Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I'm honored to have one of my recipes posted on allrecipes.com! So far, it's received wonderful reviews. Try it out and let me know what you think:



5 (4 ounce) links chorizo sausage (such as Johnsonville®)
1 (16 ounce) box penne pasta
1 cup butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 (8 ounce) package button mushrooms, stems trimmed
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate.
Cook the sausages on the preheated grill, turning occasionally, until no longer pink in the center, about 10 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Cut into bite sized pieces; set aside.
Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the penne, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain well in a colander set in the sink.
Meanwhile, melt 1 cup of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and red pepper flakes; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and whisk in the Parmesan cheese until melted. Keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally to keep smooth.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion, red bell pepper, and mushrooms. Cook and stir until the vegetables are tender. Once tender, stir in the chorizo pieces, and cook until hot. Combine with the penne pasta and Parmesan cream sauce to serve.
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If you're not familiar with the allrecipies website, you owe it to yourself to check it out!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Today was a BIG day

Today, we drove to Cheyenne,WY. It's about a two hour drive one way. And.....
We became Sams Club members!

We now have plenty of aa batteries, paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, and a really cool kitchen aid dish drying rack.

We also stopped at Kohls, a real mall, and had a late lunch at Red Lobster.

I'm one happy wife.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

French toast delight

This morning, I made my husband French Toast. I came up with this breakfast idea when he came home earlier in the week with a loaf of bread and said "I thought we could use this for French Toast".

The problem is, I'm awful at making French toast! My mom makes fabulous French toast. Hers has just the right amount of crunch on the outside and are fluffy and delicious on the inside. Mine often end up undercooked or burnt.

So, today I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and gave it a shot:


1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 pinch salt
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white sugar
12 thick slices bread


Measure flour into a large mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk. Whisk in the salt, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla extract and sugar until smooth.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat.
Soak bread slices in mixture until saturated. Cook bread on each side until golden brown. Serve hot.

It turned out perfect! I really think that flour is the secret ingredient.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baking Christmas Memories

This year I decided that in honor of our first Christmas together, I would make lebkuchen.

Dumb move.

First of all, you either need to plan ahead and order an ingredient online, or you need a specialty food store in close proximity. (just FYI, Walmart does not qualify) This was my first red flag that making lebkuchen is not easy. I started my hunt for the appropriate items at Walmart. Fortunately, the majority of the items were easily found there. I hit up the baking aisle in search of "fruit peel". Ooo ooo, I found fruit cake mix! I check the ingredients list that my mom emailed me (passed down from my sweet great grandma E)in which it clearly states "do not use fruit cake mix". :( No biggie I figured, I'll just grab that at the local grocery store. I gave up at Walmart and then hit several other local grocery stores. Word of caution here-don't bother asking anyone at the store if they carry fruit peel or even fruit cake mix. When you ask if they carry fruit peel, they honestly all look at you like your nuts. One helpful store stocker replied "can you just buy whole fruit and peel it?" um, no. Everyone I inquired to about fruitcake mix wanted to know if I was really going to make fruit cake. No fellow fruitcake haters, I wasn't going to make fruitcake, I just didn't want to go back into Walmart for fruit cake mix. Finally, I located fruit cake mix at a local "large" grocery store chain. Fortunately, my mom and I were chatting on the phone at this point (about the true necessity of the elusive fruit peel mix) when she mentioned "make sure you get small eggs". Easy enough, I thought. I live in a farming type community so I bet I can even find farm fresh eggs.


Apparently, there is no longer a need for small eggs. In today's kitchens, we require the following:
Large eggs
Extra large eggs
or, my personal favorite...
JUMBO eggs

I'm not clear on the difference between JUMBO and extra large eggs, but to my great disappointment, I couldn't even find medium eggs. So, I went with the smallest eggs I could find (aka large eggs) and headed home with all of the ingredients-even if a few were substitutions.

After gathering all of the ingredients, I realized why my grandma B used to put rum in her cookies. This was going to take some serious work. I prepared myself with the following...

When you make lebkuchen, you really need to set aside a full two days or more. The first day you need to gather your ingredients and make the dough. The dough then needs to be refrigerated overnight. It took some time to mix together all the ingredients. (That reminds me, I need to get a larger mixing bowl.). I was very grateful for my kitchen aid mixer, a gift several years ago from grandma B, and my kitchen aid food processor from my mom! These two items were practically a necessity in getting the dough put together in under two hours. I did have a small audience for support during this part of the preparation:

Finally, the next day, I rolled out the dough, cut out the cookies, made the frosting, baked, frosted and decorated my mini masterpieces. I admit, the cookies were a bit thin, but they tasted very close to what I remember my mom baking for us as kids!

I was very proud of my two day baking production and super excited to have E taste one. His response....."they're good" that was it. Just a simple they're good. He added, "i like the ones you made last year better". Talk about pouring salt in an open wound! Those dang cookies take about an hour to make- they are just simple slice and bake type cookies-although you do make the dough from scratch. I ended up only baking up half the dough. I don't think E has even tried another. I, on the other hand, am trying to limit my cookie consumption and save some for my in-laws.
To make matters worse, I received an email from my mom recently with an updated lebkuchen recipe. She made them this year too! Next time I make them, I need to add an additional cup of flour. I'm hoping for Santa (mom) to share some of her cookies this year. They taste SO much better when someone else makes them, especially my mom.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cooking in Bulk-A flop.

I went shopping on Saturday and actually purchased all the items on our grocery list to make the menu items from my previous post. So far, we're doing really well.  We followed the menu plan for two days already!  Ok, it's not really that exciting since the first day was "date night".  However, I did make the items listed on the menu for Sunday and so far it's been a success.  I'm determined to stick with this and already am contemplating next weeks menu.  I'm also really excited about not having to do much cooking tonight and plan to start getting on the treadmill again with this new found free time.

I got a little overzealous with this whole saving money concept and decided to make twelve sausage egg and cheese mcmuffins after I got home from the Saturday shopping trip.  I saw this post about making egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches that you freeze and figured I'd give it a shot.  (So I did get a few extra items at the grocery store, but I had good intentions for them.)  I thought it sounded brilliant and Ed and I are horrible at eating breakfast so I'm hoping this will change that.  So, around 8:30 on Saturday night, I really started getting wild and crazy and put together twelve sausage egg and cheese mcmuffins.  I precooked the eggs and sausage and toasted the english muffins.  I then assembled all of this with the cheese slices and let them dry out/cool in the fridge (we didn't have room in the freezer-watch for a post on why, coming soon).  This was the finished product-
better than mc d's?
I let my masterpieces sit in the fridge for about an hour.  I then wrapped them individually in freezer paper and some new double seal ziploc freezer bags I picked up on my shopping trip. 

Sunday morning was the first test.  I woke up early enough to turn on the oven and pop two of these suckers in there on some pieces of tin foil.  I let them bake for 25 min at 350 degrees (as I had read on the blog).  Success!  I made breakfast and we'll be at church on time.  We head to church and I hand my husband one of my greatest creations.  Ok, to be honest, I already knew it wasn't one of my greatest creations.  The cheese got a little hard on the outside so I was a bit worried.  He bit into it and some liquid poured out (i'm guessing this was from the egg).  I tried mine and it was ok, but the egg was a bit cool and the english muffin was very crunchy.  FAIL.

This morning I decided I'd give the muffins another try.  This time, I'd go against the original blogs advice and microwave it.  This worked out better for the cheese, sausage, and muffin, but the egg was still cold.  Basically, it was still frozen.  I threw the egg out and ate the rest. I think next time I'll try heating the egg seperately.  However, my first attempt at cooking in bulk was not all that I thought it'd be cracked up to be.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wifely Duties

In honor of this whole marriage thing, I decided that I will finally start planning out our weekly meals.  To begin with, I'm not focusing on healthy foods.  Right now, my goal is to create a dinner menu for the week and then to shop for just those items (with a few breakfast items and essentials thrown in).  Once I get into the habit of this whole planning deal, I hope to start adjusting our diet to some more healthy meals.  I don't want to get overwhelmed and give up right away. 
The primary goal of this little planning mission is to save us some money.  We currently have a nice bunch of asparagus wilting in the fridge that my husband purchased the week of our wedding.  I'm not sure when he thought I was going to prepare this, but lets just say it didn't happen.  That is just one example of the many food items we purchase that goes to waste.  So, without further ado, I present to you my first menu plan...

Date night dinner
Chili with Cornbread
Sausage Stars/Football Snacks
Chili (leftover) Cheese Hotdogs with French fries
Grilled Chicken, rice, vegetable
Pork Chops, Asparagus & Parmesan Noodles
Taco Salad

Mac and cheese with leftover taco meat

Grocery List
        2 lb Ground Beef
        Macaroni Noodles
        Kidney Beans
        1 (15 oz) Tomato Sauce
        1 large can crushed tomatoes
        1 package cornbread mix
        1 lb pork sausage
        1 bottle ranch dressing
        1 pkg wonton wrappers
        1 ½ c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
        1 ½ c. grated Monterey Jack cheese
        1 2.25 oz can diced black olives
        1 small red pepper
        Hot dogs
        Hot dog buns
        French fries
        Can vegetable/corn on the cob?
        Pork chops
        Parmesan Noodles (box)
        Taco Seasoning
        Tortilla chips
        Mac & Cheese

Here are a few of my concerns...What if I don't feel like eating hot dogs that night?  What if I forget something on the list?  What if the chili tastes awful?  (Those poor hot dogs will just have to be covered in just cheese the next night) Oh and will the aspargus make it in the fridge from Saturday through Wednesday?  Maybe I'll need to swap days around a bit.  This whole wife thing is a lot of work.

I also should mention that I believe this is the best way for us to save some money on our grocery bill.  Believe me, I've tried to come up with other alternatives since this whole planning is a bit boring.  The thing is, we shop at primarily two stores for our groceries-Walmart and the Dalton Market.  We don't get a paper (mainly since they won't deliver to our house) so we don't have coupons to get the discount.  The Dalton Market is overpriced (since it's supported by the 332 citizens of the town and whoever actually stops there to "check out the old store" on their way through town). 

So ladies, any tips on planning out a menu for the week? 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

...so they are no longer two, but one...

Husband and Wife
With this ring...
We became husband and wife on Saturday, September 17th, 2011.  The ceremony and reception were more beautiful than words can describe.  We had friends and family present for several days leading up to the big day and will cherish the moments with them forever.  Many of our guests traveled many hours to share in our day and the love we felt was overwhelming.

It rained on our wedding day.  Some may say that's good luck, but for me it was a reminder of God's beauty in our world.  The rain was followed by an amazing double rainbow...

Double Rainbow!