Friday, September 18, 2015

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Muffin Saturday Mornings are still going strong in my home... See original post here. Double chocolate banana muffins are hands down our favorite. These beauties are the bomb. No, really. They are calorie bombs... nothing remotely healthy here. It's a glorified cupcake for breakfast. Don't let the banana and lack of frosting fool you. If you're not afraid of a little splurge, pin this recipe. You'll thank me. Hopefully.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a small bowl, combine bananas, oil and egg. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill greased muffin cups two thirds full. Bake at 350° F for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done. Makes 18 muffins.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sweet & Sour Chicken with Ham Fried Rice

Let me introduce my favorite homemade meal of all time: (Ok, one of my favorites. I have a LOT of favorites.) Sweet & Sour Chicken with Ham Fried Rice... It brings me joy. I personally like this recipe a lot more than it's take out counterpart. I'm not gonna lie, the time it takes to prepare is slightly daunting (90 minutes give or take), but soooo worth it. If you're up for a rewarding evening of cooking and eating, give this baby a try! 

Sweet & Sour Chicken (recipe from my super chef sis-in-law, Heidi Humphries)

2-3 chicken breasts cut into one inch cubes or strips
3/4 cup flour mixed with 3/4 cup cornstarch in a large Ziploc bag
4 - 5 eggs, beaten well in a large bowl
Canola oil for frying
Sweet and Sour sauce (below)

Add the cut up chicken to the flour mixture and toss to coat. Heat the oil until a small test piece of chicken immediately bubbles. Set up an assembly line: bag of chicken, bowl of egg, frying oil. Cook the chicken in batches by dipping each piece of chicken in egg and frying until golden and cooked most of the way through. Drain on paper towels and place in a 9 x 13 pan in a single layer but slightly overlapped. Pour the sweet and sour sauce over chicken and bake in a 375 degree oven until bubbly, about 35 - 45 minutes. If you have a ton of meat, you may choose to double the sauce (I like to have extra sauce, so I always double it). It won't really change anything but the cooking time because it may take longer to get all bubbly.  

Sweet and Sour sauce

3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vinegar (apple cider is best...white is much too strong)
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 - 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, mixed with water

Combine everything but cornstarch in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until it just starts to boil. Add cornstarch mixture a little at a time and cook until thickened to gravy consistency. 

Ham Fried Rice

4 Tbsp. butter 
Ham, about 3/4 cup finely diced (or more if you like) 
Cold rice, about 3 - 4 cups
Garlic powder 
Onion powder
Salt and pepper
Soy sauce
3 - 4 eggs, beaten with a little water

Melt the butter in a large pot. Sauté the ham over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and if it looks dry you can add a little more butter. Sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper and stir really well. Pour in soy sauce a little at a time until it starts to look like restaurant fried rice, kind of golden. (Taste as you go... you want to make sure you don't add too much.) In a separate pan cook up the eggs until they are mostly scrambled, but runny. Add them to the rice and stir gently. Let it all sauté for a few more minutes until the egg is cooked.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Liebster Award? Well, Thank You! Thank You Very Much!

It's been a while since I blogged. 454 days to be exact. I've had a rough year. Haven't felt much like sharing anything... especially humor. That has to change. The masses need to laugh, and they need to do it while baking muffins. My best friend Candace nominated my blog for the Liebster Award, and I'm really grateful. She was inspired as usual. This is the kick in the butt I needed.

The Liebster award is passed friend to friend, blogger to blogger, to those whom have in some way influenced your character, changed the way you think or feel, and/or let your mind fill with inspirational MAGIC! And to help introduce other readers, writers, or authors to share in the fun.  

The rules:

1. Acknowledge you belong in the blogging community, and that you ROCK! 

2. Nominate influential bloggers that you have admired, read, love, and let the world know it!

3. Give these lovely people a few questions.

4. Answer said questions.

5. Watch the world ignite with excitement.  Share!

There you have it... Hopefully I can do this justice. Who am I kidding? I'm going to answer the majority of these questions facetiously, and I'm going to be brief, because simply put, it's the kind of mood I'm in. Here are the questions Candace asked me:

1. Who has been a constant in your life, making you the person you are today?

My library card. I got him when I was eight years old. Library card has always been there for me. He's introduced me to literally thousands of characters, and I most assuredly wouldn't be the brilliant person I am today without him. Thanks for bringing the two of us together Mom.

2. What song would play at the quintessential part of your own movie?

"We Close Our Eyes" by Oingo Boingo. Except that Psych just used it for their quintessential moment. I really wish they hadn't done that. Season seven was just awful. So bad. Jump the Shark much? I digress. My second choice would be "How Soon is Now" by The Smiths... but only if my life continues in it's current depressing spiral.

3. List three literary characters that best represent you, or wish you had created.

David Copperfield. Big surprise. I adore his character more than any other because he taught me that it doesn't matter what circumstance I'm in, I can always do my best.

Harry Potter. He best represents me because people are in awe of him for being this super great wizard, and he's like "I'm just Harry." I can relate to that sometimes. I'm not saying that to be braggy. I'm merely pointing out that I don't always feel as super great as you perceive me to be. I have some major self esteem issues. Working on that.

Corrie ten Boom. Ok, I know she's not a fictional character, but dang. She was an amazing woman. I can't remember the last time I was so touched by someone's life story.

4. How do you inspire those around you?

See my above comment about David Copperfield... "My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest."

Hmmmm. That'd be a great name for a blog.

5. What is the tagline for the book of your life?

I have literally sat here for an hour trying to think of something clever to say. I've got nothing. Zippo. Candace, I hereby bequeath this mammoth task to you. I figure you might as well write my tagline since you'll be the one penning the story of my life someday. Would you please make sure they give me a brilliant British accent when they make the movie adaption? Also, hidden magical powers. Thanks in advance. 

I nominate the following lovely people. Their online presence puts mine to shame:

Heather Morrison - Heather's devotion to her family & staying on top of their personal history is inspiring to me! 

Joy Candrian - Joy is creativity personified. I really admire her crafting & Grandmothering skills! She also reads like crazy... I really love that :)

Michelle Michelle's gazillion online recipes make my twelve recipes look like... well twelve recipes. She's amazing, and I envy her Pinterest fame!

Angela Angela manages her ten children with much more grace and humor than I do my with my five, and she still finds time to keep up a wonderful family blog. 

Here are my questions for you my nominated friends:

1. What is one book that you go back to again, and again? Your literary comfort food?

2. Which actress would you want to play you in a movie about your life? What actor would play your significant other?

3. How has social media affected your life? Could you live without it?

4. List your top five pet peeves. Being nominated for stuff like this can't be one of them ;)

5. Do you wish on stars? If yes, why? If no, why the heavens not? It totally works.

Thanks again Candace, for the honor of being nominated. More importantly though, for the honor of being best friends with one of THE cleverest people on the planet. I love you goopy girl :) Visit Candace's blog at:

Friday, April 4, 2014

Spongebob Squarecakes

Fifteen years ago I was introduced to a little square dude named Spongebob... It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Hands down, it's the coolest cartoon EVAH.  I can quote seasons 1-4 by heart... So can my kids.  Don't get us started.  

I love Spongebob so much, I named a recipe after him.  When my twinners were little, they were pretty picky.  I made german pancakes one day and wondered how the heck I was going to convince them to eat it... I used my IMAGINATION.  I told them that we were eating Spongebob Squarecakes.  They literally ate it up :)  "The most important meal of the day, serving it up Gary's way!!!"  Food humor.  Heh heh.

Here's the delicious recipe... You can just call it german pancakes at your house if you want, but I'll cry you a sweater of tears if you do.

Spongebob Squarecakes

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400.  Place first six ingredients in the blender.  Blend until smooth.  Place the butter in a 9x13 baking dish and put in oven to melt.  Pour batter into the buttered baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Serve immediately with desired toppings... We love syrup & powdered sugar, or strawberry freezer jam with whipped cream.  It's good for your soul.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tomato Soup in the Blendtec & 90 Minute Bread

Spring is in the air (wishful thinking), so I guess I better post one more comfort food recipe before it's too late.

I **HEART** tomato soup.  I also **HEART** dipping toasted tuna sammies in my tomato soup.  Sigh <3 <3 <3  I have a couple conditions when it comes to my crazy love for tomato soup & tuna sammies.  One:  The soup must be silky smooth. No chunks.  Chunks = Gag me with a spoon.  Literally.  Two:  The bread's gotta be homemade.  

Now, a word before we begin with the recipes.  I am not a professional chef.  I'm a busy Mom.  If you're a regular follower of my bloggie, you know that I take shortcuts galore, and I have a tendency to use phrases such as "throw it in the pot", "add whatever you like", and "cook for a few hours".  If you ever have questions about one of my recipes (ie: Just how hard should you throw said ingredient into the pot, you really don't know what you like, or the definition of "a few") leave a comment below, and I'll answer!  I want your dinner to be successful, I really do :)

Tomato Soup in the Blendtec

3 cloves minced garlic (1 1/2 teaspoons of the pre-minced stuff.  Heck yes I use it.)
3 - 14oz cans of crushed tomatoes (or whole, or diced, whatever... it doesn't matter at ALL.  You're gonna pulverize this stuff)
2 cups water
2 chicken bullion cubes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons fresh basil (or freeze dried... tried it both ways, doesn't make a lick of difference.  I never have fresh herbs laying around.  I admire people who do.  I wish those people would write a blog about how to get your crap together.  I would so follow that.)

Here we go, ready?  Throw EVERYTHING into your Blendtec (or equivalent large capacity blender).  Make sure the lid's on tight.  Hit the soup button.  Soup's done.  You can eat it right now if you want because the Blendtec makes the soup "hot". More like luke warm.  I never do that... I pour it in the crock pot & let it simmer for a few hours while I get the bread going. Speaking of bread, here's the recipe:

90 Minute Bread

2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups flour

Here we go again, ready?  Throw the ingredients into your Kitchen Aid mixer in the order listed.  Attach the dough hook & give it a good knead, adding a tiny bit of extra flour as you go until the dough's not tacky.  Divide dough into two loaves, and place in two greased pans.  Cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray.  This stuff rises quick... 45 minutes at the most.  Once it's doubled up, bake at 375 for 30 minutes.  Brush with butter & let cool for a bit.

Cut the bread nice & thick, toast it, and fill with tuna prepped with mayo.  Dip the tuna sammie in your lovely silky smooth tomato soup.  Sigh contentedly. Life is beautiful. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Simple Shepherd's Pie

I've been trying to come up with a clever name for my Shepherd's Pie, but I'm drawing a blank... I am currently suffering from a holiday induced brain cloud.  I've also been trying for months to get an appetizing picture of it... That's never gonna happen for two reasons:  1. We usually devour it before I remember to take said picture, and 2: Even if I do remember, it's just not the prettiest food.  In fact, it's quite possibly the ugliest food on the planet.  Once, I made this for dinner on St. Patty's Day & used green mashed potatoes. Don't ever do that.  It wasn't gross tasting, just psychologically scarring.  It looked so nasty. So yeah... Even though my Shepherd's Pie lacks a clever name, and a drool inducing picture, I feel I must share the recipe with you anyway... it's just too good to keep to myself any longer :)  Just remember that it tastes better than it looks.  Waaaaaay better.

Simple Shepherd's Pie

1 lb lean ground beef
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
Salt & pepper to taste
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can corn drained (or french cut green beans)
4-5 cups instant mashed potatoes (prepared as directed)
Shredded cheddar cheese (As much as you like.  'Round these parts that means TONS)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray.  In a large frying pan, cook lean ground beef, dried minced onion, salt, and pepper until meat is browned.  Drain.  Return to pan & add tomato sauce.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Layer the ingredients in the casserole dish in this order:  Meat, corn, mashed potatoes, shredded cheddar cheese.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Serve with Rhodes rolls if you're as lazy (or busy) as I am most days.

Like the completely boring and not at all clever name of this recipe suggests, this is a really simple dinner... I think that's why it's such a big hit around here.  It's one of our favorite Sunday meals because it's so yummy & so easy to make.  I'm thinking since we start early church this Sunday, I'll make the pie the night before... That way I can take a nap while it's cooking!!  I'm going to be sooooooo tired.  I've been sleeping in till 10:30 every morning this entire Christmas break.  Hence the brain cloud.  I hope you enjoy this recipe... let me know what you think!  Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Go Ahead, Play With Your Food!

I've suddenly found myself with a tiny bit of spare time on my hands... what?!  Weird.  So today I've decided to take a minute & share some of my favorite Bento Box creations from the last few months with you! It's been almost two years since I discovered this fun little trend, and I still love it!!  That's saying A LOT for my usually short attention span!!  My Bento Boxes are really simple... I don't use sticky rice & sushi, or cut designs out of seaweed... they're just cute, and my two littles request them everyday :)  Feel free to follow my Bento board on Pinterest, and please don't hesitate to message me with questions! Now go ahead, play with your food!