Thursday, November 29

Thursday Photo Challenge: Bottle

I am a caffeine junkie, although my vice of choice is Diet Mt. Dew. I drink so much of it, my veins must run green. I loved this old style Pepsi bottle and knew it would come in handy some day.

I linked up with Spun with Tears

Wednesday, November 28

Photoblog Challenges: B&W with Toning

Here I am again with another angel shot. I have decided at some point I would like to do a series of angel photos to help with my fear fascination of them and their watch. Maybe frame them and put them on them on display? It's a project I have given myself, one that may take or last years but I am looking forward to it.

I linked up with Photoblog Challenges: B&W with Toning.

Tuesday, November 27

Cranberry Streusel Muffins

These are Thanksgiving inspired muffins. You see, I love most fruits but I don't necessarily care for them "in" foods. Whole that is. As a sauce or flavoring, I am fine, even a topping...but chunks of fruit in a recipe and I rarely will even sample it. Weird? Probably.

These muffins have cranberry sauce without the whole cranberries in them. Simple to make and delicious!

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp.salt
1 cup cranberry sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a larger bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, sour cream, milk, eggs and vanilla. Then mix in the baking powder & soda, and salt. Stir in the flour until just combined. 

Fill each cupcake liner about 1/3 full with the batter. Spoon 1 TBLS. of the cranberry sauce over each 1/3 filled liner. Sprinkle each with a little of the brown sugar mixture you set aside at the very beginning. Spoon remaining batter over each liner. Then top with remaining brown sugar mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned on top. 

Cool for a few minutes and serve.

Monday, November 26

Photoblog Challenges:Many

Good morning everyone! Are you recovered from Thanksgiving and Black Friday? It might take me a few more days to do so. 

Simple post from me today. I am even feeling too lazy to add a quote. 

Have a great Monday. :)

I entered Photoblog Challenges: Many

Wednesday, November 21

Cheese Bread

recipe from

I can include myself among the many people who go crazy for Red Lobster's garlic cheese biscuits. You may remember when I posted the copycat recipe here. I was super excited when I found this recipe on Pinterest and couldn't wait to try. It does not have the same texture as the biscuits, of course, and for whatever reason the garlic was all together left out. I decided to try it as is. 

While this did not taste like Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits, it when right to the top of my list for breads anyway. Gooey cheese, dense doughy bread and a whole loaf to enjoy!!! 

I will make a the one alteration of adding some garlic next time only because I am a garlic freak.You may find this perfect the way it is.

Delicious warm with a little butter smeared on each slice.

3 cups flour
1 TBLS. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. black pepper
4 oz. medium cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup sour cream
3 TBLS. butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease or spray a 9 x 5 loaf pan. 

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Carefully stir in the cheese cubes until the cubes are covered. 

In a separate bowl, mix milk, sour cream, melted butter and egg. Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined. Do not over stir!

Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake for 45 - 50 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan (I find using a knife around the edges to loosen it up helps if it's not cooperating). 

Cool 1 hour on a baking rack before slicing.

Tuesday, November 20

Mexican Chicken & Rice

This is a super easy weeknight recipe. Cheesy, slightly zesty and the leftovers are great the next day.

You can even make this faster by preparing the chicken ahead of time. Just follow the instructions below for cooking the chicken. Cool and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use and then pick back up in the recipe where you left off.

chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces (I used 3)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
1 1/3 cups water
1 cup Minute rice, uncooked
3/4 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook chicken pieces with just a sprinkling of the taco seasoning until cooked through. I sprinkled the enough to coat the tops of the chicken after adding it to the skillet.

While the chicken is cooking, mix chicken soup, water, the remainder of the taco seasoning, rice and 1/2 of the cheese in a large bowl. Stir in cooked and seasoned chicken. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake up to an additional 10 minutes or until cheese on top is melted. 

Serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, November 19

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bites

recipe from

Raspberry and cheesecake. What a combo! I saw these on a fellow food blogger's post and couldn't resist making them. They are nothing short of amazing! I thought these were so much fun to make too. 

I have only one regret. After pulling these out if the oven to cool, I set them on a wire rack right in line of my air conditioning. They cooled down much too quickly causing them to sink in on the tops. If you want them to have the full rounded top, make sure they are set somewhere warmer than I did. The flavor (which was spot on) was not affected in any way, which is what really matters.

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 TBLS. unsalted butter, melted
3 TBLS. sugar

For the raspberry swirl:
6 oz. fresh raspberries
2 TBLS. sugar

For the filling:
2 lbs. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Stir with a fork until well blended and all the dry ingredients are moistened. Press 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the bottoms of the cupcake liners. Press the crumbs down with the bottom of a drinking glass. Bake until just set, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

To make the raspberry puree, combine the raspberries and sugar in a blender. Process until smooth.

To make the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese on medium high speed in a bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Blend in the sugar until smooth. Mix in the salt and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after adding each one.

To assemble, spoon 3 tablespoons of the cheesecake batter over the crust in each cupcake liner. Dot 1/2 teaspoon of the raspberry puree in a few dots over the cheesecake filling. Use a toothpick to lightly swirl and create a marble effect.

Bake until the filling is set, about 20 - 22 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let cool to room temperature.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.

Tuesday, November 13

Skillet Tacos

recipe from

It's Taco Tuesday and we sure love tacos at this house. This is a super easy and delicious dinner for those busy days. Ingredients you probably already have on hand. From the stove to the table in under 15 minutes. What's not to love?

1 lb. ground beef
1 small red onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup frozen corn
10 corn tortillas (6 inch), cut into 1" pieces (pizza cutter works great)
1 8 oz. bottle taco sauce
1- 1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat. Drain

Rinse frozen corn in a colander with warm water. Drain

Add the drained corn, taco sauce and 1 cup of the cheese to the beef mixture.

Stir in tortilla pieces and heat through.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Garnish with sour cream if desired.

Monday, November 12

Philly Cheesesteak Rolls

recipe from

I have not worked with puff pastry before. I wanted to give it a try and when visiting their website, found this interesting recipe. I have to say that I am impressed by their flaky texture and slightly buttery taste. I am not a huge fan of Philly Cheesesteak but found this sandwich version quite delicious!

all purpose flour
1/2 of a 17.3 oz pkg. puff pastry sheets ( 1 sheet), thawed
1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup onion, sliced
1/4 of a 24 oz. pkg. frozen sandwich steak (4 portions) cut into thick strips
4 slices American cheese
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle flour on a clean dry surface. Unfold the pastry sheet and roll into a 10 inch square. Then cut the square into 4 equal parts.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Increase the heat to medium high. Add sandwich steak and cook for 3 minutes or until cooked through. Stir occasionally.

Spoon 1/4 of both the onion and sandwich steak on the bottom of each puff pastry. Top each with a slice of cheese. Fold 2 opposite sides over the filling. Roll jelly roll style. Brush with egg. 

Place pastries on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until pastries are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Cut each pastry diagonally before serving.

Friday, November 9

Eclair Cake

Good morning and happy Friday!

I am revisiting a recipe I posted years ago. One of the first desserts I made that didn't come from a box or package mix. I am sharing it again as I have tried the countless versions of this I have found on Pinterest and they all come up short in some way. I got this recipe from a friend of my stepmom's who has her own resort/restaurant. Every time I make it, someone asks for the recipe. Layers of vanilla pudding, graham cracker cake and topped with rich chocolate, who can resist?

Make sure you follow the directions by chilling this overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours. If you don't, the graham cracker layers don't soften into a cake like texture and that is really the key to this being so delicious! Most people have no idea the recipe even contains graham crackers. 

Easy to make and even more fun to eat!

Ingredients for the base:
1 box graham crackers
2 pkg. French vanilla instant pudding
2 3/4 cups milk
1 (12 oz) Cool Whip, thawed

Mix instant pudding with milk as directed on package EXCEPT use 2 3/4 cups milk where it is called for on the package. Add cool whip and mix well. Place a single layer if graham crackers on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Do not crumble, leave whole. (you may  have to break off sections to make a full layer) Spread 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the graham crackers. Cover with another layer of graham crackers and then the remainder of the pudding mixture. Top with a third layer of graham crackers.

Ingredients for frosting:
2 pkgs. premelted unsweetened chocolate
2 TBLS. margarine, softened
2 TBLS. white Karo syrup
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 TBLS. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat all ingredients until smooth. Spread evenly over the top layer of graham crackers.

The frosting should make just enough to cover the top. Refrigerate overnight. 

Thursday, November 8

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

Here's an interesting twist to traditional tacos. I like to experiment with different ideas so my meal plan doesn't become boring or predictable. We all are taco lovers in this house and Spencer and I love our pasta too. We thought these were delicious. They certainly won't replace tacos or Italian stuffed shells but they will be a fun way to have both at once.

1 lb. ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
4 oz. cream cheese
12 large pasta shells
1 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips
sour cream, to garnish

In a large skillet, brown ground beef. Drain. Add taco seasoning packet and let simmer 7 - 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Add cream cheese, stirring to blend as it melts. Set aside when done and let cool completely. (or it gets quite messy!)

While beef is cooking, make pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and toss with butter. Let cool along with beef.

When beef and pasta have cooled, evenly distribute salsa on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stuff each pasta shell with meat mixture. Place the shells on top of the salsa and cover with taco sauce. 

Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove from oven and cover evenly with the crushed tortilla chips and both cheeses. Cover again and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

Cool slightly and serve with additional chips, sour cream or any other topping you may want.

Wednesday, November 7

Chicken Roll-Ups

Crescent rolls. I use them a lot these days. They are so versatile and easy, not to mention delicious. We had these for a weeknight easy dinner but they would make great appetizers too. I wouldn't recommend adding any extra spicing as the bacon bits and ranch add enough on their own. 

rotisserie chicken (only because they are so tender but chicken breasts would work fine)
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
crescent rolls (original or butter 8 count)
1 pkg. real bacon bits
1 1/2 cups medium cheddar cheese
1 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix

Shred cooked chicken with 2 forks. Mix all ingredients together except of course the crescent rolls.

Unroll crescent rolls and equally divide the chicken mixture between them, scooping spoonfuls onto the wider edge. Roll up crescent rolls and seal the edges so the chicken mixture is completely covered.

Bake for 12 -15 minutes or until crescents are golden brown.

Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, November 6