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Dec 30, 2013

Apple Cider Bread

Apple Cider Bread

We always have an abundance of apple cider in our house because my kids love the stuff, so when I saw this recipe in Recipe Girl's cookbook, I knew I had to make it.
I like that it came out moist and with lots of flavor, a really good bread, my tip is to try  a combination of apples to give it all different flavors. (i.e. granny smith, braebrun, and Jonathon)

You will need:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
2 large eggs
½ cup apple cider
2 ¼ cup peeled and cored,chopped apples (about 3)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

To Make:
Preheat oven to 350 F.   
Grease and flour a 8 x 5 inch loaf pan.
 In a medium bowl, use mixer to beat the sugars and butter  until light and creamy, 1-2 minutes. 
Beat in the eggs until incorporated. Add the flour mixture half at a time, alternating with the cider, and mix just until combined.

In a small bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. Stir in the apples into the batter.
Scoop the batter into the pan. Bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 
Cool in pan for at least 20 minutes and turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Then dive in and eat up!

Recipe Source: Recipe Girl by lori lange

Dec 28, 2013

Beef Fajitas

or the old-fashioned tortilla way.

My husband LOVES fajitas, so he was quite excited when I made these delicious Beef Fajitas.
If you're on a low carb diet, I did some like that as well using lettuce cups instead of the tortilla.

1 whole Beef Flank Steak
1/2 cup Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 cup Lime Juice, Fresh Squeezed, about 3
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 whole Medium Onions, Halved And Sliced
1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Sliced
1 whole Orange Bell Pepper, Sliced
1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Sliced
1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper, Sliced
 Oil, For Frying
 Flour Tortillas, Warmed
 Cheese (grated Cheddar/jack Or Crumbled Queso Fresco)
 Sour Cream
 Cilantro Leaves

Preparation Instructions

In a dish, mix together olive oil, Worcestershire, lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and sugar until combined. 

Pour half of the marinade into a separate dish. 
In one dish, place the flank steak, turning it over to coat.

 In the second dish, place all the veggies, turning to coat. 
Cover the dishes with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Prepare tortillas, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.
Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle in some oil. 
Add the veggies and cook them for a few minutes, until they're cooked but still slightly firm and have nice black/brown pieces.

Remove to a plate and set aside.
Heat the same same skillet (or a grill pan if you have it) over high heat and drizzle some oil. 
Cook the meat for about 2 minutes per side until medium rare.
 Remove and allow to rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes.
Slice the meat right before serving and serve with all the fixins. 

Dec 27, 2013

Braised Brisket

Braised Brisket
I saw this recipe and knew immediately that my husband would love it....which he did!
I loved that it was a crock pot recipe, those are the best, and I seared mine on the stove top and then transferred it to the crock pot for the rest of the day.

You will need:
1 (3 pound) brisket
¼ cup salt
1 Tbsp pepper
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 carrot, peeled & roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
4 cups dry red wine
1 Tbsp beef Better than Bouillon or 3 bouillon cubes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
6 sprigs of fresh herbs (any combination of 2 sprigs each of rosemary, thyme, parsley, or oregano)

What to do:
The brisket can be braised in a crock pot or pressure cooker, or on the stove top or in the oven- whichever you prefer. If you choose the oven, set it to 375 F.

If  you have a roasting pan large enough for the shape of the brisket, use that to sear the brisket on stove top. If not, use 6 quart saucepot & cut brisket in half to fit.

Season brisket with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in saucepot or roasting pan on high. Cook brisket for 5 minutes on each side to sear well. Remove meat from pan and add carrot, onion, & celery to pan. Roast vegetables for 5 minutes until they start to brown.
Shimmy the meat back into the pan, or if using crock pot, pressure cooker, or different pan, move the meat and vegetables there.

Add red wine. Anything you have is fine. Cover the brisket with water and add Better than Bouillon, tomato paste, and fresh herbs.

Cooking options
Oven: 3 hours at 375 F
Saucepot: 3 hours on low, with pot tightly covered with lid or foil
Crock pot: 3 hours on low
Pressure Cooker: 2 hours on medium-low

Once the brisket is done cooking, remove the pot or pan from heat, and let the meat rest 30 minutes in the juices. 
Use a spoon to skim any fat off the top of the liquid.
If the sauce isn’t thick enough, transfer it to a medium saucepot and cook it over medium heat until it reduces to the thickness you want. 
Then return it to the cooking vessel.
Slice the brisket and put it back in the sauce.

I like to serve with mashed potatoes or cauliflower gratin.

Recipe Source: The Busy Mom’s Cookbook by Antonia Lofaso

Dec 21, 2013

Neighbor Christmas Gifts

The holidays are just a few days away and I wanted to share with you my two favorite dessert recipes.
I decided to make friend/neighbor gifts out of these and here is what I did and the recipes as well.

The first one I made was these delicious Oreo Stuffed Brownies,
recipe here and I got plastic bags at Hobby Lobby and cute Christmas twine there as well.
Stack them on top of each other and they make a beautiful gift!

Oreo Stuffed Brownie Christmas Gifts

The other treat I wanted to share with my friends was this Buttermilk Banana Bread that just makes me SWOON.
The recipe is here.

I wrapped them up in wax paper and used the same string to tie the ends.
I printed off some free printables found here.


I hope you, your friends, and neighbors all enjoy.....I know mine sure did!

Buttermilk Banana Bread

Buttermilk Banana Bread

I have such a HUGE love of bananas and I thought it was weird how I could love bananas in everything from oatmeal, to smoothies, ice cream, and pancakes, but I have never LOVED a single banana bread recipe I've ever made. I was thinking for a few years there that I just didn't like banana bread, but lo and was just that I had never found the RIGHT recipe.
Well, this one blew my socks off and I have already made it 3 times in the month of December.'s THAT good.
This banana bread makes me SWOON.


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas (I use about 3 average sized bananas)
4 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Grease and flour 1 large loaf pan (9 1/4 X 5 1/4-inch) or mini loaf pans.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. 
Add eggs, bananas, buttermilk and vanilla until the batter is well mixed. 
Add in the flour, baking powder, salt and soda. 
Mix until well combined. 

Divide batter into greased and floured bread pans and 
bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes (if using 1 large loaf pan) 
or 35 minutes for mini loaves and until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cut it up and rejoice over the deliciousness that you just created!


 Recipe Source:

Dec 9, 2013

Beef Tamale Bake

Beef tamale bake
I really enjoyed this recipe because I love the combination of peppers, beans, corn, and meat. It reminded me of a tex mex dish. 

Cornmeal toppings:

1 cup yellow cornmeal
½ tsp salt
4 cups water

Other ingredients:
 1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup chopped yellow onion
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp salt
Fresh pepper
1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups corn kernels (fresh, frozen & thawed, or canned & drained)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

To Make:

Preheat oven to 350 F. 
Make the cornmeal topping: In a saucepan over medium heat, mix all ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook stirring until thickened, about 5 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef, onion, bell pepper, and garlic breaking up the meat with a spoon, until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. 

Stir in the seasonings, tomatoes, beans, and corn and simmer 5 minutes.

In a 9X13 inch baking dish, lightly coated with cooking spray or oil, place meat and vegetable mixture.
 Spread cornmeal topping over the mixture and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake, uncovered, until bubbly and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. 
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: The big book of casseroles by Maryana Vollstedt

Dec 7, 2013

Cider Glazed Chicken

Cider Glazed Chicken

We have had an abundance of cider in our house this month and I found this recipe that gives a basic chicken dish some great flavor and a different idea for dinner!

2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pound chicken breast cutlets (about 4 cutlets)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup refrigerated apple cider
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard


Melt 1 teaspoon butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. 
Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan. 
Add cider and mustard to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until syrupy. Add chicken to pan, turning to coat. Remove from heat; set aside.

Source: My

Dec 4, 2013

Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder

I've made many various types of corn chowder, but I've still been on the hunt for one with exceptional flavor. I am thrilled that I have finally found the recipe, and of course it is from Pioneer Woman, my cooking inspiration!
I made this up and the husband loved it and raved, which is big for a soup because he usually doesn't mind them much ( I think it was the chipotle peppers that did it!) I also brought some over to a friend and although they are not soup lovers themselves, they raved too.
I'm confident that this is my new go to corn chowder recipe!

You will need:

5 ears corn, shucked
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 -3 chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce, finely diced)
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 ounces green chilies, diced
3 tablespoons cornmeal
corn tortilla, for serving


Slice the kernels off the corn cob.

Cut bacon into 1 inch pieces and cook in large pot over medium heat until the fat begins to render, about 2 minutes.

Add the diced onion to the pot and cook it until the onion is translucent and the bacon is cooked but still chewy, about 5 minutes.

Throw in the corn kernels and stir.

Mince chipotle peppers and stir them into the corn. Continue cooking for about 3 minutes.
Pour in the low sodium chicken broth followed by a splash of heavy cream.

Stir to combine.

Add the green chilies.

Let the soup simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.

Mix the cornmeal with 1/4 cup water and stir together.

Stir the mixture into the soup and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Taste and add salt if needed.

Serve in bowls with warm corn tortillas on the side.

 I paired ours with rolls and a green salad and it was perfect!

Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from my Frontier by Ree Drummond

Dec 2, 2013

Cowboy Quiche

I have always loved the look of quiche, 
but I have never made one before!
I found a recipe from the Pioneer Woman and I changed it up a bit and it was a HUGE hit!
I am now adding this into our repertoire!


1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust (enough For A Deep Dish Pan)
2 whole Yellow Onions, Sliced
2 Tablespoons Butter
8 slices Bacon
1 bunch asparagus
8 whole Large Eggs
1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream Or Half-and-Half
 Salt And Pepper, to taste
2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Fry the onions in the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat for at least 15 to 20 minutes (maybe longer), stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Fry the bacon until chewy. Chop into large bite-sized pieces and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pie crust and press it into a large fluted deep tart pan (or a deep dish pie pan).

Chop the asparagus into 1 inch pieces.

Whip the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then mix in the onions, bacon, asparagus and cheese. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet, cover lightly with aluminum foil, and bake it for about 40 to 45 minutes. 
Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the quiche is set and the crust is golden brown. (The quiche will still seem slightly loose, but will continue to set once remove from the oven.)

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. If using a tart pan, remove the quiche from the pan, cut into slices with a sharp serrated knife, and serve!

Source: Pioneer Woman

Nov 29, 2013

Quote Friday

Your toddler will do what they need to do,
and not necessarily what you say.
If you're patient, 
then they will be patient.
If you speak gently, then they will be gentle.
Whatever you want them to be,
you have to start becoming.