Sunday, May 30, 2010

Frugal Shopping: My trip to Target and Walmart

I love finding awesome deals and saving money.  The past two days we were in town (because we are in the country in the middle of nowhere now) and I got some awesome deals.  I had 12 $4 off coupons for Nivea body wash.  They were $3.99 at Target and Walmart.  I now have 12 bottles of Nivea body wash for FREE!  I also had two $3 off coupons for Nivea men's body wash.  They were $3.99 at Target.  I picked up two bottles for $.99 each. 

I was also able to stock up on razors.  I had four $3 coupons for Bic Solei razors.  Walmart had them for $3.99 so I was able to pick up four packs of razors for less than four dollars.

I found an awesome deal on Welch's grape juice.  They were marked down to $2.12.  I found some bottles that had $1 coupon and I had two.  I got 6 bottles at $1.12 each.  Sweet!!!

I am so excited that I was able to stock up on these items.  Anybody need some body wash?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Recipe: Cheesy Beef Enchilada Casserole

As you know, I love me some Mexican, or really Tex-Mex.  I also love a good casserole.  I have tried a couple of different recipes and they have all been good but I thought they could be better.  I have adapted this recipe from a couple and come up with what I think is some good eats.  My girls even cleaned their plates.  I think this one is a keeper.

Cheesy Beef Enchilada Casserole

1 lb ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning
4 oz cream cheese
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup Monterrey jack, shredded
6 flour tortillas, burrito size
2 cups cooked rice
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 bag shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Brown ground beef.  Drain.  Add meat back to the pan, add tomato sauce, taco seasoning and cream cheese.  Cook on medium low heat until mixture is blended and cream cheese is melted.  Warm tortillas in microwave for 20 seconds.  Add cooked rice to casserole dish.  Spoon meat mixture down the center of each tortilla.  Add Monterrey jack cheese on top of meat mixture.  Wrap tortillas and place on top of rice.  Pour diced tomatoes and juice over the top of the enchiladas.  Pour enchilada sauce over the top of the tomatoes and enchiladas making sure that the sauce and juice of the tomatoes reaches down to the rice.  Add shredded cheese over the top making sure that the tortillas are completely covered.  Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Serve with a salad and some black beans and you have one awesome meal.

NOTE:  You can use smaller tortillas and make more enchiladas.


Linked to:
* Everyday Sisters: Sharing Sundays

Recipe: Quick S'mores

The other day when I was in Sam's, I was thumbing through the cookbooks and I came across this recipe.  I don't remember which cookbook, but it is a fabulous recipe!  My girls love s'mores....and I mean they LOVE s'mores.  These are so quick and easy and oh so delicious!

Quick S'mores

Hershey's Kisses
large marshmallows
buttery crackers (I used Ritz)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lay the crackers out on the baking sheet.  Place one unwrapped kiss on each cracker.  Cut marshmallow in half.  Place cut side of marshmallow on top of kiss.  Push down on the marshmallow until the top of the kiss pokes through.  Bake about 8 minutes or until the marshmallow is melted and slightly golden.  Cool slightly and enjoy the goodness!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Views from My Mother's Front Porch

Now that we are living in the country we have given up our city views for country views.  It is so nice and relaxing.  It has been adjustment not being able to run up to Target or the grocery store right quick.  My closest Target is now about an hour away.  Although it is nice that my girls can play outside and I don't have to worry as much as I did when we lived in suburbia!

Here are some pictures of the awesome views from my mom's front porch.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Recipe: Texas Gold Cake

If you love Paula Deen's Butter Gooey Cake, you will love this recipe too!  I used walnuts, but pecans also work.  Even better, it uses a cake mix so it is super easy and fast.

Texas Gold Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg

1 8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 box powdered sugar
1 cups chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 pan.  In a mixer, add base ingredients until well mixed.  Dough will be stiff.  Pour into pan and press into the bottom.  In a mixer, add filling ingredients except for nuts.  Mix until smooth.  Pour into pan and spread covering base.  Add chopped nuts.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

This recipe is linked up to:

Menu Plan: May 23 - May 29, 2010

Now that the days are getting longer and warmer, we will be eating more salads.  Oh, how I love spring and summer....

Sunday, May 23
Fried Chicken
Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Collard Greens
Field Peas

Monday, May 24
Spinach Artichoke Calzone

Tuesday, May 25
Mesa Chicken Salad

Wednesday, May 26
Cream Cheese Enchilada Casserole

Thursday, May 27
Tortellini Salad

Friday, May 28
Buffalo Chicken Salad

Saturday, May 29
Chicken Manicotti with White and Red Sauce

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Home Decorating: Decorating the Girls Bedroom

Now that we are living with my mom for the time being, the girls are all sleeping in one bedroom.  My mother was gracious and kind and painted the girls room.  She made the room so cute with painted trees, bunnies, mice and fairies (pictures coming soon).  They are sleeping in a double bed until their bunk bed comes.  Our bunk bed has a full bottom and twin top.  I would love for the bed to be more awesome so I have been doing some research and have come across some cute ones.

I love this triple bunk bed.  Can you believe it is in a tour bus?  I love Miranda Lambert and I love that her bus is so cool.  And they girls that did the bus are right here in Texas not 50 miles from where I live.  Who knew???  I would love to do something like this in the girls room.

Miranda Lambert's Tour Bus

Here are some more of my favorites....

Photo from Coastal Living

Photo from Coastal Living

Photo from Coastal Living

Photo from Better Homes & Garden

Although these are not bunk beds, I love the idea of this headboard with two twin beds.

Photo from Coastal Living

If I had the space, I would so do this...

Photo from Coastal Living

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Menu Plan: May 19 - 22, 2010

Wednesday, May 19
Dirty Rice with Smoked Sausage

Thursday, May 20
Grilled Chicken, Apple, Grape and Walnut Salad

Friday, May 21
BLT Sandwiches
Tater Tots

Saturday, May 22
Bleu Cheese Chicken Quesadillas

Recipe: Bread Pudding

I know what you are thinking.  Really?  Bread pudding?  I was once a dessert snob.  Why would I eat bread pudding when there are so many more choices of yumminess to have.  But, now I am so in love with this bread pudding!  A treat, every now and then, but oh, so worth the wait!  Rich, creamy delicious goodness.

This is a very rich dessert so be prepared for a nap after you enjoy!

Bread Pudding

5 eggs
3 12 oz cans evaporated milk
2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 cup raisins, optional
1 lb bread, cut into cubes (I have used doughnuts, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, etc.)

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup half and half cream
3 tbsp whisky or rum, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a very large bowl add cubed bread.  Mix remaining ingredients and pour over cubes.  Pour into a 4 quart casserole dish.  Bake for 60 minutes.  In a small saucepan, mix all of the ingredients for the sauce.  Bring to a boil and remove from heat.  Pour the sauce on top of the bread pudding once it has been removed from the oven.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

All moved!

The girls and I finally are settling in and getting used to life in the country.  The girls are having so much fun getting outside every day.  They have caught (and killed) many bugs...woolly worms seem to plentiful!  While they have been playing, I have been cooking.  I have lots of new recipes to post about in the next few days and more on my list to try.  I love the lazy days of summer.....

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Recipe: White Chocolate and Butterscotch Cookies


I wanted to make some cookies for our road trip to Texas.  Homemade always taste better than the packaged kind.  I also wanted to use up the last of some of my baking supplies.  One of my favorite  blogs, The Picky Palate, had an interesting one that I have not tried before.  I had such success with Jenny's Blackberry Cream Cheese Muffins, that I had to give this cookie recipe a try.

I had the white chocolate chips and I had butterscotch chips, but no chocolate chips.  So, I went ahead and made them without the chocolate.  The dough is fantastic!  It probably has nothing to do with the two sticks of butter.  It is a soft dough that bakes up nicely.  Do you taste the dough before you bake?  I do and you just know when a cookie is gonna be good based on it's raw form.  This is a winner!

White Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies
(adapted from Jenny's original recipe at the Picky Palate)

2 sticks softened butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tbsp pure vanilla
2 1/ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl; sift of stir to combine. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.  Stir in chips.  Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet placing about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until edges just barely start to turn golden. Remove and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. Enjoy!!

Gifts from my Kitchen: Snickerdoodle Blondies

Let me just say that I was a bit skeptical about these blondies.  I LOVE brownies/blondies!  They are my favorite dessert.  But, I love snickerdoodle cookies.  I just couldn't see how these were going to work, but I gave them a try.  And I am so glad that I did.  They were so yummy! I used the recipe from Cooking with Cristine.

And let me just say that I am kinda proud of myself for getting four days of home baked goodies to all 12 teachers!  This has been a crazy week with us getting ready to move, finishing up school, etc. that I almost didn't think I would get it done.  But I wanted the teachers to know how special they were to our kids.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gifts from my Kitchen: Blackberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Well, I made it through the third day....just barely!  I had so much going on that I was only able to make one batch of these most delicious muffins.  Oh my gosh!  They were incredible.  Jenny @ Picky Palate came up with a most awesome recipe.  I am really not a blackberry fan, but these were so good and moist.  I hope the teachers enjoyed these as much as I did.

I made a few changes based on what I had in my pantry, but once we get settled, I will try her original recipe with whole wheat flour.  Enjoy!

Blackberry Cream Cheese Muffins 
with Sweet Berry Drizzle
(adapted from Jenny's recipe @ The Picky Palate)

12 oz fresh blackberries
2 tbsp sugar
1 stick softened butter
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tsp orange extract
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place blackberries and sugar in a large bowl. Stir to combine so that berries are coated in sugar. Set aside. Cream the butter, cream cheese, sugar and orange extract until well combined. Slowly beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined.  Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. With mixer on low, add half the flour, then half the milk, then remaining flour, then remaining milk until just combined.  Fill 6 extra large muffins tins or 24 regular size tins with muffin batter, about ¾ full, that has been sprayed with cooking spray or use liners. Press 3-4 berries into tops of each unbaked muffin, Reserve any berry juice in bowl for drizzle. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked through. Remove and let cool.  In the same bowl as berries were in, place powdered sugar and milk. Whisk until smooth and drizzling consistency; should be a light pink color from the berry juice. Drizzle over top muffins.

Linked To:
*Talking Dollar and Cents: Muffin Monday

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gifts from my Kitchen: Macaroni Grill Bread

I love baking bread!  My family loves me when I make bread.  There is nothing better than homemade bread...the smell as it is baking, the butter as it melts on a warm sliced piece.  My family has been known to gobble up an entire loaf of bread minutes after it has come from the oven.

I usually start off the bread making process in my trusty breadmaker and finish it off in the oven.  However, this time, I found Jamie's recipe for Macaroni Grill Bread on her blog @ Jamie Cooks It Up.  Not only do you use your mixer but you get a finished product in about an hour and half.  The smell as it is baking is simply devine. 

I made a few adjustments because I am trying to use everything up in my pantry so it doesn't have to be packed and moved.  But once we are settled, I am going to try her original recipe.

Macaroni Grill Bread
(adapted from Jamie's recipe)

1 1/2 t active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp dried rosemary

1 egg

In the bottom of your mixer combine water, yeast and sugar. Let it sit for five minutes.  Add the salt, melted butter and one cup flour. Mix for 30 seconds to incorporate. Add the rest of the flour about a half cup at a time.When all of the flour is incorporated mix on medium to high.  After about seven minutes, add the italian seasoning, black pepper and rosemary.  Mix just until incorporated.  Cover the bowl and allow to rise until doubled, about 30 to 40 minutes.  Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a board. Divide the dough in half and shape into two balls.  Place the shaped dough onto a oiled pan or stone.  Make a criss cross cut onto the top of each ball.  Beat the egg in a small bowl until light and frothy.  Brush each ball with the egg wash, including the cuts.  Place dough in a 170 degree oven and allow to rise about 10 to 15 minutes or until doubled in size.  Turn the oven up to 370 degrees and cook for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to a cooling rack.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gifts from my Kitchen: Orange Creamsicle Cookies

Can I just say.....OMG?  These cookies are unbelievable!  I mean, really, unbelievable!  And, oh so, easy to make!  I had three dozen done in an hour and a half.  I packaged them in wax sandwich bags with a cute little sticker.  My girls were so excited to hand deliver them to all of their teachers and the front office.

Yea day down!

Thank you Jo @ The Adventures of Kitchen Girl for a most awesome recipe!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Semi-Homemade: Cream Cheese Brownies

Yesterday, it seemed the entire family had a sweet tooth.  Because we are moving, I am trying to use up as much of our pantry as I can.  I had a box of fudge brownies (you know the most awesome one with the fudge packet) and had some cream cheese in my freezer.  Cream cheese brownies sounded so good.  I would have added walnuts but I have a few that don't love nuts...darn it!  The brownies were so good and totally cured our sweet tooth.

Cream Cheese Brownies

1 package Fudge Brownies
2 eggs
2 tbsp water
1/2 melted butter
1 cup walnuts or nut of your choice (optional)
1-8 oz package cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  In a 8x8 baking pan, butter bottom and sides.  Prepare brownie mix with eggs, water and melted butter.  In a separate bowl, prepare cream cheese, sugar and vanilla.  Stir until smooth.   Pour half of the brownie mix in the pan.  Spread the mix until the bottom of the pan is completely covered.  Pour the cream cheese mix on top covering the brownie mix.  Pour the remainder of the brownie mix on top of the cream cheese. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes.  Allow brownies to cool before cutting.

Eat and enjoy!

Gifts from my Kitchen: Teacher Appreciation Week

Next week is Teacher Appreciation.  My girls have always been blessed with such wonderful teachers.  This year I would like to bake a different treat for each day of the week for each of their teachers.  This is going to be next to impossible with everything that is going on, but I would at least like to try.  So, here is what I am going to attempt:

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

Macaroni Grill Bread

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins with Sweet Berry Drizzle

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Flowers/Potted Plants

Crossing my fingers that I can accomplish this all!  Wish me luck!