Monday, February 27, 2012

Philly Cheesesteak Pockets

I'm always looking for something fairly simple and pleasing for all when making dinner. Not to mention something that makes enough leftovers so that my husband can pack it in his lunch for work the following day.
Wanting to use up the frozen bread loaf I had leftover from when I made the Pasta Braid, I decided to try something a little different, and the outcome was very yummy!

Philly Cheesesteak Pockets
Prep: 40 minutes Bake: 20 minutes Servings: 4 pockets

1 frozen bread loaf (I used Rhodes)
1 lb thinly sliced sirloin, flank, or ribeye steak
1 green bell pepper
1 small onion
8 slices provolone cheese
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°

Thaw out the bread loaf according to package directions. 
Roll out flat on floured surface. Cut the dough into 4 rectangles or squares.
Slice and remove seeds from the bell pepper.
Thinly slice the onion.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. 
Saute the onion and bell pepper until onions are tender.
Add the beef slices; salt and pepper to taste.
Cook quickly, but not completely through, as the beef will cook more in the oven, and you don't want them to dry out.
Add 1/4 of the beef and onion mixture to each of the dough rectangles.
Top each with 2 slices of cheese.
Fold over the dough to cover the meat, and seal edges.
Cut a vent into the top of each pocket.
Place each pocket onto a baking sheet.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the bread is fully cooked.
Serve while still hot.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Banana Bread {no oil}

I always make a loaf of banana bread or banana muffins when I have overripe bananas hanging around.
I tend to stick to the same recipe time after time (which I need to post sometime)  but after cruising around Pinterest I am finding all kind of different banana bread recipes that I must try. One popular one that I keep seeing is from 8weekstoabetteryourecipes, which uses applesauce instead of oil and honey instead of brown sugar. So I gave it a whirl!
Now I love banana bread with that delicious brown sugar crumble. Obviously I have not developed a non-sugary I will admit that I added some brown sugar to the slices that I ate. *sigh* the horror I know! It defeated the purpose of it being a healthy recipe. But I tried a slice...or two...without the brown sugar and it just wasn't doing it for me. But it is a solid recipe that can be enjoyed without it. My husband didn't mind one bit without it.
The only other change I had was that her recipe used whole wheat flour, but I didn't have any on hand, so I used white flour.

Banana Bread {oil free}
Prep: 15 minutes Bake: 60 minutes Servings: 8 slices 

Preheat oven to 350°

2 cups flour (whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
3 overripe, mashed bananas

Lightly grease bread baking dish, 9x5.
Combine applesauce, honey, eggs, and bananas.
In another large bowl mix flour, baking soda and salt.
Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture.
Combine well.
Pour into baking dish.
Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove to cooling rack.
Let cool at least 10 minutes in pan before inverting from pan.
Slice and enjoy!

Gooey Butter Cake

I love to watch Paula Dean make all of her buttery-goodness southern traditional treats and always had a craving for that Gooey Butter Cake. Butter, powdered sugar...more butter. I knew it had to taste spectacular.

Since my Grandpa comes over for our weekly Sunday dinner, I thought that would be the perfect time to test out this cake. It was a hit!! My Grandpa requested a few pieces to take home, and even Channa loved it and took some to work the next day..."for his breakfast". It is rich and buttery, and gooey, and well, just plain wonderful! Paula Deen's website for the Gooey Butter Cake.


Gooey Butter Cake

by Emily Chhouy
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Ingredients (12 servings)
    Cake Crust
    • 1 package yellow cake mix, dry
    • 1 egg
    • 8 tbsp butter, melted
    Gooey Filling
    • 1-8oz package cream cheese, softened
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 8 tbsp butter, melted
    • 1 lb. powdered sugar
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Lightly grease the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
    (I like to use 8x11 to make it a bit thicker)
    Combine the cake mix, egg and butter.
    Pat into the bottom of the baking dish.
    In a large bowl beat cream cheese until smooth.
    Beat in the eggs, vanilla and butter.
    Add powdered sugar and mix well until well combined.
    Spread over the cake batter in the dish.
    Bake for 40 minutes or so, the middle of the filling should remain gooey. So don't over bake.
    Remove to cooling rack.
    Cut and serve.
    Powered by Recipage

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Children's Reward Charts {potty & behavior}

    I have a three-year-old daughter who thinks she is Miss Independent.
    She doesn't take punishments seriously, and I feel like I'm always telling her not to do something.
    Something needs to change. I tell her when she is a good girl that she is awesome and give her great praise...then I fall victim to bribery. The "if you are good, we'll go to the store to get you a surprise!" that has back-fired on me on now and created a spoiled monster some most days.
    Now that I'm home with her all day, and have started in-home daycare I was looking for a new way to reward good behavior. I'm tired of hearing "she pushed me" "she pinched me" "NO! that's mine" so on and so forth.

    Thinking long and hard about it I decided to start a Reward Box.

    The box is full of simple candy, toys and trinkets that the kids think are amazing.
    I shopped at the Dollar Tree to get it started (I'll list the contents and everything a bit later).
    So I came up with the Reward Box, but I needed a structured way for the kids to earn the rewards.
    The idea came to me as I was at the local Starbucks and gave them my loyalty punch card.
    A punch card. That is the answer.
    I put some time and thought into the amount of good punches the kids need to earn a reward. I didn't want to make it too easy, or too difficult.

    So simple things (suckers, play-doh, stickers) are the lowest "price" at 3 punches each.
    Next are a little better prizes (playing cards, spin tops, bubbles) at 7 punches each.
    Then the BIG reward items (books, plush toy, balls) are 14 punches each.

    You can work out the finer details, but bigger rewards can be equal to 2 or 3 smaller rewards.

    I purchased the 3 color dot stickers from Walmart that is frequently used for garage sales to color code the rewards. Then I made a sign and mod-podged it to the front of the box so the kids (and I) knew the value of  each reward in the box.

    I then created a simple punch card that I can write in the child's name and either punch out the boxes with a paper punch, check it off or put a sticker in. However you prefer. I put a total of 14 boxes so I could easily keep track when it gets full so earning a large reward from the box.

    Then I got to thinking about rewarding the 2 girls that are potty training about using the toilet. My own daughter gets lazy by the end of the day and won't stop playing to go, and the other girl is just starting to learn how to go on the potty. Thus the creation of a potty reward chart! The same idea applies, I added 20 boxes, and they get 1 sticker for #1 and 2 stickers for #2 (makes sense, right?) When all 20 boxes get filled with a sticker, the child earns a BIG reward from the box. (The 14 punch worthy item).

    I picked up a flower paper punch for 97 cents in the scrapbook aisle at Walmart, and at the Dollar Tree I picked up a teacher's sticker book that has 400+ little reward stickers...stars, trophies, etc. The design doesn't matter to the girls so much, just the fact that it is a sticker and they want it! But they are small enough to fit into the potty chart boxes.

    So far so good! The girls are working hard to get punches on their card. I keep them pinned to a cork board so everyone can see them, including parents during drop off and pick up times. The potty charts are taped to the bathroom door so the sticker is given right then and there. It is fun to watch them get so excited about being good and doing good things!

    Details on the reward box:
    To get it started I just walked around the Dollar Tree and picked up random items. The ideas keep flowing on what to put in it. I found that party supplies work great because you can get a lot of an item at minimal cost, and kids tend to want the same toy otherwise a fight or pouting begins.

    For the 3 punch items:
    Dum Dum suckers
    Pixie Sticks (a couple of them at a time)
    off-brand play-doh (8 for $1)

    For the 7 punch items:
    Spin Tops (2 pack for $1)
    Little Frisbees (3 pack for $1)
    Bubbles (3 pack for $1)
    Go Fish, Rummy, Old Maid card sets (3 pack for $1)

    For the 14 punch items:
    $1 each
    Children's Books
    Small Ball
    Rain Stick
    Plush Toy
    Pony Toy

    You get the idea. So many things could get added. Juice boxes, coloring books, even cards for redeeming things like "15 minutes extra computer time" or things like that. Whatever your children enjoy!
    Have fun with it!

    Printables (opens as pdf in google docs)

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    Jalapeno Bacon Grilled Cheese

    I used to never be able to eat anything spicy.
    Then I got pregnant.
    My biggest craving (besides ice...yes my iron was really low) were jalapenos!
    I added them to everything! (if you are wondering, yes, my daughter did have a nice head of hair when she was born)
    Now I love to eat spicy things!
    So when I was trying to come up with something new to make for supper last week and I was rummaging through the fridge and cupboards...I thought about making a bacon grilled cheese sandwich. Then there they were just hanging out in the crisper. Some jalapeno peppers. (light bulb)!
    My daughter just ate bacon and a grilled cheese sandwich, but my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this creation and it is on the "to-make-again" list!!

    Jalapeno Bacon Grilled Cheese
    Prep: 30-40 minutes Bake: 15 minutes Servings: 4 sandwiches

    6-8 strips of bacon
    4 jalapeno peppers
    8 slices cheddar cheese
    4oz cream cheese, softened
    8 slices sourdough bread (or your favorite)
    butter for the outside of the bread

    Cook bacon according to package directions or your favorite manner. I cooked it in the oven.
    Meanwhile heat a griddle or pan to blacken the jalapenos. Let the jalapenos blister and blacken until most of the skin is that way. When they are black, place in a plastic container or a paper bag for about 10 minutes so the jalapenos have a chance to sit and sweat. This makes it easier for peeling off the skin.
    Drain bacon on paper towels when done cooking
    After jalapenos are peeled, cut the top and bottom of the pepper, slice down one side and cut out the inside. I left some of the seeds. Set aside.
    Spread cream cheese one side of each of the bread slices. 
    Place a cheese slice on four of the cream cheese covered sides, then place a sliced open jalapeno pepper over the cheese.
    Top that with bacon. I used 1 strip broke in half for each sandwich. 
    Place another cheese slice over the bacon.
    Top each with a remaining slice of bread to create four sandwiches.
    Butter the top slice of each sandwich so it won't stick to your griddle or pan.
    Place butter side down onto the hot griddle, quickly butter the other side.
    Flip sandwich after it has started to turn golden brown and cheese on the bottom starts to melt.

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    Spinach Artichoke Dip

    Dips are a favorite at my house. We tend to make a dip into a dinner.
    This is my husband, and my favorite dip. It goes together quickly, heats up in the slow cooker, and tastes delicious!
    Spinach artichoke dip! This one is a wee different than most versions of this dip. There is no mayo, cream cheese, or sour cream in it. That's right. It is cheesy, has a bit of a spice, and tastes wonderful!
    It stores well in fridge and can be reheated easily in the microwave and taste just as good as the first time you ate it. I hope this becomes the last Spinach Artichoke Dip you look for! :)

    Spinach Artichoke Dip

    by Emily Chhouy
    Prep Time: 15 min
    Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours
    • 16oz block of Pepperjack Cheese
    • 16oz jar of Alfredo Sauce
    • 1-8.5oz can of Artichoke Hearts
    • 8oz frozen Spinach
    • Tortilla chips, pita bread...whatever you want to use for dipping
    Boil a saucepan of water and quickly heat the spinach, and drain well. (I do this because if I don't boil it first, the spinach gets the dip really watery and a very green tint).
    Break up the pepperjack cheese into the slow cooker.
    Pour the entire jar of alfredo sauce over the pepperjack cheese.
    Drain artichoke hearts, and chop coarsely.
    Place over the cheeses.
    Put the drained spinach over everything. Mix well. Cover and let cook for an hour and half or so, or until the pepperjack cheese is well melted.
    Powered by Recipage

    Melting together in the slow cooker

    Serve with tortilla chips, pita bread, toasted garlic bread...anything you would like to dip into this wonderful dip!!

    Sticky Rice {how to make it}

    I have never met a person who doesn't like sticky rice.
    Even people who claim not to "like" rice eat sticky rice.
    There is just something about it. The fun way to eat it with your fingers, the texture, the bland doesn't-really-taste-like-anything taste. Its just a great side dish with meats. (My favorite is BBQ ribs...ummm YUM!)
    My daughter will eat a meal of just sticky rice whenever we make it (at least once a week or so). I roll it into balls and she thinks it is the greatest thing ever!

    So many people ask me for the "recipe" for sticky rice.
    In truth, there is no recipe. Its just a way of preparing rice. I recently got my sister all set up to make it. Now she wants to make it everyday.
    Its really easy, and inexpensive. It just takes a trip to your local Asian Market or Grocery.

    First things first. You need the correct rice. Jasmine or long-grain won't work here. You need Sweet Rice.
    This is a picture of the type we always purchase...however any rice that says "sweet rice" will do the job.
    Then you need the equipment for steaming the rice. A trip to the Asian Grocery would probably be necessary to pick these two things up. They are inexpensive. A wicker steaming basket, and the pot to boil the water in.
    Now you are ready to get cooking!
    Making sticky rice does take a little pre-planning. The rice must soak in water for no less than four hours. (We have never had good rice turn out when it soaked any less than that). So if you are wanting it for dinner, get it soaking in the morning before you leave for work.
    Pour out the amount of rice you want in a bowl.
    Then rinse the rice with water until the water starts to turn clear from washing all the dust off of the rice. Then leave the rice soaking in the water. This must be what soaks for several hours.
    When you are ready to make the rice, fill the bottom silver pot with water, but  make sure the water doesn't reach the bottom of the basket sitting in it. You want to create steam from the water. Pour out the excess water from the rice, and pour the rice into the wicker basket. Set the basket over the boiling water in the pot, then place a pot lid over the rice to catch the steam
    Now this part just takes some time and practice. I let it steam for about 10 minutes, remove the lid and see that the rice is starting to stick together. Pull out the basket, without the lid, and shake it so that the rice bounces up from the cavity just a little bit in one piece. Bounce it until the bottom of the rice becomes the top of the rice. This way the top is at the bottom and can steam together. (I really hope this makes sense. Just toss it until it goes upside-down) :)
    Continue to steam for about another 10 minutes or so, or until it looks like a firm ball.
    Turn off the water, and dump the rice out into a bowl for serving, or into a wicker sticky rice basket.
    If you don't eat it all, cover in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave, or store in a wicker basket for just a day.
    You'll be making it all the time!!

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Reasons Why I Love You

    My husband and I never have really been "Valentine's Day People".
    We might go out for dinner if it is on a weekend, and we feel like waiting forever to get into one of our favorite restaurants...otherwise we just stay at home, and give each other a card. This year however he did buy me "Breaking Dawn Part I" was a few days early since I needed it the day it came out (Team Edward) :)
    That's when I came across a very popular Pinterest pin, "52 Reasons I Love You" created with a deck of cards.
    This was very last minute, so the decorations are pretty much non-existent, but it is simple, just like my hubs!
    The directions for making this unique craft can be found on the creator PaperVine's blog.
    Her instructions are very clean-cut and easy to follow. The idea is just magnificent.
    The only thing I did since I was trying to bust this out quickly is I mod-podged the reasons onto the cards.
    He took it to work with him yesterday morning (I left it on the kitchen table for him to find) and there it is staying. All the guys got a kick out of it and they all said they were jealous. ;) Their wives didn't make them anything!
    So think away and tell someone 52 reasons why you love them!

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Cake Mix Cream Cheese Cookies

    Cream cheese. Cookies. Combined?
    It seems like an okay thing to do...I randomly found this recipe and jotted it down a long while ago and finally decided to give it a try since I've been on a "cake mix" kick lately.
    It creates a very creamy cookie (of course). The batter is sticky and thick to work with. 
    I added chocolate chips...because I love chocolate chip cookies and this recipe turned out alright. 
    Not my favorite, but it might tickle your fancy :)

    Cake Mix Cream Cheese Cookies
    Prep: 10 minutes Bake: 10 minutes Servings: approx. 36 cookies

    Preheat oven to 375°

    1 box cake mix (white, yellow, chocolate...anything would work, I think)
    8 oz cream cheese, softened
    1/4 cup butter, softened
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 egg
    1 cup chocolate chips, or any other chips you would like

    Cream together cake mix, cream cheese, butter, vanilla and egg. 
    Mixture gets tough to mix, kind of sticky also.
    Stir in chocolate chips.
    Drop by rounded spoonful onto cookie sheets.
    Bake 10 minutes.
    Cool on cookie sheet a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Caramel Cereal

    After making Caramel Corn, my "caramel tooth" wouldn't subside.
    That's when I remembered a recipe my sister had given me for Caramel Cereal and since I happened to have all the simple ingredients on hand, I had to whip it up this morning.
    It is the first time my daughter has had it, and her reply, "more please!!" reassured me that is simple and yummy!
    My sister got this from a potluck she had somewhere and it is an easy crowd-pleaser!

    Caramel Cereal
    Prep: 5 Minutes Cook: 7 minutes Servings: a lot

    1 box (12.8 or 13.8 oz) toasted rice cereal (like Chex)
    2 cups brown sugar
    1 cup butter
    1/2 cup light corn syrup
    1/2 tsp salt

    In a large microwave-safe bowl melt brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt for 1 1/2 minutes.
    Add in the cereal
    Place back in the microwave for 1 minute.
    Repeat 3 more times until cereal is well coated with the caramel coating.
    Then spread out over wax paper to dry.
    Store in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days...if it lasts that long :)

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Caramel Corn

    Popcorn is one of the best snacks ever.
    It is my daughter's #1 request for her snack while watching cartoons.
    Well since yesterday was Super Bowl, Giants vs. Patriots, I knew that caramel corn would hit the spot for everyone to munch on while watching the big game.
    So I pulled out my favorite caramel corn recipe. I found it tucked away in one of my Grandma's cookbooks on a clipping from a magazine it looks like. But it is my favorite caramel corn recipe.
    It makes a lot, so it is great for parties and get togethers.
    I had leftover popcorn bags from my daughter's carnival themed birthday party that was perfect for serving the corn in.

    Caramel Corn
    Prep: 30 minutes Bake: 1 hour + popcorn popping time Servings: at least 15

    1 cup white popcorn kernals
    2 cups brown sugar
    1/2 cup light corn syrup
    1 tsp salt
    1 cup margarine
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp vanilla

    Preheat oven to 250°
    Pop popcorn kernals in large stock pot over the stove with enough oil to cover the kernals.
    Place plain popped popcorn in a large roasting pan or jelly roll pan.
    In a medium-sized saucepan bring together brown sugar, light corn syrup, salt and margarine to a boil.
    Continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
    Remove the caramel sauce from the heat, sift in the baking soda and add vanilla. 
    Mixture will foam; stir well.
    Pour over the popcorn.
    It won't coat every piece well at this point, but try mixing it thoroughly as best as you can.
    Place popcorn in preheated oven.
    Stir every 15 minutes for a total baking time of 1 hour.
    After 1 hour, dump the popcorn out onto waxed paper or aluminum foil lined counter tops to let dry.
    Then break into smaller pieces.
    Store in airtight container for up to 5 days.

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    Shower Curtain/Liner Cleaning

    Before you read any further I am apologizing for the disgusting graphic photos you are about to see.
    That's right. I took pictures of my mildew, soap scum covered shower curtain liner.
    I always buy a new one about once a year..or two. They all say that they are 100% mildew free yadda yadda yadda...
    My husband works in printing so he is always covered in ink when he gets home and showers right away. It just adds nasty colors to our shower curtain liner.
    I knew there had to be a way to clean the liner. A simple way. I've tried the shower sprays and it just never works for us. I did some research on what cuts through soap scum and found out that vinegar does the trick (and its cheap too!)
    After debating it for a few days I went ahead and gave it a go. I tossed the shower curtain and the plastic liner into my washing machine! I was so nervous that it would tear, or melt or destroy my washing machine. But surprise surprise!! It came out (almost) like new!!
    I had some hair dye that splattered onto the shower curtain and thought it would be good to toss it in with the liner to help use as something for the liner to rub against during the wash.

    I put the curtain and the liner in my washing machine on the warm cycle.
    I added some liquid laundry detergent and one cup of white vinegar to fight the soap scum.
    When the cycle was over, I put them back on the hooks and hung it back up in the tub to dry.


    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Crispy Butterscotch Cookies

    Oatmeal Scotchies were my Dad's favorite cookie. My Grandma would make them for him about once every other month or so and he would savor every bite. They quickly became one of my top cookie requests as well. When my Grandma passed away I was craving those cookies in a bad way. I searched and tore apart the kitchen and every recipe box and cook book looking for that recipe. My aunt told me to check the back of the butterscotch chip bag....der! I felt like a moron! Needless to say my Grandma's love made them taste better than each and every batch I have made following that same recipe. Isn't that strange how that is? ;)

    Well yesterday I was craving some Oatmeal Scotchies, but had all my daycare kiddos in toe and was out of oatmeal. So after some toying around with the recipe on the back of the bag, I came up with this, and it is a keeper in my book!

    Crispy Butterscotch Cookies
    Prep: 10 minutes Bake:10-12 minutes Servings: 24-36 cookies, depending on size
    Preheat oven to 350°

    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 1/4 cup flour
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
    1 cup butterscotch chips

    Cream butter, sugars, egg and vanilla.
    Combine flour, salt and baking soda.
    Add to the creamed mixture.
    Stir is crispy rice cereal and butterscotch chips.
    Drop by rounded spoonful (I use a medium size cookie dropper) onto parchment lined cookie sheets.
    Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
    Remove from oven, let rest on cookie sheets for a few minutes, then move to cooling rack.

    Frugal Febreeze

    We have two dogs in my house.
    Louie, or Louis when he is in trouble, our jack-a-bee. He's a beagle/jack russell mix. He's high-strung, stiff and mostly obnoxious. Louie has the iconic dog smell. Just like dog.
    Bruce Lee, or Brucie Baby as Sophia calls him, and Bruce Leroy when he's in trouble...we are weird with our dog names, huh? He's a long-haired basset hound. Bruce Lee has those stinky big basset hound ears that need cleaned out frequently. His long hair causes stinky paws and he's just a stinky boy. But in a comforting way. I love my Bruce Lee stank! :)

    Louie and Bruce Lee make our couches into their night time sleeping spots. So they stink of their stank on a daily basis. That means we go through the Febreeze like they will never be selling it again.
    It is gets expensive, so after searching the internet I found many people are making their own.
    Of course many people have a lot to say about it being harmful because the homemade is made with fabric softener, I haven't had any problems with it, and it is in such a small concentration I don't worry much about it. I also found that this keeps the smells at bay for longer than the store-bought Febreeze.
    I purchased a spray bottle from the Dollar Tree and printed off a cleaning label from and mod podged it onto the bottle and now I'm good to go.

    1 spray bottle
    1 tablespoon baking soda
    1 tablespoon fabric softener
    hot tap water to fill the bottle

    Put all contents in the bottle and give it a good shake to mix it, cap it off and you are ready to spray away!


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...