99 Excuses

You guys. It’s been SO long. And guess what? I have 99 reasons why I haven’t blogged in 6 months. They range from WE BOUGHT A NEW HOUSE to I stubbed my toe. All excuses are true, but unfortunately they are just that. Excuses. Speaking of the new house, do you want to see a picture of it? Ok good, ’cause here it is.

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New house

I like to think of it as “a diamond in the rough.” It’s little gem that may or may not need a bit of polishing. And some landscaping. And some gutters.  Here are some fun facts about our new house:

  • It has 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths
  • It’s 10 miles from my work and 4 miles from Chris’s
  • The neighborhood is about 40 years old and it’s quiet and quaint and perfect
  • And the best for last…. It has 4 peach trees, 1 blooming pear tree, 1 nectarine tree and 2 figs!!!

Here’s a shot of the inside

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Inside house

That’s Tipsey, mid-yawn. She probably just woke up from a nap.

This is a picture of our living area. It’s got a TON of natural sunlight, which makes for PERFECT food photography. In fact, we’ve got a lot of natural sunlight in pretty much the entire house. We’ve also done a lot of work to it since we made the purchase. And when I say we’ve done a ton of work, I mean Chris has done a ton of work. A few things include ripping out the wet bar and turning it into an entertainment center, installing a dishwasher and an above-stove microwave, building a motorized gate for the driveway, painting and then more painting. Because before we painted it looked like this.

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Swamp Water Green

I didn’t love this color because it reminded me too much of boogers. Oh, and we found the old paint cans in the garage. The name of the paint color was “Swamp Water Green.” I kid you not; I couldn’t make that up. Who paints their house Swamp Water Green? I did the majority of the painting with some help from a few kind folks (thanks mom and dad!) It took approximately 1.75 years. Or maybe it was 3 weeks. I can’t remember.

Currently, we Chris is knee deep in project “install a bathtub.” Because for some reason our house didn’t have one. Weird.

And just in case you were curious about some of my other excuses as to why I haven’t blogged in 6 months, here’s a sneak peek at just a few:

  • We bought a house, moved and unpacked. For months.
  • A squirrel ate ALL of my pears. I was devastated and it took several weeks for me to get over this event.
  • I cut all of my hair off. This was also very devastating
  • My laptop’s hard drive crashed
  • We had a housewarming party
  • I lost misplaced my memory card for my camera in the move (SHHH don’t tell Chris!)
  • I painted the house. And painted. And painted more. And then I was done… but I wasn’t really done.
  • Our good friends also bought a house… with a pool.
  • I went on a trip to see my best friend in Colorado
  • Chris raced motorcycles and I watched. He’s fast. It scares me.
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Chris, at his race in Hallet, OK

I promise to blog more. I’ve got some GREAT recipes coming up and I’m super excited to eat share them with you! Stay tuned!

xo

Mo

 

Simple Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls Simple Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls

Hello again.

Are you a breakfast lover? I don’t know if I’ve already mentioned this, but I LOVE breakfast. It’s my second favorite thing in the world. I could eat breakfast foods all day long. Breakfast for dinner? Best invention ever.

My first favorite thing in the world is sugar. So this breakfast combo is like gold in my house.

No, those little black things on the cinnamon rolls are not bugs. They are raisins, thank you very much. Because I like-ish raisins in my cinnamon rolls. And pecans too. And Sugar. SUGAR! SSSSUUGGAARRRR!!!!

Maybe I should lay off a tad on the sugar. They say it’s bad for you.

But who is “they” anyway? And what do they know? That’s my two cents.

Cinnamon rolls 21 Simple Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls 2

Here’s another picture. You can’t see any of the bugs raisins in this picture.

These babies are so moist (a friend told me I can’t use the word moist anymore because 90% percent of the population hates that word. I don’t know why) not dry. Ugh, that’s a terrible synonym for moist.

Sorry for the rant, back to the cinnamon rolls. These guys take a little time to come together, but it’s worth it. I took them to a party on New Years Eve and they were a hit. Then I made them again the next day, because I can, and ended up having waaaaaay too many cinnamon rolls. Wait! What? Too many cinnamon rolls? There’s no such thing!

Simple Cinnamon Rolls
 
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Author:
Serves: 12-15
Ingredients
  • 2 c milk
  • ½ c vegetable oil
  • ½ c sugar
  • 1 package dry active yeast
  • 4½ c all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • FOR THE FILLING
  • ½ c butter
  • 1 c cinnamon sugar mix
  • ½ c chopped pecans
  • ½ c raisins
  • FOR THE ICING
  • 1 lb powdered sugar (1/2 bag)
  • ¼ c milk
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs strong coffee
Instructions
  1. Heat milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a sauce pan on the stove. Don't bring to a boil. once warm, and the sugar is dissolved, pour in to a mixing bowl and allow to cool to luke warm. Once luke warm add the package of yeast. Let sit for a minute.
  2. Add 4 cups of the flour and mix until combined. Cover w/ a dish rag and place in a warm area (I put it in my microwave) for an hour.
  3. After an hour add the baking soda, baking powder, salt and ½ c flour. Combine.
  4. Divide the dough in to two balls and roll one of the balls out on the flowered surface (I rolled out two 10" x 17" rectangles)
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  6. Melt the butter and pour half of it (1/4 c) on to the dough. Spread around evenly with your fingertips. Evenly sprinkle on half of the cinnamon sugar mixture (1/2 c) ¼ c of the chopped pecans and ¼ c of the raisins
  7. Roll the dough lengthwise until you've got one long, skinny cinnamon roll log.
  8. Cut log in to 1½" thick slices and place in a buttered baking pan. Leave a little room between each roll so they can properly rise. (Repeat steps w/ second ball of dough)
  9. Bake for 15-17 minutes in the preheated oven until just starting to turn golden
  10. FOR THE ICING
  11. Combine powdered sugar, milk, butter and coffee in a bowl and combine. Pour over warm cinnamon rolls

 

Lindsay’s Handbag Chicken

Lindsays Handbag chicken Lindsays Handbag Chicken

Lindsay’s Handbag chicken

Happy New Year! I’m only a few days late. Are you resolutioning? Because if you are, this is the perfect recipe for you.

If you are not, this is still the perfect recipe for you. Because it’s delicious.

I can’t take credit for this recipe, obviously, it’s titled Lindsay’s handbag chicken. Lindsay is an old co-worker and friend of mine. We try to get together about once a month to gossip about work and the Bachelor. Last time she hosted dinner, she made this dish. It’s called handbag chicken because she really loves handbags  you literally cook the chicken in a little foil bag. Which looks like a handbag. Sort of.

The recipe is perfect for a fast and healthy week night dinner, or to serve to guests. You can jazz it up with some shaved Parmesan cheese and a side of whole wheat pasta (which is how Lindsay served it) or you can leave off the carbs and enjoy a nice, healthy, protein rich dinner. I prefer the extra cheese and carbs, however.

And because I’m such a nice, generous person, I’ve decided to include step-by-step photos.

Chicken step 1 Lindsays Handbag Chicken

Chicken step 1

This is step one. Okay, it’s actually like step 3, but I didn’t feel like taking pictures of chopping vegetables. So, once you’ve chopped your vegetables and preheated you oven to 375 degrees, you lay down a piece on foil on a cookie sheet and drizzle some olive oil on top.

Chicken step 2 Lindsays Handbag Chicken

Chicken step 2

Step two- Lay the chicken down on top of the olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. Or whatever seasoning you like. Garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper are great ideas! Pretty easy, huh?

 

Chicken step 3 Lindsays Handbag Chicken

Chicken step 3

Now on to step three. Slather that baby in pesto. You can use store bought, or if you’re feeling really motivated, you can make your own. I have a recipe for that too.

Chicken step 41 Lindsays Handbag Chicken

Chicken step 4

Step four-  pile on the veggies. You can literally use any vegetables you want. Lindsay served hers with zucchini and tomatoes. I went ahead and added yellow squash. You could do bell peppers, onions, jalapenos… Whatever your healthy heart desires.

Chicken step 5 Lindsays Handbag Chicken

Chicken step 5

Ok so step 5 is a little out of order. Repeat steps 1-4 three more times then you’ve got this picture. Just fold everything up in the foil. This is the handbag. Lindsay’s handbags were way cuter.

Then step 6 is to place the handbags in a 375 degree oven and wait 20 minutes. In the meantime, feel free to let out the barking dogs, paint your nails, or guzzle down a glass of wine. Or all 3.

I didn’t take a picture of this step, because this step is booooring.

And here’s the final product!

chicken step 6 Lindsays Handbag Chicken

Chicken final

Alright, I know this step looks a lot like step 4. But it’s not, I promise you. This is a picture of fully cooked pesto chicken and perfectly steamed veggies.

Was that easy or what? This also packages really well to take for lunches during the week. If you take your lunch, that is.

Lindsay's Handbag Chicken
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ½ cup pesto (store bought or homemade)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Lay out 4 pieces of foil, drizzle 1 tbs of olive oil on each piece. The foil should be roughly 14" long
  3. Place one chicken breast on each piece of oil and season with salt and pepper (or whatever seasoning you'd like to use)
  4. Top each chicken breast with 2 tbs of pesto then pile on the sliced vegetables
  5. Wrap up into a "handbag" and cook in the oven 20-25 minutes (if your chicken breasts are bigger, they'll need to cook longer)

 

Pork and Butternut Squash Stew

Pork and Butternut Sq Stew Pork and Butternut Squash Stew

Pork and Butternut Squash Stew

Hi. It’s been a while, I know. Don’t be mad at me, please? I have a really good excuse. Are you ready? I lost my lap top charger. Ok, you’re right. That’s actually a really pathetic excuse. And it’s only partially true. The real reason I haven’t blogged in what seems like 9,587, 832 years is because I got caught up dealing with life.

Since we last spoke I’ve:

  • Survived an ice storm
  • Met the Pioneer Woman
  • Celebrated Thanksgiving
  • Watched a lot of Dallas Cowboy football
  • Started house hunting
  • Celebrated Christmas
  • Bought a new car
  • Taught my dog how to “shake”
  • Mastered several recipes

So, that’s great new for you guys! I’ve got some really spectacular dishes coming your way.

Now, let’s talk about this stew. It’s the epitome of cold weather food. Oh my gosh, it’s good. On a cold, lazy, gloomy day it’s absolute perfection. My stew turned out rather thick, so I served it over egg noodles and was very pleased. You could serve with crusty bread as well.

How do you feel about recipes with a lengthy ingredient list? Keep an open mind when you take a glance at this ingredient list. Every single ingredient is important, especially the spices. The spices are what make this stew perfection.

Pork and Butternut Squash Stew
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut in to 1" chunks
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1½ tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbs applesauce (optional, if you don't have it, don't worry about it)
  • 9 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced in to 1" cubes
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • ½ c water
  • Egg noodles or crusty bread for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Heat a large dutch oven on medium high heat with 1 tbs olive oil. Brown ½ of the pork. Once brown, remove and heat 2nd tbs of olive oil and repeat. Set pork aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add 3rd tbs of olive oil. Sautee onions, 3-4 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, tomato paste and spices (through red pepper flakes.) Cook for about a minute, then add vinegar, applesauce, tomatoes (with juice), butternut squash cubes, chicken broth, water and pork and bring to a boil.
  4. Place lid on dutch oven and transfer to oven. Cook 2 hours, or until pork is tender. Serve with egg noodles and bask in its glory. Yum!
Notes
My pork shoulder had a LOT of fat on it, WAY more than I was comfortable cooking with. I shaved a ton of fat off before I diced it up. If you don't have time, just spoon the fat off the top once the stew is done.

 

Jalapeno and Cheddar Corn Muffins

Corn Muffins  Jalapeno and Cheddar Corn Muffins

Corn Muffins

Guess what? It’s almost Thanksgiving. Isn’t that exciting news? What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? I always enjoy watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. When I was a girl my mom would put it on for me, I’m sure to keep me out of her hair while she ran around like a wild goose, preparing for a big meal. I also (mostly) enjoy watching football. I say mostly because the Cowboys always play on Thanksgiving and I only enjoy watching when they win. But of course, as a foodie, my favorite part of Thanksgiving is that food. Duh. I can’t say that I’ve got a favorite Thanksgiving dish, I enjoy all of it. Well. That’s a lie. I guess my favorite part is that pie. Pecan. Apple. Pumpkin. I love pie.

What do these corn muffins have to do with Thanksgiving? Well, nothing really. Except I’m sure they’d make a great addition to your Thanksgiving feast. Or to your chili. Or soup. Or as a snack. Well, you get the picture.

Corn Muffins 2 Jalapeno and Cheddar Corn Muffins

Corn Muffins 2

Look at those beautiful muffins. They’re so golden brown and warm and cheesy. I love cheese. Actually, I love a lot of things. But cheese is one of my favorites.

Is your family the kind of family that eats cornbread stuffing? Because if they are, I’d bet these would make a fabulous corn bread stuffing. Hint Hint. Nudge nudge.

There muffins are perfect, but if you’ve got little ones who don’t take to spice it would be okay to leave the jalapeno peppers out. I guess. <Cue pouty music>

Jalapeno and Cheddar Corn Muffins
 
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Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ c cheddar cheese
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 4 tbs butter (softened)
  • 1 can creamed corn
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degree
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until mix is well combined
  3. Pour mix into a well greased 12-muffin muffin tin and bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Notes
If you don't have buttermilk, just use regular milk and add 1 tbs of lemon juice to it.

 

 

Lamb Chops with Balsamic Glaze

Lamb  Lamb Chops with Balsamic Glaze

Lamb Chops

Let’s talk about lamb. Everyone has an opinion about it. I’ve heard things from “I don’t like the texture” to “It’s too expensive and hard to find” to “I can’t eat lamb because I had a lamb in high school and his name was Lambkins” to “I’ve never had it.” Well, if you don’t like lamb, then go ahead and skip over this post. If you’ve never had it, don’t go anywhere. Yes, it’s true, lamb can be very easy to botch. And it’s also true that it’s expensive and can be hard to fine. But if you find a deal on it, and follow this recipe exactly, you won’t have any problems and I think will be pleasantly surprised at how delicious it is.

This is what I call a celebration dish. I make it for birthdays or promotions or some life event that qualifies for celebrations. But not the “I passed my state inspection” kind of celebration. (I’ve already mentioned my family and I look for any reason to celebrate, right?) More of the “it’s our five year anniversary” kind of celebration. Mostly because this dish can get pricey, and to invite the whole family over for it might would definitely break the bank.

Another thing you may not have known about lamb. The rarer, the better. Traditionally it should be served medium rare. Medium is probably the most it should ever cook to. I can’t tell you why, so don’t argue with me. That’s just what all the cooking shows say, okay?

Lamb 2 Lamb Chops with Balsamic Glaze

Lamb 2

See that? I hate to brag, but that’s lamb perfection. Find the original recipe here.

 

Lamb Chops with Balsamic Glaze
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 lamb chops
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp basil (fresh or dry)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 minced shallots
  • ⅓ c balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ c chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Mix together rosemary, thyme, basil, salt, pepper and rub onto lamb chops. Set aside 30 minutes
  2. Heat olive oil in a stainless steel skillet to medium high heat. Add lamb and cook 3 minutes per side
  3. Once cooked, remove from heat and add shallots. Cook 2 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and reduce a little (2 more minutes) and chicken broth and simmer until thick, 20 minutes
  4. Pour over lamb and serve on a bed of greens with a side of couscous