Welcome to my little space in the virtual world that consists of all things that make me happy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Beeing a Busy Bee

It has been awhile! Upon starting my first semestor of Graduate School and getting busier at work, I am sad to say that I have not got to bake too much here recently. FYI to all those who are considering going to Grad School at some point in your life...don't wait too long, its lots of work. Aside from that, I have also sold my beloved Ford Truck and got a 2010 Toyota RAV4 with wonderful gas milage. I love it! However I do miss my badass Clint Eastwood Ford. Despite my busy self, people still gotta eat. I made this yummy supper last night...a combination of my two favorite types of food. Italian and Mexican.

Taco Stuffed Shells
1 lb hamburger meat (I used deer meat)
1/2 package taco seasoning
4 ounces cream cheese
1 8 ounce jar taco sauce
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
12 large pasta shells, boiled
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
Shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
Chives, if you like

Brown hamburger in frying pan, adding taco seasoning. Then add cream cheese and simmer until completely melted. Allow to cool while boiling pasta shells, drain and toss in butter.
Mix salsa and sour cream and cover bottom of greased 8x8 inch Pyrex dish. Once cooled, stuff meat mixture into shells and arrange on top of salsa and sour cream. Cover shells with taco sauce. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes on 350 degrees. Remove from open, uncover and top with crushed tortilla chips and cheese. Bake uncovered an additional 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with chives if you like. I made this dish with a side of spanish rice. Enjoy :)


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oreo Marshmellow Fluff Cupcakes

This past weekend I went to Boone to visit my best friend Miranda who is about to graduate from ASU. I've never been to Boone when there wasn't snow on the ground so I was super excited about this weekend trip. My friend Will and I got up there late Friday night, and what a fun weekend it was! Miranda also just reached 5 months since she quit smoking....so I thought I'd make her some treats in celebration.
Oreo Marshmellow Fluff Cupcakes
1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 large box vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup marshmellow fluff (for cake batter)
marshmellow fluff for layering
4 oz cream cheese
1 package oreos
cream cheese icing (store bought or homemade)
Combine cake mix, oil, milk, eggs, pudding mix, marshmellow fluff, and cream cheese with electric mixer. Fold 5-6 crushed oreos into batter. Fill each cupcake liner about 1/4 full of batter, top with 1 oreo cookie, top with a small spoonful on marshmellow fluff, and top with more batter to cover middle ingredients. Fill each liner about 3/4 full. Bake on 350 degrees about 25-28 minutes. Top with cream cheese icing when cooled and sprinkle crushed oreos on top.

The recipe makes about 28 cupcakes, however I only had enough oreos to put inside 26....guess that's what I get for snacking while i bake. I took about a dozen of these cupcakes to work also and my coworkers approved :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quick and Easy Braided Calzone

I made this last night for supper and it was so easy and I think it turned out pretty too! The whole thing only took about 20 minutes, including baking time. I started with a Pillsbury canned pizza crust.

1 canned pizza crust
Canned chicken
Buffalo sauce
Ranch dressing
4 slices bacon
Shredded cheddar cheese
Fresh tomatoes

First I fried some bacon until fairly crispy. Then while it cooled a bit I got the pizza crust ready, placing it on a greased cookie sheet and cutting about 2-3 inch slits along both sides. Then I spread a little ranch dressing on the dough.

As the bacon cooled, I began piling on the ingredients. First adding the chicken tossed in buffalo sauce, then the bacon, cheese, and tomatoes. I added some salt and pepper on top. Note you can add any ingredients you want, it's like making a pizza. I just happened to have most of these ingredients on hand. To create a braided effect, start from one end and fold each piece of dough over each other. When you get to the ends, fold both sides over and tuck in tightly so the ingredients won't run out while its baking.

As directed on the canned pizza dough, bake at 425 degrees for 9-13 minutes. Serve with Ranch dressing for dipping. This recipe allows for lots of creaitivty with pretty much any ingredients you choose. Also makes for a quick and pretty supper!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summertime Peaches

This week I spent my Sunday afternoon knee-deep in peaches. I went to the NC Farmer's Market and got a mess from Johnson's peach stand from the Sandhills. I made my first batch of peach preserves and canned peaches for use through the off season months coming up. I also made a yummy peach cobbler and threw a couple in the blender with some SkinnyGirl margarita mix....so good! While I was at the market I had to get a sunflower :)

Peach Preserves
About 4 lbs peaches, peeled pitted and sliced
1 box Sure-Jell
1/4 cup lemon juice
3-5 cups sugar, to taste

I made this just like I made my Plum Jelly previously. To make the peaches easier to peel I boiled them for a few minutes then put them in ice cold water...the skins came right off!  The peach slices were preserved in lemon juice and heated just below boiling for about 5 minutes in a syrup consisting of five parts water to one part sugar.

Peach Cobbler
4-5 peaches, peeled pitted and sliced
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup milk

Melt the butter in a Pyrex dish in the oven while mixing the flour, sugar and milk. Add mixutre to melted butter in dish and stir. Add peaches. I sprinkled some Quaker Oats and cinnimon and brown sugar on top for a little extra, but it is definately not required. Bake on 375 about an hour. Top with ice-cream or Cool Whip.....yum! Unfortunately I got too excited and dug in before remembering to take a picture :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

Here are some good uses for old mason jars and empty foamy soap pumps. I made a black one for my kitchen and a white one for my bathroom. Add a little ribbon and it will match any room!

My mom had empty black and white Bath & Body Works foam soap containers so I used the pumps from those. Then, I took an empty milk jug and cut a circle from the side. To size it right, I traced a mason lid onto the side of the jug before cutting. Then I cute another circle out from the middle to fit the soap pump. For the black one, I spray painted the plastic piece from the milk jug as well as the metal jar ring. For the soap, I used some cheap refill hand soap and mixed about 4 parts water to 1 part soap. The trick to foamy hand soap is that its basically just watered down regular soap with a fancy pump (and cheaper for companies to produce). So i mixed the soap and water in the jar and waited a bit until the foam went down. Cute huh?