Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Katy's Cakes

My cousin Katy is terrific at making cakes and other baked goods. She recently (within the past few years) has been fattening up our family with her delicious treats. She's a nurse by day and a baker at night in Rockwall, TX. She is very detail-oriented. When I see her cakes, I think there is no way that I could sit and make 50 fondant umbrellas.  Our family thinks she fabulous and fully supports launching Katy into her own bakery business.  Anyone have any ideas how we can make this happen?
Hudson's baby shower umbrella cupcakes
Nicole's 30th birthday party
Hudson's 1st birthday party
Hudson's 2nd birthday party
Harper's umbrella cake


Here's a sneak peak into my secret life in the kitchen....
  1. I rarely measure seasonings. Back in the day when we had cable, I would watch Rachel Ray (sometimes on mute) and marvel at how she never measured. She would just pour it into her hand and eyeball it. I want to be a cook like that. When the seasoning is spicy, I will measure. I've been burned before!
  2. When using dry spices, I don't feel the need to clean my measuring spoons. Sometimes I just wipe them clean with a paper towel. I'm lazy.
  3. I hate onions. I'm getting better with this. I will eat onions if they are completely softened. If I don't think they'll have enough time to soften up then I'll use onion powder.
  4. Cumin is my arch enemy. I gave cumin numerous tries, and it just tastes really strong to me. I can't figure out if my cumin is just terrible, or that I'm extremely aversive to it. But, I'm going to try it again. I got cumin from Penzey spices as a gift, hopefully I'll just love it!
  5. I make a smoothie every morning. I've gotten this down to an art and can make it in around 3 minutes.  (6 frozen strawberries + 1 banana + 1/2 c plain yogurt + 1/2 c 100% apple juice + 1 cup of pineapple)
  6. I'm not good at baking, because it requires precision & accuracy. See #1 why this is a problem for me. I am great at making muffins.
  7. I'm reckless in the kitchen. Recipe calls for thyme, I don't have it, I use rosemary. The recipe calls for Swiss, I don't have any, I use Mozzarella. I just substitute on a whim. Generally this turns out okay!
What are your kitchen secrets?

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Bad, Good, and the Great

The Bad
On Saturday, I set out to run 8 miles in the misty rain. This was the first time I'd ever even attempted to run 8 miles. I'd been a little bit nervous about it all week. I ate a Clif bar, drank a little bit of water and was on my way. At about mile 2, my stomach was reeling. I decided to turn around and run home. I can't remember the last time that I'd just given up and turned around. I started walking towards home wishing for a miracle port-a-potty. After awhile, I stopped and sat on the curb to see if that would make me feel better. I could feel the color draining out of my face. I got up, and started walking again. Then I ran the rest of the way home, and felt much better once I reached home. I felt pretty defeated, but decided I would try again on Sunday.

The Good
I didn't go running until about 11 on Sunday afternoon. I have found that I run better in the evenings and midday. It gives me enough time to consume calories. I set out with a strong mind, and 1 Clif Block Shot. The plan was to run a 5 mile loop passing by my house, and then another 3 mile loop. I would stop and take a drink at my house. I had set a water bottle out at the curb. I didn't feel very tired during the run. After 5 miles, I felt refreshed enough for the quick 3 mile run. I was proud of my time, and finished in 1:19:03. My goal was 1:20:00. As I'm increasing my mileage my pace is staying the same. I'm trying to stay under 10 minute miles. Next weekend, I'm slated to run 10 miles! We shall see!

The Great
Today, I was scheduled to run a 3 mile run. I had coffee and Chex cereal before my run. I love that 3 miles feels easy. I wouldn't categorize myself as a runner, and to finally be able to say that 3 miles is easy is a big personal achievement. I took Barley on my run, and he slows me down a bit. I ran 3 miles in 27:56. I think without him, I would've been able to do it in 27. I even had some juice left in me to sprint the last block.
How could you say no to this face?

I've been running since 2006, and I never thought that I would be able to run over 3 miles. For the past several years, I would stop at 3 and never set any goals beyond that. Jennie inspired me to run my first 10K in November. Then she roped me in to sign up for my very first 1/2 marathon at the end of February! Thank you Jennie, for inspiring me to do things I never thought that I could.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

My friend Christine passed this recipe along to me, and it has been a mainstay in my kitchen ever since. She claims that it is pretty low-cal. I eat it because it is delicious! It has a pretty quick prep time, especially if you already have cooked chicken on hand. Micah's only complaint is that he wishes it had crust on the bottom too.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (sliced into bite sized pieces)
1 bag (12 oz) Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers frozen mixed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 cups fat-free (skim) milk
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz box), softened as
directed on box 
  1. Heat oven to 375*F.
  2. Salt, pepper, and sprinkle poultry seasoning on chicken. Pam your skillet. Cook chicken in skillet for 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Set aside.
  3. Cook and drain vegetables as directed on bag. 
  4. In 2-quart saucepan, mix flour, salt, poultry seasoning, pepper and milk with wire whisk until blended. Stir in onion. Cook over medium heat 4 to 6 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  5. Stir in soup and sour cream. Add chicken and cooked vegetables; mix well. Cook, stirring frequently, until thoroughly heated. Pour into ungreased 2-quart round casserole. Unroll pie crust; place over hot filling. Seal edge and flute as desired. Cut slits in several places in crust.
  6. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and mixture is bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

This weekend we had company and I made Blueberry Muffins with an Orange Glaze, I got the recipe from Eat at Home. They are fantastic!

Tips: Use fresh squeezed orange juice, and make the glaze right before you are ready to put it on the muffins.

On Saturday morning, I made breakfast casserole. This is a very popular recipe amongst my friends and family.

2 cans of crescent rolls
1 package of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 package of Jimmy Dean sausage
6 eggs (slightly beaten)
shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Lay 1 can of the crescent rolls in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Spread cream cheese on top of the crescent roll. I usually use about 1/2 of the box of cream cheese, add as much or as little as you like! Cook the Jimmy Dean sausage in a pan, drain. Then put the sausage on top of the cream cheese. Scramble 6 eggs, and place them on top of the sausage. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top. Then roll out the 2nd can of crescent rolls and place on top. Cook for 11-13 minutes, follow the directions on the crescent roll package.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas Tree Dip

I know, I know you've already put away your tree, and you are completely over Christmas. BUT, I wanted to share this dip with you. Maybe you can revamp it for St. Patty's day. Shamrocks, anyone? My cousin, Nicole, got this idea from Kraft and made it before our Christmas Eve dinner.

1 box of cream cheese at room temperature
2 boxes of Wholly Guacamole
Ritz Crackers
1 tomato for garnish

Cut cream cheese diagonally in half to make 2 triangles. Place the 2 triangles of cream cheese between 2 sheets of Saran Wrap.
 Shape the cream cheese into a triangle.

Spread Wholly Guacamole on top of cream cheese and garnish with chopped tomatoes.
 Add 2 Ritz crackers for the trunk.

Serve with tortilla chips and crackers!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Santa Brought us Cookbooks

This year Micah received more cookbooks than me. Is this a sign that he's going to be the cook, and I'm going to be the lazy one this year?

I received:
Clean Food from Jennie for my birthday

Micah received: (see if you recognize a theme)
Smoke & Spice

Dr. BBQ's Big Time Barbeque Cookbook

Big Green Egg Cookbook

What cookbooks did Santa bring you?

Photo credit:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Eve Dinner Party

Welcome to my blog, and to my very first post. I'm just going to dive right in.

On NYE, instead of going out we decided to host a small gathering with Jennie, Mike, Mike's parents, and my parents. We had a terrific time,  especially because I won at Uno TWO times.

Here's what our tables looked like:

 Don't laugh at the uneven heights of the tables, instead direct your attention to the beautiful dishes.

Our Menu:

Baked Brie adapted from Foodie Bride
I decided to omit the onions, and I used plum jelly in one of the baked bries, and plain jane for the other. I used plum jelly because that's what I had on hand. It was delish!

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking
This soup was so easy to make, and I'm going to say that it isn't that bad for you either. It only had 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream, which isn't too bad split amongst 8 people.

Main Course:

Prime Rib cooked on the Green Egg
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans

Iced Tea
Homebrew (Spice Beer, IPA, and Stout)