Saturday, March 31, 2012

Recipe: Soft "Oaty" Oatmeal Cookies

I like oatmeal cookies. Raisins are okay in them, but if the cookie is good and "oaty" then it doesnt need anything else in it. I've had some good oatmeal cookies but haven't been able to get the super oaty taste I've been after at home until now. Only change I'd make to this recipe is to try half shortening instead to cut down on the buttery taste. While I love butter taste, I like the oats to shine. 

These are chewy on the outside and soft inside. They really are am amazing cookie. You can easily add in raisins, dried fruit, chips, whatever but I like them plain the best. 

Soft Oaty Oatmeal Cookie
yield: 3 dozen large cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups Old fashioned oats (slow cooking oatmeal) 
  1. Cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar.
  2. Beat in eggs one at a time, then the vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture and mix.
  5. Mix in oats. 
  6. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (preferably about 6).
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  8. Lightly spray cookie sheets with baking spray.
  9. Scoop dough with a 1" scooper (tablespoonfuls) & place 2" apart.
  10. Bake for 9-11 minutes in preheated oven.
  11. Allow cookies to cool for 5+ minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to cooling rack.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Recipe: Hamburger Pie

My moms used to make hamburger pie often. It's easy and cheap and filling. Plus everyone loved it. It was from her BHG red gingham-checkered binder full of BHG recipes. Now all these years later, I'm making the same I always loved. Of course, me being me, I change up a few things and make it my style. Also great to make ahead and bake at dinnertime. Less mess, less stress. 

Hamburger Pie
1-1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 16-ounce bag of frozen cut green beans, thawed & drained
Homemade "Condensed Tomato Soup" or 1 can of condensed soup (10-3/4 oz)
4 servings mashed potatoes (I use instant following directions but adding 1 egg to the mix at the end)
enough cheese to cover top
  1. In a skillet, brown meat & cook onion until brown & tender.
  2. Drain off fat (if there is any).
  3. Add salt (and pepper if you fancy that).
  4. Stir in soup.
  5. Pour into bottom of baking dish.
  6. Add Green Beans on top.
  7. Spoon mashed potatoes over the beans and spread to even over casserole dish.
  8. Add cheese over top of potatoes.
  9. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes until bubbly and cheese starts to brown.

Recipe: "Condensed tomato soup"

So I wanted to make a recipe and I thought it needed canned tomato sauce. 15 minutes before the kids got home, I realized I needed Condensed Tomato Soup. ARGH! What's a momma to do? This momma looked online and found out I can make such a thing. I changed the recipe up a bit but it tasted just like it. I've read you can even add liquid to it and use it as soup (I'm baking with mine).

"Condensed Tomato Soup"
1 15-ounce can Tomato Sauce
4 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
1 teaspoon salt

Just whisk altogether and viola! I am never buying cans of condensed again... here I cna be in charge of what goes into it and it's healthier and cheaper!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Recipe: Fruity Pancakes

As with many multi-kid families, our mornings are always busy! We got school on weekdays. We got Church on Sunday mornings. Saturday mornings for half the year is some sport. So when on earth is there time to make big fancy breakfasts? We simply can't find that kind of time so we do Breakfast for Dinner 2-3 times a month. This way we get a full "fancy" breakfast without being rushed AND it's a cheap dinner.

So this past week (including this week) we've had to tighten our spending until payday. I'm sure you all have had this happen. SO we have to use what we have in the house. Sunday evenings we also do church stuff (have I mentioned Richland Creek Community Church is the best place ever on Earth?) and I had to come up with something quick. We decided on pancakes. Plain pancakes get boring and we had no fresh fruit. So, I added some Post Fruity Pebbles and made a few silver dollar pancakes for each person to try and see if they wanted those or plain ones. 4 out of the 5 people, wanted the Fruity Pebbles kind. They are so easy, look super cute and dont taste as gross as they might sound.

The Fruity Pebbles adds a slight fruitiness and doesnt really make them much sweeter. It's kind of odd. All you have to do is add a scoop of fruity pebbles to your batter and that's it! It's that plain and simple to make your plain and simple pancakes less plain and simple. *smile*

I want to buy Cocoa Pebbles and try those. Slight chocolate flavor without being super chocolaty? That sounds right up my alley! Less messy than chocolate chips too! Now there are healthy/natural versions of Fruity Pebbles that I am sure would work as well. My 1 son (who was the one person who didnt like the pancakes) is very particular with cereal and wont eat natural or generic Pebbles :( I think any small cereal like Pebbles should work. 

Give them a try!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Kidaround Kidsale - Spring 2012

It should go without saying that each season, the sale grows. I'm not sure how much longer the Kidaround Kidsale can stay at the MVP Sports complex at The Factory in Wake Forest. This year they were busting out the seams in the best possible way! I got to shop early on Thursday night at 4:00 when it opened to the elite shoppers who donated lots of time to make the sale as wonderful as it is. I made some great scores and you can see them on a separate post that I made. I plan to go back to early shop the 50% off sale and hope to make a few more big scores. Take a look at the wonderful sale (and my pictures do not do it justice)!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

KidAround KidSale - Spring 2012: My Finds

I helped the KidAround Kidsale with their social media. Unfortunately, we started a bit late but I am so gonna go nutso next sale if Keira lets me. In exchange for the behind the scenes help, I got to shop the earliest people shop. Super volunteers can shop Thursday Night from 4-8pm. I was there just after 4:00 (I had to wait for CT & HT to get home from school). They had more stuff this time then I remembered before and they are gonna need bigger space soon because the sale was busting at the seams (I'll post those pictures in a separate post but can be seen on FaceBook already).

Well, these are my this year finds... we dont need toys really so I just got for Clothes for CT and shoes for the boys.
CT wanted to buy this (with his money) - $6.00
9 large Transformers (for HT & OC) - $12.00
Abercrombie Polo - $4.00
GAP striped Polo - $4.00
Abercrombie Polo (super duper soft) - $4.00
Gray Arizona Shorts - $4.00
Green Arizona Shorts - $4.00
Camo Arizona Shorts - $4.00
Levi's Plaid Shorts - $4.00
Nike Cleats (for HT's Flag Football) - $5.00
Like brand new Faded Glory Sandals - $2.00
Brain Quest Cards - $3.00
Oh and I got a pack of Level 1 & 2 reading books. There were 12 books including Star Wars, Transformers, Pirates and more. Gonna go grab some more tomorrow.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

FOOD: Austrian Pork Goulash

Semi make-ahead meal. You do most prepping before but cook mix for 40 minutes day of. Easy meal to have on hand and toss in the pot!

2 pounds pork loin or boneless center chops, rinsed, fat trimmed & cut into small cubes.
1-1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds onions, chopped
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. put pork in bag (freezer bag or vacuum bag - gallon size)
  2. heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft stirring occasionally (will take 10-15 minutes).
  3. Add water & store.
  4. Add bouillon, garlic, thyme, paprika, salt & pepper. Cook for 10 minutes longer stirring occasionally.
  5. let mixture cool & then pour over pork. 
  6. Seal  freeze
Then - completely thaw meal in refrigerator.
  1. pour bagged mix into a large pot & add 1-1/2 cups of water & stir.
  2. Cook over medium heat until pork is cooked & sauce gets thick. This takes about 30-40 minutes.
  3. If needed, add more water if goulash becomes dry.
Serve dish over rice or wide egg noodles. I served it with a side of buttered garlic whole grain elbow pasta , green beans, and biscuits.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Legit Fears revealed

We all have fears. Some people say they "fear spiders" but I dont think they truly do. I think a lot of people, mis/over-use the word fear just as they do hate and love. 

I have some legitimate fears. Yes I do not like bugs and I shy away from them but I'm not an arachnophobic.

I am a Claustrophobic though. I dont like propel getting too close to me. This has been since as long as I can remember. People thought I was strange in school. Example: I'd doodle in my book because i was bored. I was a good artist. Someone would point it out and before ya knew it, there was a group of kids standing around my desk looking at my doodle. A normal person would think that's cool but not me. I remember distinctly an incidence in high school English where kids stood around me as I was seated and  my heart pounded in my chest  like it never had before and I screamed. I just freaked out completely. I am not fond of elevators. I dont go to crowded places. Watching things on TV where they are scuba diving, or in a tunnel  or crawling around somewhere small, my heart pounds in my chest. I have been known to leave the room and go clean something when someone on a TV show we watch is doing something my brain can't comprehend. Cruises freak me out. There I'd be in the middle of the ocean stuck on a big boat. If I see land, I'm OK.. once it's too far to swim to get to land for survival, I'd lose it. Proof? My brother took a cruise in Hawaii years ago. He took video out his balcony and I ran to the bathroom and threw up. I got the Disney Cruise DVD in the mail watched it and had to leave the room at points. I know it's irrational but I cant help it. When you're blood pressure rises, you sweat, your heart pounds, you know it's not "fear" but FEAR.

That being said, there isn't much else I really fear. There are things that might frighten me or make me uncomfortable or that I just dislike but my only true FEAR is of small, enclosed spaces.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

10 things I'd like to go back in time and tell the 16-year-old me

  1. You may think Jason is the love of your life but he's not. You love him, that is true, but he's not the one you are meant to be with. Dont let him tell you how to dress or how to wear your hair. You ar ein control of yourself. Dont let go of you!
  2. Stop trying to impress others. Years down the road they wont be there for you so stop trying to be who you're not just to "fit in". You are perfect the way you are - you are just as He made you. You are beautiful, you are made to fill a purpose, you are made for more than this.
  3. Fight like heck for what you believe! Fight to go to culinary school. Fight for what feels right in your heart.
  4. Go to Prom even if you have to go with someone else, just go!
  5. Driving isnt as scary as you think so stop putting it off and get your license! If you stop spending all your money on others, you can buy yourself a car in no time!
  6. Make your Popa go get his stomach checked out. His aortic aneurysm will burst if he doesnt get it caught & fixed. (I wish my Popa were around to see his grandkids get married, have kids, and just grow up to be the amazing people we are).
  7. Forgive! Forgive those that teased you, tortured you, made feel less than you are, that hurt you in any way and for anyone who will hurt you. It's not for you to judge them. They have to atone for their own sins. You worry about you and know you are loved.
  8. Quit thinking you look stupid in glasses. By wearing your contacts so much, you are actual scarring your eyes and making it so you'll have to wear your glasses more often (talk about irony)! Embrace your inner geek with those glasses - in a few years they will be a fashion statement and you'll be ahead of the curve!
  9. Keep up the hard work in school, keep up not smoking, keep up not drinking, keep up caring about yourself and respecting who you are. Stand strong in your convictions. Dont doubt if you're doing the right thing just because others are doing something else. You're smart, heartstrong, and have a great sense of value. Trust it!
  10. Go for it! Dont be scared to fail at something. Try out for the team. Ask for the raise. You can do it!
16 year-old me

MENU: Week 3/11-3/17

I make everything from scratch. I'm just one of those people who love to cook and take great prtide in the food I can provide for my family. We are blessed to be able to have food in our pantry & freezer. Here is this week's dinner menu. 
  • Sunday: Chicken with Mushrooms  with Brown Rice
  • Monday: Falafel with White Bean Yogurt Sauce & Israeli Couscous salad
  • Tuesday: Eggplant Parmigiana Soup with Garlic Bread
  • Wednesday: Double Crunch Honey Garlic Pork Chops
  • Thursday: Penne with Corn, Scallions, & Spinach
  • Friday: Freezer Day (leftovers and frozen snacks)
  • Saturday: St. Patrick's Day! Guinness Corned Beef, Colcannon, Irish Soda Bread
Falafel in a pita with lettuce, shredded cucumber & white bean sauce
Eggplant Parmigiano (Parmesan) Soup with croutons & fried eggplant.

20 Random Things

  1. I have been saved. I am born again and have full faith that when my time comes I am going to Heaven. Jesus Christ is my Lord & Savior and I love Him & what He has done for little ole me. 
  2. I was a twirler - like highly competitive. I did team & solo and traveled with it. We were a pretty decent ranking team. I did twirling for more than 4 years. I quit when I had trouble doing 2 batons at once. I wasnt the best at it anymore, and I wanted to quit. which oddly leads to ....
  3. I like to do things perfectly or else I dont like to do them. I do all things with a bang and with all my heart.
  4. I've started a children's book like 5o times so far. I have 2 ideas I'd love to finish but just haven't. One about an odd group of friends (series potential) and the other an A-Z book.
  5. I want a daughter. badly.
  6. I love my husband. He still amazes me and who he is becoming is making me love him even more.
  7. I am a natural at throwing parties. I a theme person and I love to go all out. Guess that goes along with doing something right or not doing it at all.
  8. I've never left the United States.
  9. I love to cook.
  10. I have a hyper sensitively to smell & taste. This makes it hard to eat a lot of things past the first bite. A smoker 3 cars ahead of me, makes me gag.  I dont drink out of glass (if I have a choice) because they always have weird smells (like summer rain or wet dog).
  11. I got huge boobs which are a blessing and a curse.
  12. I wanted to go to a Culinary Academy but my parents thought it was a stupid profession and told me they wouldnt pay for cooking school. So I spent 4 years at a top-ranked business school, graduated with a high GPA in Business Computer Information Systems but couldn't get a job in my field. So my degree is just  a piece of paper because when I do go back to work, it's not in computer technology!
  13. I love comics, horror, and Science fiction. I go to comic conventions and woudl love ot be able to go to more.
  14. I unpack my shopping cart by grouping things together. I get annoyed when the cashier scans them in a different order and bags them weird.
  15. I love cats. A lot. Like amazingly. I dont care for digs though.
  16. I HATE (or more than hate) shoes.
  17. My 1st car was the best. It was a 2009 Volkswagen Routan. I so loved it and miss it. her name was Roo.
  18. As long as my kids aren't near, people never guess my age correctly. I still look young :)
  19. I laugh at everything (so much it's a fault).
  20. I've been married for over 10 years but I still dream of some fancy engagement proposal. Never had one, never will. :(

Monday, March 12, 2012

Food: Leftover Rice Recipe 1: Rice Pudding

Leftover rice? Dont know what to do with it? One recipe you can try is make rice pudding. It's so simple and quick!


1-3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup flavored creamer (Vanilla or Sweet Cream works well)
1 cup leftover pre-cooked rice
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and rice, stirring frequently so the milk doesn't burn. Bring to a slow simmer.
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla. 
  4. Add egg mixture slowly to the milk and rice and allow to cook for just a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Pour into casserole or baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Food Fun: Fairy Bread

Awhile ago, my friend Shanna, introduced me to Fairy bread. She told me how it was buttered bread covered with hundreds & thousands. For us not in Australia like Shanna, that's be nonpareils.

Cut bread into a fun shape.
Butter the bread(I use Land 'O'Lakes spreadable butter)
Sprinkle with nonpareils and enjoy!

Food Fun: Window Sandwiches

This is a simple solution to boring sandwiches. It brings a smile to their faces (but apparently isnt cool enough for my eldest son to bring to school - he apparently gets poked fun at for having them so I dont make them for him anymore). 

Cut the crusts off 2 slices of bread. 
Use a cookie cutter and cut out a shape from the center of only 1 of the slices.
Spread the uncut side of the sandwich with Nutella (or peanut better or whatever you like).

Place the cut out piece on top.

Sprinkle sprinkles in the hole to cover the stickiness.
Swirl around and dump off excess.