Saturday, August 18, 2012

Overnight Blueberry French Toast

Gosh, I love Pinterest. Seriously, how on earth did I ever survive without it?! Thank you Heather, for introducing me to the greatest time consuming, yet, most rewarding website ever. And I do mean EVER!

Side note: Today I discovered Swagbucks. Now my days are really shot. My poor neglected children.

I discovered this delicious dessert breakfast recipe last week as I was preparing for my cousin's visit. I needed something that I could prepare ahead of time, and was easy enough to trust the husband to tend, in case I got stuck at the airport, which I did, so success!

The picture does not do this yummy french toast justice. But I got distracted by the smell and once I tasted the topping, all bets were off...

The Overnight Part:
12 slices day old bread, cut into 1 inch cubes. I used a whole loaf of store bought french bread, which according to the recipe is too much bread, but I wanted my pan covered and full.
2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes.
1 cup fresh blueberries

Arrange half the bread cubes in the dish, top with cream cheese cubes. Sprinkle 1 cup blueberries over the cream cheese (I used more like 1 & 1/2 cups, I had 2 pints and needed to use them up) Top with remaining bread cubes.

In a large bowl, mix 12 beaten eggs, 2 cups of milk, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/3 cup maple syrup.Pour over bread cubes and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning... remove pan from fridge 30 minutes prior to baking. Preheat oven to 350. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking 25-30 minutes until center is firm and surface is lightly browned.

In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup white sugar, 2T cornstarch and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook 3-4 minutes. Mix in 1 cup blueberries. (So total you need 2 cups of berries, or more, if you're like me and really like blueberries) Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, until blueberries burst. Stir in 1T of butter, and pour over the baked French toast. (Let sauce pan cool completely and lick clean)

Berry Breakfast Cake

Cake for breakfast?!Mmmm Hmmm! Yes, Please!

You know me, definitely a dessert girl, especially when it comes to breakfast! Crepes! Waffles! Muffins! Yum! I discovered this gem of a recipe on Pinterest, where else? And tried it out on the in-laws :) They were happy to be experimented on, especially my father-in-law. The recipe from Pinterest calls for 2 cups of blueberries. I didn't have enough, but I had strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Go figure, right? So I improvised and used an assortment, and I may have added another cup, or so, of them.

Preheat oven to 350, grease 9'' square baking pan
Toss 2, ahem, 3 cups of berries w/ 1/4 cup of flour. You can use fresh or frozen, I've used both, there's not a difference.

Cream together:
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp lemon zest
1 cup of sugar

1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

In a separate bowl, whisk:
1 & 3/4 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Add flour mixture and 1/2 cup buttermilk, alternately, to butter/sugar mixture until combined. Fold in berries (don't add in left over berry flour). Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle 1T sugar on top.

Bake for 35 minutes, or so, until golden brown. Eat, immediately, before everyone else is out of bed. :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012


It's just too good not to share... And it's wayyyy too good to wait to share!

Hi, by the way! I know I have a lot to share and update about but this just can't wait!

Today I discovered the secret to removing the sticky goop that labels leave behind! First I have to say I find this incredibly useful, since I've started up-cycling all my glass jars :) Freezer jam, Herb planters, snack storage, oh my, the list is endless... And I pin and try everything I've ever seen about removing the stick without much success. I've tried uber hot water. I've tried boiling. I've tried magic erasers. I've tried baby oil. Rubbing alcohol. Cleaning wipes. Every dishwasher cycle.... But nothing, nothing, nothing works! Nothing! Then I stumbled onto this post about making foaming baby wash from an empty Bath & Body Works soap dispenser. Lucky me, I saw this in time and managed to save my bottle before I threw it out. I thought this was a brilliant idea since I never get enough soap to begin with, then I always close the bottle (why, I don't know) then while trying to hold a slippery Joel with one hand I struggle to re-open the bottle and get more soap.GAH! A pump would make life EASY! Well... it'd make bath time a bit easier. And it's a money saver. The cost of soap isn't a killer, but hey, I like my money and I love finding ways to save it! So, sold! on the foaming bath wash!

I cleaned the bottle, poured in my inch of baby wash, filled it with water, put on the top, swished around and took off the soap label. I did this for a few reasons: 1. my husband can't find things staring him in the face, and come bath time, he's 2. not going to remember me showing him my latest pinterest gem and he's 3. not going to be able to find the soap and 4. gonna holler for me to come upstairs to find it in front of his face. I know I am not fighting this battle alone. Much to my dismay the labels left behind that goop residue. I had been thinking about trying finger nail polish remover so figured this was the time to experiment. It was ok, I had to use my finger nail to loosen it up and scrub hard, another bust. But then the baby oil was sitting right there, so I dabbed a little on a cotton pad and wiped down the sticky, then wiped again with the finger nail polish. Wouldn't you know, it worked! Minimal scrubbing, just a few wipes and all the sticky was GONE! And then heaven opened up and the angels started singing and... ok, but seriously it worked!

I figured, I should test this on glass, since I'm claiming it's magic. And it worked! AGAIN! Yesssss!!!! I did have to rub a bit longer, and switch back and forth 3 times between the oil and the polish remover but my jar is clean :) and I didn't have to scrub! On to clean some jars :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hair Bow Holder

It's FINALLY done! After two months or so of dragging my feet, I finally completed Kay's new hair bow holder! And not with a moment to spare! Frank comes home tonight so that means tomorrow we will be on the road, heading/moving to Colorado. I'm taking a momentary break from packing, as I'm exhausted and in pain and it's barely noon. It seems Baby Boy likes to push in one particular area on my stomach and has strained a few muscles, making it almost impossible for either of us to move without causing me to be in pain. So I'm extremely happy to share my finished project... and give you an update on the ECU T-shirt blanket. First the project at hand...

This project meant a lot of firsts for me... Like first time spray painting, using a glue gun, buying ribbon... Now that I think about it, the holder probably cost me a little more than I would have liked to spend, but I had nothing on hand since I'm a brand new crafter. Luckily, my mom had a hot glue gun so I didn't need to buy one, but I will be purchasing one in the very new future... They're awesome!

I purchased the frame at the local thrift store, on a half price day, $2
Spray paint & 2 packages of hooks at Home Depot (no coupons :/) $5
Ribbon and 4 flowers $6 at Hancock Fabrics - all on sale items :)
So I invested about $13 and a good hour overall. Not too bad...

Day 1 Mark off and screw in hooks. Sand frame (another first) a bit and wash
Day 2 Light coat of spray paint, let dry for 20 minutes. Coat 2, let dry overnight.
Day 3 Discovered a few missed or discolored spots, coat 3. 30 minutes later, noticed paint drying in crackly lines
Day 4 Sand again. Paint again (1 light coat), dry overnight.
Day 5 Discover great success with painting! Yay! Measure and mark for ribbon. Learn my dad's staple gun is broken. Again. Mom finds glue gun, so Plan B. Glue all tops down, let dry. Pull ribbon tight, glue bottoms. Glue 3 of 4 flowers onto frame. Glue 4th flower to pink plastic head band purchased at Target (2 pack, $1) instead of on frame because flower and frame are the same color. Happy Dance!

Officially this project was completed on Monday. :)

ECU T-shirt Blanket Update: Finished as of 1am today! Yeahhhh! Post to follow sometime in the near future!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

Josh came home for the weekend and so per his request we made my mom's famous enchiladas. As soon as we get to Denver and all my kitchen tools are unpacked, I'm making a HUGE batch for Frank and our freezer... Gotta start stockpiling meals for after this baby comes :)

*We are not big measure-ers, we just kind of throw whatever sounds good in, and make a lot. We started with 2 big chicken breasts, and had a lot of filling - so Saturday night's dinner was Stuffed Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas. The great thing about this recipe is that it's really easy to adjust. I'm going to attempt to scale it back, for a normal sized 9x13 pan.

2 small, or 1 medium chicken breast, cooked in water with salt and pepper - and celery tops, if you have some to spare.
Shred chicken, save broth.

1 medium sized onion, diced
about 3 stalks of celery, diced
Cook with oil, garlic and a little salt until soft. The celery takes longer, so give it about a 5 minutes head start.
You could also add fresh jalapenos, or peppers. Whatever sound good.

In a large bowl combine:
1 can cream of chicken (I buy low-sodium, low fat)
1 can cream of celery
a bit more than 8 oz of sour cream
& mexican seasoning... we used (about) 1/2 pkg. taco seasoning, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp black pepper - no salt-

Place 1/2 cup or so of the above mixture into another bowl/measuring cup - add about 3/4 cup of milk, stir well with soup mixture. You want about 1 1/2 cups of sauce for the top.

In the large bowl of soup mixture add... (these are all optional, use what you like)
chopped jalapenos
chopped black olives
cooked onion & celery mixture
shredded chicken
(Next time, I'm adding a can of black beans)
Mix well.
Stir in at least a cup of shredded cheese. We used a mixture of Pepper Jack and Colby Jack.
Add chicken broth, if filling is dry. We added some broth.

Lay out all the tortillas, divide filling up among tortillas. When all the filling is divided up evenly, roll and place in a buttered 9x13. Pour sauce over rolled tortillas. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Remove pan from oven, top with another cup, or so of cheese and black olives (if desired), bake another 10 minutes. Top with green onions (if desired).

Lemon Blueberry Trifle

Lemon Blueberry Trifle
1 frozen prepared pound cake (16 oz) (I can never find this size, the Sara Lee cakes are something around 10 oz, so I get 2, and use everything I don't snack on)
2 lemons
1 & 1/2 cups milk
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. cool whip
2 pkgs. (3.4 oz each) lemon instant pudding
1 pint fresh blueberries (2 cups), washed
1 square (1 oz) white chocolate for baking (I hardly have white chocolate on hand so I usually omit this)

Cut pound cake into 1-in cubes; place in bowl. (I think it's easier to cut the cake when still frozen)
Make several lengthwise scores in one lemon, top to bottom. Slice into 6 slices; cut each slice in half, set aside for garnish. (I score my lemons, but you really don't have to. It hardly shows up)
Zest remaining lemon using short strokes; set aside.
Juice lemon over pound cake, tossing gently.
In a bowl combine milk, sour cream, half of the cool whip and reserved lemon zest; whisk until smooth.
Add pudding mixes; whisk until mixture begins to thicken.
Set aside 12 blueberries for garnish.

To assemble trifle: Place 1/3 of the cake cubes into bottom of trifle bowl, top with 1/3 of blueberries, grate 1/4 of the chocolate over blueberries, top with 1/3 of pudding mixture, pressing lightly. Repeat layers 2 more times.
Decorate top with cool whip, lemon slices, blueberries and remaining chocolate as desired.

Like most everything I make, I prepare this the night before so all the flavors have a chance to soak in, but you could serve this right away.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Baked Spaghetti

Per request. No pictures, sorry.

I always cook entrees for an army, so you may have to adjust.

1 pound of sausage (Italian, sage, or hot)
1 pound of ground beef
Cook together, until done, drain, set aside.

At least 1 of the following, some times more, depending on what I have to use up.
1 onion
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
(1 yellow pepper - if I have one to use, or they're on sale)
(Mushrooms - fresh or canned, depending on what I have or what's on sale)
Use oil, and cook together until soft.

To make my own sauce I then add...
a bunch of diced tomatoes, I like to buy fresh, but sometimes for time or if it's cheaper I buy canned.
So at least...
12 Roma tomatoes, or 2 big cans of diced
1 can of tomato paste
1 can of tomato soup (if I have some in the pantry)
a little water or V8 spicy tomato juice
a bit more olive oil
basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, sugar, other Italian seasonings - whatever I have on hand or sounds good.
Add meat and simmer. For.ever.

If I'm pressed for time, or cash, I will use prepared spaghetti sauce. Of course, I doctor it up. I still cook my onions, and peppers, add at least a can of diced tomatoes, because I like chunks, and add the jar of prepared sauce, meat, and more spices. Simmer.

I boil my spaghetti, I like to use the very thin spaghetti noodles, or angel hair, because that's what I like. For kids it's better to use penne, or rotini (easier to pick up and cut). I cook my noodles al dente, just a bit hard still, they'll finish cooking in the oven. I drain my noodles, add butter, Parmesan cheese and garlic salt. (I learned this from my friend Jessica, it's sooo good!)

Then layer up my spaghetti. Noodles, sauce, cheese and repeat. I use a mixture of Parmesan and mozzarella. I wait to add my last layer of cheese the last 10 minutes of baking. So, spaghetti, sauce, cheese, spaghetti, sauce. I bake covered with foil 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 until bubbly. If all your ingredients are hot, you bake less time. When it's bubbly and your house smells like an Italian joint, add the last layer of cheese, bake uncovered 5-10 minutes until cheese is melty.

When I take dinner to a family, I typically do not bake this for them. Since I'm living in the boonies now, and it would be cold by the time I delivered it. So I add the last layer of cheese, but stress to cook it covered, otherwise the cheese gets too done.

I always think it tastes better the next day too, so typically I prepare the day before, then bake for dinner the next night.