Monday, March 31, 2014

Texas Sheet Cake

In our family Texas Sheet Cake is a staple. It is made more than boxed brownies and is consumed faster than any cookie. My absolute favorite is a slice of Texas Sheet Cake with a scoop of homemade peppermint ice cream! (Oh great my mouth is watering…) I know I could go on and on telling different stories about this dessert but all you need to know is that it is made on the stove top, is very easy, and is amazing. Best thing you can bring to any sort of "pot luck" event.  Just trust me! (And the picture below explains why I can only take pictures while my kids are at school or sleeping. Remington decided to just come right up and take a bite out of one of the brownies as I was taking pictures! Good thing he is cute!)

Texas Sheet Cake
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 Tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup margarine (butter will work fine too)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour, shifted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a saucepan, mix water, oil, margarine, and cocoa. Bring to a boil. Cocoa should dissolve. Remove from heat. Add sugar, eggs, and flour. Beat well. Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk. Then pour the mixture and the vanilla into the batter. Mix very well. (If there is lumps from the flour put in the blender for a few minutes) Grab a 10x17 cookie sheet and grease well and then pour batter evenly in. Bake for 20 minutes.  (you can add 1/3 cup chopped nuts if you want also) Rinse out the saucepan and then return it to the stove and make the frosting.

1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Put all ingredients (except the vanilla) in the saucepan. Stir well over medium heat until everything dissolves. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir well and then frost while warm. 

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Homemade Soft Artisan Beer Pretzels

I have always been a huge Krusteaz fan! We use their products almost weekly. Especially their waffle and pancake mixes. So when I received a package from them I was so excited to be working with a company that I already knew was a hit in our house! As I looked through the package I noticed a box of "beer bread mix" that was one product of theirs that I had yet to try! I wanted to make something new but yummy! And then I realized that soft pretzels would be just the pair for this bread mix and boy was it perfect! I will admit that this was my first time buying beer. I almost had a heart attack buying it because I was so nervous! Haha I drove to a gas station a couple miles from my house just to avoid the fact that I may run into someone that I know and that they would wonder why I was buying a can of beer at 9 A.M. with my baby and 3 year old in hand. (I am sure my husband is going to love this story haha) I then had to text my mom to make sure that all the beer would be cooked out and then I text her again just to double check! And well among all the chaos these "Homemade Soft Artisan Beer Pretzels" were born! I ate one for breakfast, one for lunch, and then my family enjoyed them for dinner!

Homemade Soft Artisan Beer Pretzels
yields:10-12 pretzels

1 1/4 cup warm water
5 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (heaping) Tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup beer
1 (19 oz) krusteaz beer bread mix
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups hot water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, beaten
course sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Then in a mixer, place warm water, sugar, kosher salt and mix together. Then add yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes. Then add in butter, beer, krusteaz beer bread mix, flour, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix until well combined about 8 minutes! The dough should be sticky but pull away from the sides. If dough is too sticky slowly add more flour while you continue to mix. Grab a large bowl and greased it. Place the dough in the bowl and cover. Let rise for 1 hour. Once the hour is up lightly grease counter space. Separate dough into 10-12 balls. Then take one and roll it into a long snake about 15 inches. Then make a "U" shape and then make a pretzel. Then in a medium sized bowl place hot water and baking soda. Grab 2 cookie sheets and grease them and then set aside. Dip each pretzel in the water/baking soda mixture and let sit in there for 5-10 seconds. Then place on cookie sheet. Continue those steps until all pretzels are done. Let sit for 10 minutes. In another small bowl beat the egg. Once the 10 minutes are up lightly brush pretzels with the egg wash. (This will make them shiny when they are cooked!) And sprinkle with course sea salt! Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown! Serve with honey mustard dipping sauce or nacho cheese sauce!

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayo
2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Whisk all ingredients together!

Nacho Cheese Sauce
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

In a saucepan over medium heat melt butter. Then whisk in flour. Pour in milk and continue to whisk. It will thicken up. Add in salt and then cheddar cheese and mix until all the cheese is melted. Continue to whisk until sauce thickens. Pour in a dish and serve!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Krusteaz, however all thoughts,opinions and the recipe are mine*

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Buffalo Chicken BLT Pitas

I feel like a lot of my inspiration for my family, life, and blog posts come as I lay in bed at night. And that was exactly what happened with this fun and yummy meal plus a few others that will be featured in the following weeks! It had been one of those long days! I had deep cleaned my house and then when my kids were home from school we had some friends over to play for a few hours. My clean house was not so clean anymore, my dinner didn't turn out exactly how I had hoped, and the list goes on and on. I could not wait to get into my bed! I finally had fallen asleep when my oldest came in crying from a bad dream. A hour later my middle son cried because he wanted me to lay with him and scratch his back. (Yes I know he is a DIVO!) And well it was 1 A.M. by now and I was now unfortunately wide awake! As I lay in my bed for 2 hours the inspiration then started. I kept thinking of different ways that I could use these yummy pitas and wraps that Toufayan had sent me! I then dreamed up this little recipe. I desperately wanted to get up right then and make them! But I knew that if my husband walked in on me at 2 A.M. making pitas he would think that I had definitely gone crazy! So they had to wait. I only made it a few more hours and by 9 A.M. I had these yummy pitas ready to taste test! And they were a winner and I'm sure to helped using Toufayan pitas..they are out of this world good!

Buffalo Chicken BLT Pitas

Crockpot buffalo chicken
Ranch or Bleu Cheese Dressing
Tomato, sliced
Avocado, sliced
Cheese (shredded or sliced), provolone is my favorite
Bacon, fried
Toufayan Pitas, white or wheat

Make the buffalo chicken using the crockpot recipe listed above. Take toufayan pita bread and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Spread ranch or bleu cheese dressing on the inside of the pita. Place a handful of the chicken then some cheese. Top with tomato, lettuce, avocado and bacon! Fold up and ENJOY!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Toufayan however recipe, thoughts, and opinions are my own

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

St Patricks Day Meal

It feels like all over Pinterest during this time of year is fun things to eat, craft, or decorate for St. 
Patricks Day. I always pin a million things and plan to do them with my kids but rarely does it ever happen. (Hopefully I'm not the only one) I was out of town with my kids while my husband worked the days leading up to this holiday. So when I returned home I was exhausted, had a pile of laundry to do, and was trying to pick my battles. So the unpacking and laundry was set aside to make this fun and magical meal for my family. I also picked up 6 boxes of Krispy Kreme Donuts to doorbell ditch our neighbors with a cute St. Patricks Day message on them. Then my friend had a piƱata at the park for the kids to hit! It was such a fun memorable holiday! 

Here is the menu:
Fruit Rainbow with Fruit Dip
Green Scrambled Eggs
Green Bacon
Rainbow Jello
Clover Sugar Cookies
Rainbow Cupcakes

Now onto the recipes!

Rainbow Fruit with 2-ingredient Dip
Purple Grapes

4 ounces whipped topping, thawed
6 ounces Strawberry Yogurt

Mix ingredients together and store in the fridge. Add to the plate right before serving.

Rainbow Jello
Small Boxes of:
Lime Jello
Strawberry Jello
Orange Jello
Lemon Jello
8 ounces whipped topping, thawed
Whipped Cream  

Prepare Lime Jello as directed on the back of the box under the "quick chill" method. Pour 2/3 of the Jello in the bottle of a sprayed 9x13 glass baking dish.  Let sit for 30 minutes. Mix the remaining 1/3 of jello with a large dollop of whipped topping. After the 20 minutes is up pour the lime whipped topping mixture on top and let sit for another 30 minutes. Then repeat the process for each flavor of jello. Once it is all done top with home-ade whipped cream or more cool whip. 
(These are the flavors I used but you can use whatever flavors you want. You also can add more colors too!)

Swedish Waffles
3/4 cup whole milk, warmed
2 Tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup butter, softened
3 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
4 cups bread flour
1 (10 ounces) package Lars Swedish Pearl Sugar

Add the water and 2 Tablespoons sugar to the warm milk and stir. Add the yeast and let sit for 10 minutes. It should get foamy. In a large bowl, kitchen aid, or bosch beat together the eggs, butter, honey, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla. (I added green food coloring at this time) Then add 2 cups of flour and mix for a few minutes. Scrap sides and add the remaining 2 cups of flour slowly. Dough should be a little sticky. Don't just dump in the 2 cups slowly add it so that your dough does not become dry. Cover and let rise for at least 4 hours. The longer the better! (This can be made overnight! And can rise for up to 24 hours!) Then punch down dough and knead in the swedish sugar pearls. Then separate into 8-10 equal parts. (I like to half mine and then half those and then half those and so on instead of just trying to eye it into equal parts) Heat up waffle maker and then spray and place a ball of the dough on it and spread it a little. Cook until golden brown! Butter and then place whatever toppings you like! We like to have a variety because each of us eat them differently! 

Bananas, sliced
Strawberries, slices
Cookie Butter from Trader Joes
Whipped Cream

Green Bacon:
After bacon in cooked lightly brush on green food coloring.

Green Eggs:
Crack a few eggs into a bowl and beat. Add food coloring and beat some more. Cook eggs on a greased skillet.

Hope you all had a great St. Patricks Day and enjoyed these fun recipes! 

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Kid Approved Baked Spaghetti

Congrats to *Jillian* 
who won the Kernel Seasons Popcorn Party Kit!

Whenever someone calls, text, or emails me to ask me if I have a recipe for a certain thing and I don't it becomes my mission to try out and create a recipe for what they are looking for. And that is exactly what happened with "Baked Spaghetti." One of my closest friends asked me if I had a good baked spaghetti recipe the other day and I had to tell her no but just wait and ill figure out something. With a house full of young kids spaghetti for some reason is a dish that they all inhale! I tell my husband that its hard sometimes when I spend hours in the kitchen trying to make the perfect meal with the perfect sides and dessert and then my kids won't touch it. And I'm not talking about the "not edible meals" that us food bloggers have all made haha. I am talking about the meals that turn out great that I absolutely love but my kids won't touch! And then on the crazy busy days I whip up some noodles with Prego and my kids clear their plates! So I figured that baked spaghetti would be right up both of our alleys! And it totally was! So Jenny and all you other moms out there trying to find a spaghetti dish that you and your kids will both enjoy…here it is plus pics of 2 of my 3 kids enjoying it as well! 

Kid Approved Baked Spaghetti
adapted from: Bobby Eden

1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup parsley, dried or fresh finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 bay leaf
1 cup ground beef, cooked
1/2 (16 oz) package of angel hair pasta
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
4 oz cream cheese, cubed and softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a saucepan combined tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water, bouillon, worcestershire, vinegar, garlic, parsley, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, sugar, bay leaf. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minted. Stirring occasionally. Add ground beef and cook for an additional 5 minutes. At the same time bring a pot of water to boil with a pinch of salt and cook the angel hair pasta according to directions on back of package. Once noodles are done drain and return to pot. Add 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and 1/2 of the cubed cream cheese. Then remove bay leaf and pour the sauce over the pasta and stir. In a 8x8 lightly greased baking dish pour pasta. Evenly sprinkle the remainder of the cheeses. (Try to space the cream cheese out as evenly as possible) Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Cracker Jack Caramel Corn + Kernel Seasons GIVEAWAY!

My baby girl turned 1 and for her big birthday bash we had a fun popcorn bar featuring Kernel Seasons seasonings and movie theatre butter! We had regular popcorn, kettle corn, and caramel corn. The kids had the party loved it! Im pretty sure 99% of them had a little too much fun with the seasons! Either mixing flavors that should never be mixed or dumping almost the entire container of seasonings on their small serving of popcorn! I think a popcorn bar is such a fun and easy thing to offer at a party! Bonus is that you can make the popcorn ahead of time and then buy the seasonings out and set it all out and people can help themselves! 

My oldest son Crew (middle) and his friends loved the popcorn bar! Look how cute those faces are! Definitely fun for all ages! And luckily Kernel Seasons has offered a popcorn party kit to one of our readers! This includes:1 pound of premium popping corn kernels,white cheddar, nacho cheddar, and kettle corn seasonings, and a butter spritzer!

Cracker Jack Caramel Corn
16 cups popcorn, popped
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light Karo syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon caramel seasoning
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup spanish peanuts (optional)

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat up brown sugar, butter, karo, and salt. Cook until it comes to a soft ball boil stage. Then remove from heat add baking soda (it should begin to foam). Pour popcorn and peanuts into a large bowl and pour ingredients from saucepan over and stir until all popcorn is covered and then serve! 

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Mini Toasted Coconut Pistachio Cream Pie

With St. Patricks Day right around the corner its seems like all over Pinterest has been festive "green" recipes! And for some reason I have spent way too much time thinking and coming up with my own St. Patricks Day fun recipes! I also realized that food items dyed green aren't always that appetizing haha!

When Diamond Nuts contacted me and asked if they could send me some of their NEW! Shelled Pistachios I knew I could have some fun with them. And since pistachios are my husbands favorite he didn't mind either. The only problem was telling him that he couldn't sit and eat the whole bag and that I had some recipes I wanted to try with them. The best thing about them was that they were all ready for baking! I did not realize that these are the the first raw, unsalted and pre-shelled nuts on the market! It made it so easy to bake with! You will have to try these new nuts out and they worked perfectly for this fun and yummy dessert! 

I hope you have as much fun making these as I did! And since we are dealing with green food it was only necessary to use my green apple kitchen aid to mix these babies up!  

Mini Toasted Coconut Pistachio Cream Pie
1 (6-count) pack of mini graham pie crusts
3/4 cup coconut
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Cool Whip whipped topping
1 cup milk, cold
1 (3.4 oz) instant pistachio pudding
2 Tablespoon Diamond NEW! shelled pistachios, pounded into smaller pieces

toasted coconut
pistachios, crushed
whipped cream mixture

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a frying pan place coconut and toast on low-medium heat. Stirring continually to make sure coconut does not burn. (here is a great tutorial on toasting coconut) Set aside a little for garnish and then in a small bowl place toasted coconut and melted butter. In the bottom of the mini crusts place a little of the toasted coconut mixture. Place on a cookie sheet and baked for 10 minutes. Watch them closely to make sure the coconut does not burn. Remove from oven and set aside. In a bowl mix together powdered sugar, cream cheese, and cool whip. Set a few Tablespoons aside for garnish and then evenly distribute the rest of the mixture into the 6 pies on top of the coconut to create the cream layer. In a separate bowl mix together the milk, pudding and pistachios. Let sit for a few minutes and then evenly distribute pudding mixture between the 6 pies. Place pies in the fridge for 2 hours. Right before you serve add a dollop of the whipped mixture and then sprinkle with toasted coconut and crushed pieces of pistachios.

{If you are not much of a coconut person you can leave out the coconut on the crust and on top! I personally loved the addition to the 4 layer mini pies but made some without coconut for my kids and they still tasted great}

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Buttermilk Pancakes with Buttermilk Syrup

Happy National Pancake Day! My 3 year old is all about having pancakes for breakfast and asks almost every single day for me to make them! He manages to sweet talk me into making his cute little self them at least once a week. I have tried adding chocolate chips or blueberries in the batter and that is not up his alley! He likes just regular pancakes with syrup only. The rest of us usually pile ours high with whatever fruit we have on hand. Caramelizing a little peaches on top is a favorite of mine during peach season with a dollop of whipped cream. Here is our families go-to pancakes and syrup recipe!

Buttermilk Pancakes
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 egg

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour, sifted

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Preheat griddle to medium-high heat. Pour even amounts onto hot griddle and cook until sides begin to look dry. Flip over and lightly brown on other side. Butter pancakes and serve with buttermilk syrup!

Buttermilk Syrup
1 cube butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

In a saucepan over medium heat melt the butter, sugar, and buttermilk until it comes to a boil. Then remove from heat and add the vanilla and baking soda. Stir together and it should begin to foam up. Serve hot. This can also be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Lemon Bars

There are certain desserts that I forget about and then when someone brings them up I cannot get them out of my mind until I make {or eat} them. That is exactly what happened with these lemon bars. One of my very best friends is also my neighbor and the other day she mentioned that she was going to make lemon bars. Well long story short she ended up making something else and I have not been able to stop thinking about these lemon bars. And fortunately the person who lives directly behind me has a lemon tree that will not stop growing and is hanging half way over the fence. So I decided that it was time to make these so I could stop thinking about them. I made them and then ate them and then ate more while my kids were napping and had some for dessert that night too. And then they were gone…thank goodness! I could not stop with these little things! 

Lemon Bars

2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter

4 eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (use 1/2 cup if you use bottled lemon juice)
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Then combine crust ingredients in a bowl. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and then press crust mixture in the bottom. Bake for 20 minutes. Crust should become like brown in the middle and the edges a little darker brown. While the crust in baking combined all filling ingredients in the same bowl. Once the crust is done pour filling over warm crust and then place back in the oven and bake for an additional 18 minutes. Take out of oven and garnish with powdered sugar and lemon zest. Let cool before cutting into them or else they will become a gooey 

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