have already stated that I am NOT a good baker. Little Bo Bakes is a phenomenal baker. I used to live by Little Bo Bakes.... and she would bake for me all of the time. That was a non-bakers (and stress eaters) heaven. I got to enjoy heaven on earth on a weekly basis, and I didn't even have to do anything. (sigh) But... all good things must come to an end. I will admit I ended it first. I moved away first, and then she moved. Since then, I have had a baked goods addiction that can only be really satisfied by her baking. And yes, her baking has saved my life on several different occasions. :) Every once in a while though, I do try and make something for myself, but I have to be realistic and know it's just not going to be the same, but I do try!

So, there I was on Friday morning, in the snow... yes the snow... (what happened so spring?). I was on Little Bo Bakes blog, and there it was... Monkey bread. I admit I had already bought the stuff to make Monkey bread, but had kinda forgotten about it, since I am the one currently sick, and I was in a drug/cranky kids/snow in spring fog. But there it was, the post was staring me in the face. I couldn't resist.

So here is my attempt at Monkey Bread.


Here are the ingredients I used.

You start by taking the biscuits out of the tubes and cutting them into 4 pieces each.

Then, you put the cinnamon and sugar in a bag, I stuck 10 biscuit pieces in at a time, and you shake the bag to coat. (I did end up doing another 1/2 T of cinnamon about half of the way through. I really wanted to make sure ALL of the pieces had enough cinnamon) :) Then you place them in your pan of choice, that is already coated with butter. I used a bunt pan, but you can use a smaller 8 x 8 square pan if you don't have a bunt pan.

Once all the pieces are placed in your pan of choice, you then sprinkle them with coconut and nuts.

Next, you bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil, and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Then you drizzle the butter & brown sugar goodness on top of the heaven already in your pan. ( I confess, I couldn't wait the whole 10 minutes. I was too excited!) Then bake!

Now, a word of caution! I am not baking professional. So, I am showing you all the dirty behind the scenes stuff. I caramelized my oven! Not a pretty picture. So... when you put your pan full of sugar coated heaven in your oven, put a pan or tin foil underneath it. I checked on it about 15 minutes into it and realized what was happening and put a pan under it, but the damage was already done! Smoke was consistently coming out of my burners, and I had to turn the microwave fan on so my smoke detectors wouldn't go off, but I wasn't giving up!

This is how it looked when it came out! I was so excited. When you pull it out, you are supposed to let it sit about 15 minutes. (I confess, I couldn't wait that long either, I just had to dump it out and attack it after 10 minutes.) And, yes it does look a little crispy, so I would suggest maybe moving the top rack of my oven down next time. Oh well, it's too late now. Maybe I'll have to remember that next time I attempt to bake.


This is the finished product all dumped out, warm and ready to eat. No, it did not come out even, and all at once. But I hate the recipes that have this perfect picture of the food you are supposed to be making, because NO ONE can ever really make it look like the picture. So, here is the NON perfect picture of my monkey bread.

Yes, my oven was sad, and it may have been a little crispy on top, and my picture is less than perfect, but it was sooo... yummy! My 3 little monkeys and I enjoyed it, even with all of it's flaws, on or snowy, spring, sick day.

The Recipe

4 cans refrigerator biscuits (about 40)
1 1/2 T cinnamon
1/2 c butter
1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup peans. and coconut (if desired)

Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. Pour sugar and cinnamon into a plastic bag and mix. Add biscuit pieces, several at a time; shake to coat well. Place pieces in a buttered tube or Bundt pan until all are used. Sprinkle layers with nuts and coconut. Bring brown sugar and butter to a boil in saucepan. Cool 10 minutes, then pour over top of biscuits. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool 15 minutes before removing from pan. Turn upside down to serve.




Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mushroom - Sage & Rice Soup

I made the best soup ever the other day, I just have to share this recipe with everyone. This is one of those soul healing recipes. I don't know why, but good food always fixes what ever is going on, even if it's only for the small moment in time that I am eating it, and sometimes that is all you are going to get, so take it while it comes! ( Can we say STRESS EATER?) Yes, I am a stress eater and food is my best friend. So sit back and enjoy spending time with one of my best friends.... Soup! :)

It really is pretty easy to make, it just takes some time to cook the rice. I am horrible at taking pictures of the whole process. Half of the time I don't even think about bloging or taking pictures of stuff until I am almost finished doing whatever it is I am doing. I do have a few pics for you though.

This is the soup when it's finished and ready to serve (minus the parmesan cheese you are supposed to put on top). Now, it's a vegetarian recipe but I added some shredded chicken to it. The actual recipe calls for these Morningstar brand chic'n strips, which are like a vegan version of chicken. I'm not a big fan of the "fake" meats you can get for vegetarian meals, either you are going to eat meat or your not, but don't fake it! Anyways, that is just my opinion. The chicken in it was good, but I am sure it would taste just fine without any chicken at all. We are not total vegetarians, but J and I are runners, and we have just found that our bodies function better when we are not eating meat every day of the week. Also J has had some major Gallbladder problems, and has found that cutting out a lot of the meat and greasy foods from his diet has made any Gallbladder pain go away. Which is a better alternative to surgery it you ask me.

Now, you can't have amazing soup, with out some sort of bread! So, I googled a fast and easy recipe for Rolls and whipped them up pretty fast! Yum.... I love rolls, I love any kind of bread in general! I also love Google! :) With these rolls, I followed the recipe exactly. For the oil or butter part I used oil. I personally like to use Canola Oil for the things I bake and for the things I am frying, or sauteing I use Olive Oil. I very rarely use Vegetable oil. I just think Canola oil is better for you and makes things taste a little better. But Vegetable oil works good too! When I filled my muffin pans with the dough, I weighed my dough pieces before I rolled them into balls and put them in my muffin pans, and so each one weighted 2 oz and the rolls turned out the perfect size. Also, if you don't have enough muffin pans, like me I only have 1, then I just put the rest of the dough balls onto a cookie sheet, and they were still perfect that way too! I only let my rolls raise about 1/2 an hour (because that is all of the time I had) and I didn't have any problems. So, as you can see these rolls are super fast to whip up if you don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner.

So, here is what I sat down to when it was time to finally eat. Sooooo good. Soup just makes you feel all warm, and cozy, and deliriously full. See, you are smiling and feeling better just thinking about it!

The Recipes

Mushroom Soup

2 T Butter
1 c finely chopped onion
3 celery stalks, chopped finely
1 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
4 T all purpose flour
5 c vegetable stock
4 oz brown rice
8 oz mushrooms
1 T soy sauce
1 pkg Morningstar Chic'n Strips (optional, can substitute with real chicken)
1 c heavy cream
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese

Melt 1 T butter in lg saucepan. Add onion, celery and sage. Fry on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir in flour & continue to stir for 2 more minutes. Add vegetable broth 1/4 cup at a time until flour is all mixed in, then pour in remaining broth. Stir to combine completely. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low. Stir in rice. Simmer for aprox 30 minutes. In another pan, melt remaining T of butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms & soy sauce. Saute for apx 6-8 minutes. Add mushrooms to soup. Add chicken and cream. Continue to simmer for aprox 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.
(Recipe came from the e-mealz website)

Rolls

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 c lukewarm water
1 egg
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 c oil or melted butter
3 c flour, sifted

Dissolve yeast in water, then add egg, sugar, salt, and oil (or butter). Add 1/2 the flour and beat with mixer until smooth, then add the rest of the flour and beat until smooth. Fill greased muffin pans 1/2 full and let rise until double. Bake @ 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Brush tops with butter while still warm.

(This recipe came from www.Cooks.com)


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The hair cut

Okay so I have been feeling restless lately. I am very impatient, and usually when I am wanting to make some sort of change to myself I end up cutting my hair because it's the fastest way to make a big change. I know I can diet, or try and work on changing a bad habit (like my bad swearing habit) or something like that, and I do work on those things. But they take way to long in my opinion, and usually with long term stuff like that, I just end up forgetting I was trying to change in the first place. I need to see results, and fast!

I lived in Albuquerque, NM for a few years and while I was there I had an amazing hair stylist, so I was always cutting my hair. I loved it.

Well, since I moved here, I really haven't had the time to even cut my hair let alone take the time to find a crazy cute hair cut to try out, so I just really haven't cut my hair since I moved. I think I have had 3 hair cuts in 4 1/2 years. I know.... that sounds awful! Don't judge me, I've had a lot going on!

Well, you will all be happy to know that the time for a major change came. I was determined this time. I sat down searching the internet for pictures of short hair, and then..... I found it! You know, THE ONE! The hair cut of all hair cuts. The picture came up on my computer screen and the heavens opened, angels were singing, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside! I was gonna me one hot mamma! :) Once I decided there was no time to waste.
Here is my before picture. Can you hear J crying while he is snapping this picture? He loves my hair long. He's not a big fan of me cutting my hair all of the time. But, he realizes that if he interferes, he will be stuck listening to me complain about my hair until I finally just get it cut anyways.


Here is my new look! What do you guys think? I personally LOVE IT!!!!!! (I am singing the words "love it" by the way. That is how happy I am over my hair) It's so refreshing, and the best part is that J LOVES IT too! I was so shocked. I have had a series of bad, short haircuts due to my impatience and just wanting to cut all my hair off. The fact that he absolutely loves this hair cut as much as I do was the cherry on top of my already amazing Chocolate Ice Cream Sunday I have whipped up for myself.

Oh yes, I am now one sassy mamma ready to take on the world, or maybe just my sick kids and messy house! Either way, I know I'll be looking good while I do it, weather I succeed or not! :)

So, to all of you mom's. Go out and do something daring, brave and crazy for yourselves! You will feel better in the end! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Whatever gets the job done.

Okay, since everyone has been sick lately I haven't had much time for crafting. I have spent the majority of my time driving to and from the Dr, and trying to keep my house clean. Which is what gave me the idea for this post.


I am a stay at home mom, and I spend most of my time cleaning, cleaning, and then when I'm done I usually have more cleaning to do. It gets so boring..... I struggle with keeping my house clean. I am not one of those naturally clean people, who automatically just cleans up after myself as soon as I am done with whatever it is that I am doing. So, my house is never really "dirty" I would say, but it is always cluttered!

I swear I have ADHD, because I can never just concentrate on cleaning. I'll pick up something in one room and take it to another room to put it away, but I usually get distracted on the way to wherever it is that I am going, and then I start cleaning another room, or doing something else that has nothing to do with cleaning. My kids are always interrupting me and needing something, and by the time I am done with all of my distractions it has been 4 hours, I'm exhausted, and nothing is clean, and I don't even remember the room I started cleaning in to begin with, so I usually end up starting the whole process over again in another room!

This is where my head phones come in! I have found that if I listen to my head phones while I clean I can totally concentrate and I get so much stuff done. In one hour with my head phones on I can usually get as much stuff done as I would get done in a day with no head phones. It's awesome. The down side is, that I am usually singing and dancing while I listen to my head phones. Unless I am running, I can't NOT sing and dance while I listen to my music. It's almost an involuntary response. I'm a horrible singer, and I can only imagine the horrible things my kids are suffering through while I am singing as loud as I can with my head phones on, and I can't actually hear the notes I am singing. It's the same story for dancing. I'm a terrible dancer. I'm like Elaine off of Seinfeld. Did you guys ever see the episode where Elaine goes to this party and George is there with her, and he see Elaine dancing and all of these people are staring at her with these horrified faces because she is such a bad dancer. Later on in the episode George is trying to describe to Seinfeld how bad she dances and he says "It's like watching a full body dry heave." Okay, this is totally me. Just picture me, in my sweats, shouting Lady Gaga at the top of my lungs and doing a full body dry heave all over my house while I am cleaning..... I'm sure it's an awful site to see, but it gets the job done! So until I find a better solution for my cleaning disability, this will just have to do and my family will just have to deal with it. It makes me happy, and that's all that matters anyways, right? :)

Sick little man! :(

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Mr. Blue Eyes was diagnosed with RSV about a week ago so we have been dealing with that. Look at his sad little face! I felt so bad for him.

I took this picture the other day though, and he is definitely getting better! He is back to climbing into everything, destroying things, and just causing mischief! :) He is my happy baby boy once again!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How it all started.....

Hello everyone, Welcome to my Blog!

This Blog isn't about anything specific, it's just about the things I like, think, and do on a daily basis. But before I get into why I feel the need to have a blog, I thought I'd share the story of how it all started.

Okay, do you all see these cookies? These cookies are the inspiration behind this whole blog.

My daughter who is in preschool, came home one day before Valentines day with cookies from her teacher that were similar to these. They were Short Bread cookies, with 1/2 of each cookie dipped in chocolate. Oh YUM!!! They were soooo..... good! Well, my husband went out of town the day before Valentines day and left me all alone with 3 kids on that wonderful day of love, so I replaced him with my own version of the cookies I was newly obsessed with.

Now, the reason these cookies have inspired me to finally start some sort of crafty blog is this... they turned out so pretty! Don't you think they are pretty? I was so proud of myself, I wanted to share this picture with the world. I like to bake, but I am not very good at it, and most of the time the things I bake are eatable, but they look awful! I never ever offer to bring dessert anywhere because I always mess something up, and it just looks sad, and you know people are only eating it out of pity, or they aren't even eating it at all, they are just taking a piece and dumping it in the garbage can. I just decided that since no one was going to be around to know if I screwed up or not on these cookies, I would try them.

I made a batch of sugar cookies, melted chocolate and dipped them in & let them cool down. Then I took white chocolate, melted it in the microwave and used my cake decorating kit to drizzle the white stripes on the top. Then I took the 1/2 of the melted white chocolate and added some red dye to it, and then drizzled red strips on top of the cookies as well! Seriously, these cookies are the best thing that I have ever eaten.

My batch of cookies made 60 cookies, so I acted fast and gave away most of them before I could consume them all. I won't deny it, I think I ate at least 20 of them. They were that good, and there was no one around to comment on how many I was eating, so I just kept going! :) It ended up being a good Valentines Day after all!

I am still insanely proud of myself when I think about these cookies and how they turned out, and now I have satisfied my need to share my brilliance with the world. So, Thank You world for sharing this with me! :)

Sugar Cookie Recipe:

1 C Butter
1 1/2 C Sugar
1 t vanilla
2 egs
1 C Sour Cream
5 C Flour
2 t Baking Powder
1 t Baking Soda
1/2 t salt
Mix first 5 ingredients together. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Chill for 1/2 to 1 hour in refrigerator. Roll out dough ad cut into favorite shapes. Bake on ungreased sheet at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.