Category Archives: Cooking

Jalapeno Burgers

Jalapeno Burgers

IMG_7435Michael has been longing to make burgers from scratch. I went to the store and picked up the ingredients to come home and be told he did not want turkey but hamburger meat. He is an extremely visionary man and wants what he sees. I must embrace this about my husband as his food visions are always very delicious and must be followed by the imaginary picture inside his head. I headed back to the store again and was quite pleased a couple hours later with his masterpiece.

Michael’s step dad came to embark on this glorious dinner and brought fresh tomatoes from his garden. Fresh vegetables simply make everything taste better. This fresh jalapeno burger with tomatoes literally was mouthwatering.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs Ground Beef
  • 8 oz Gorgonzola Crumbles
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup Jalapenos
  • 1 tbsp Teryiaki Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Montreal Seasoning
  • 4 Ciabatta Rolls
  • 4 slices pastrami

Toppings:

  • Tomato
  • Avocado
  • Munster Cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Mayonnaise (optional)

In a large bowl combine ground beef, Gorgonzola, Worcestershire garlic salt, jalapenos, teryiaki and montreal seasoning together. Mix together with your hands. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours (you do not need to refrigerate the meat but this helps the flavors soak in).

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After three hours, form meat into 6 patties and toss onto the barbecue.

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Meanwhile, while the burgers are cooking, fan fry the pastrami until lightly fried. Top with pastrami and cheese and allow to melt. IMG_7428Prepare your toppings and compile your burger.

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Be prepared to be wowed and watch the juices flow. The jalapenos make this burger incredible and not too spicy. OH-MY-GOODNESS, makes me want one right now!

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Served with sweet potato fries and a fresh cut green salad.

Zucchini Oat Bread

 Zucchini Oat Bread

Fall in love with your favorite breads for Autumn. This bread will be added to your list of favorites if it’s not already on there.

Homemade, moist and tasty. You can’t get much better than that.

If you are a bread lover such as myself, you will absolutely fall in love all over again. A warm slice with some butter spread on top makes this a wonderful breakfast or snack!

I must say I made this when my garden was producing zucchini quite well. All of a sudden a month quickly passes by and I realized my garden had been forgotten and despised. I have dreaded the garden as of lately. Overgrown and messy makes me promptly avoid this section of our yard. Unfortunately my despise and hatred is only making it look worse.

Due to my distaste of our garden as of lately, I have had no more zucchini grow, it must sense my hatred for it right now and my utter lack of care. My watermelon got eaten by some animal and we have yet to try any watermelon this season. My beans are overgrown so much so that they taste rubbery and my tomatoes have split due to the rain. What a mess. This is what makes me walk away. Oh the cycle I have created.

Enough of my rant, zucchini producing or not, there’s a store right around the corner which will allow my continual making of this bread; no garden needed. :)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of shredded zucchini
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups flour (Or whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Use a food processor to shred the zucchini.

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In a stand mixer combine eggs, oil, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon. Mix very well.

Add in dry mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until combined.

Fold in the zucchini with a spatula.

Grease 2 bread pans and split the mixture between the two.

Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. All ovens are different. My oven is on the cooler side and everything takes longer. So start with the least amount of time and use the toothpick check to conquer the right time. :) 
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Allow to cool for ten minutes or so. Cut a slice and smother with butter! Enjoy!

Quick Homemade Croutons

Quick Homemade Croutons 

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My husband grew up eating homemade croutons all the time. So when I purchased croutons awhile ago, he refused to eat them. I used to think he was crazy until he made them one evening and I was forever sold.

Than, just the other night we had my family over for dinner and everyone wanted them as soon as Michael mentioned it. He made them yet again and we all ate them as is and loved them, as well as topping our salad with this delicious crunch.

They are super easy and taste really good with my homemade english muffin bread (see below).

Goodridence to store bought croutons. Hello homemade goodness! Your guests will be impressed!

Ingredients:

Turn oven to broil or 550 degrees. Cut bread into medium chunks and place on a foil lined baking sheet.

Drizzle with EVOO, garlic salt and sea salt all to taste!

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Place in the oven and broil 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Toss croutons to toast the bottom of them as well! An additional 1-2 minutes.

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These croutons are perfectly crunchy without busting a tooth and are healthier than the 50 ingredient croutons in the store AND taste phenomenal.

If you do not have an impressive salad for dinner guests, please make these as a perfect distraction. You will get compliments on these easy little suckers.

Moutwatering Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Mouthwater Pulled Pork Sandwiches

The weekend started promptly with my sister and her beautiful family coming to visit. We had not only the best time and memories spent, but we also enjoyed wonderful food including these pulled pork sandwiches. They were mouthwatering goodness!

While they were here we enjoyed wonderful conversations and time well spent with one another. Times like these make me appreciate family and what it stands for. Family is so crucial and simple gatherings recreate those deep, lasting impressions not only on my heart, but on our children as well.

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We hung out at the very back to consume as much shade as possible (or shall I say, enjoy the port-a-potties). Just kidding…kinda!

IMG_6285-400x300Trace sat up in a tree enjoying the music without any distractions ahead of him. He really enjoyed this experience and I was thankful to be able to participate in this one-hit-wonder with them! :) You know, kids and their first concert experience. What a blessing that they enjoyed the atmosphere and Christian fellowship. 

IMG_6305-e1409694552461-300x400After being there all day in the high heat, I had planned ahead to come home to pulled pork in the crock pot. I thought this would be genius as I know we all would be hungry upon our arrival home and would need something delicious and available very promptly. 

This was the perfect meal to come home to and a perfect meal to feed 8 people. :)  

So lets get into it….

Ingredients:

  • 1- 4 lb boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 28 ounce (3 1/2 cups) Barbecue sauce, separated
  • 2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • Coleslaw
  • Ciabatta Rolls

Sprinkle the bottom of your crock pot with chicken broth, one onion and minced garlic.

Next, rub garlic salt, paprika, chili powder and cumin on the pork shoulder. Place in slow cooker.

Top with second onion and dump 2 1/2 cups barbecue sauce upon everything. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours (or high 4-6 hours).

When the pork is cooked remove from slow cooker reserving sauce. Add in 1/2-1 cup additional barbecue sauce and 1 tbsp white vinegar and stir well. Strain sauce to rid of any excess fat.

Meanwhile, pull pork apart with a fork and add to strained sauce. Mix together and top on a toasted Ciabatta roll with coleslaw.

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Such a simple meal and so wonderfully delicious! Nothing beats a pulled pork sandwich.

This is for all you meat lovers out there! :)

Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Blondies

Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Blondies 

DESSERTS!!!

It seriously must be “that” time of the month for me. And yes, I did just say that! :) I am craving, pinning and gaining weight all over looking at pictures of what I want to make to satisfy my “fat foodie” days.

The gloomy aspect outside isn’t helping with my dessert cravings either. Typically when it’s warm outside I have less cravings, but the colder it gets and the quicker winter approaches, I have my extra 5 pounds stored up for winter to help keep me warm. :)

Part of the weight gain comes from these amazing Snickerdoodle Blondies. They are incredibly moist and utterly satisfying for those days you simply need something sweet. Take the pan to the couch and enjoy every bite if that will make you feel better! :)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes).

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Add in both sugars and beat another 2-3 minutes. (Scrap sides as needed)

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Add in eggs and vanilla and cream together.

Scrap sides of the bowl and add in all dry ingredients. Mix just until combined.

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Fold in chocolate chips.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl make the cinnamon mixture.

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Place 3/4 of the dough into the bottom of the pan (reserving the rest) and sprinkle with 3/4 the cinnamon mixture.

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Drop remainder of the dough into little chunks evenly across the top.

Sprinkle with remainder of the cinnamon mixture.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Be prepared to be wowwed and devour.

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We have enjoyed this cookie bar for breakfast with a cup of coffee. Super yummy if you are a pastry lover and a coffee lover.

Lentil Stew

Lentil Stew

Lentil Stew

When I woke up this morning there was a cold wind whistle, yes Autumn is near. We came from a super hot 90 degree weekend and wound up in the 60’s today. Gloomy days are perfect cozy days. I woke up to snuggle on the couch with my blanket and work on my bible study and read for awhile. And of course I had my cup o’ coffee and it was absolutely glorious.

Opting for a warm soup and fresh bread for dinner, I put my crock pot to work; lentil stew.

I took Cooper to the park this morning to get his wiggles released before nap time. Upon our return home, the house smelt of something so yummy waiting to be eaten this evening. I love walking into a house that smells of yummy food or fresh baked goods. There is something so delightful in that.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup navy beans
  • 1 1/2 cup lentils
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp minced garlic

Clean your beans and lentils thoroughly before placing in the crock pot

Combine all ingredients together and give a good stir.

Let simmer for 8 hours.

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Serve with Garlic Buttered Bread and toast.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Peanut Bars

Browned Butter chocolate chip cookie bars

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and 8×8 bake dish.

In a saucepan over med-low heat, melt butter and brown sugar until sugar is completely melted.

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Once the mixture is completely melted, add in the peanut butter and melt thoroughly.

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In a stand mixer combine all dry ingredients and pour liquid into dry ingredients.

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Mix just until dough comes together.

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Press mixture into greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

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Allow to cool before cutting. Enjoy with a cup of milk and maybe a scoop of ice cream! :)

Cinnamon Nut Oatmeal

Cinnamon Nut Oatmeal

Often we eat eggs for breakfast but on the days where my son eats very little, I try and spice up the calorie intake for him with protein and nuts. A good hearty breakfast is important for our bodies. We often do not start our days off in a correct manner with a well-rounded breakfast. I’ve noticed on days such as today when we are rushing out the door and all I eat is a granola bar for breakfast, I tend to get a migraine a couple of hours later. I have trained my body to eat a healthy breakfast and when it doesn’t receive this, my body simply gets mad at me and puts me down with a migraine. Literally putting me down. :( This sad state needs to end and it all began because of a lack of nutrients for breakfast. It’s important to eat breakfast even if you aren’t a “morning” person. You can train yourself to eat good food and not a lot of it to stay healthier.

Enough of my bossy mom instincts telling you as if you are my child, to eat your breakfast. You all know I love you deeply right?

Anyway, as of lately my son has been into watching the movie Cars. He hates TV otherwise. So our morning routine begins with him snuggling on the couch watching cars while I prepare breakfast. This has been a great way to feed him and actually get him to consume calories as well as him allowing my to snuggle my sweet baby. I’m not sure if it’s the distraction from watching the movie or the comfort of sitting on the couch all snuggled up rather then at the table. In either case, he has his whole life to sit at the table and I will take every opportunity to stuff his body full of calories since it’s almost impossible to keep the pounds on this little rascal.

Today’s breakfast of choice: Cinnamon Nut Oatmeal

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp pecans, almond, walnuts
  • 1/4 cup milk

Prepare oats according to package instructions.

In a small bowl add oatmeal and sprinkle with cinnamon. Mix together. 
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Top with brown sugar, cranberries and nuts.

Drizzle with Milk.

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Devour and feel satisfied.

How To Keep Your Herbs Crisp

How To Keep Your Herbs Crisp

It may seem obvious to some of you and not so obvious to the rest.

After growing my garden and running into the problem of an overgrown, wretched view of a garden, I knew I had to come up with a way of storing my produce better. I say “wretched” because it really was and still is. It’s totally overgrown and I did nothing to help in this manner. Not because I didn’t care, but because I’m NEW to gardening. It’s a lot of work and they are finicky little things. If you don’t treat them right, they wont treat you right. I would rather have it overgrown than not producing at all!

Some people have the gift of gardening and I envy these people.

Anyway, after much thought and limp celery, I found my solution. It’s pretty simple ya’ll. The best way to keep your herbs and vegetables crisp is to keep them stored in the fridge in some water. Almost as if you create a beautiful bouquet of flowers with your produce.

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Pick your produce of choice…

Herbs

And place in a cold cup of water. Store in the refrigerator.

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Viola- they stay crisp!

Just remember, nobody likes limp celery. As soon as you notice the limp begin, immediately salvage your produce by soaking the stalks in a cup of water. They will liven and brighten and crisp right back up.

Solution-Solved

Cobb Salad

Cobb Salad

Lets talk salad.

It’s so easy to make salad for dinner but a good, hearty salad that is filling and fulfilling may take a few extra minutes. Sometimes it takes the pressure of making a big ol’ meal and going back to basics.

Here is a simple but incredible Cobb Salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb cripsy cooked bacon
  • 2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups cubed ham
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 cup cheese, shredded
  • 3 eggs, hard boiled
  • Homemade croutons
  • Blue cheese dressing

Wash and dry lettuce.

In 2 large bowls divide all the ingredients for two main dish salads. Equally portion out the toppings onto each salad.

IMG_6841Don’t forget to add fresh cracked pepper at the end. 
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Top with dressing and viola, you have an incredibly healthy, hearty salad that is bound to fill you up.

*Fresh tomatoes from the garden and real bacon verses bacon bits will make this salad that much better. (Please don’t buy bacon bits) Bacon isn’t meant to be preserved and sat on the shelf for 9 months.