Monday, September 26, 2011

Must Try Tuesday: September 27, 2011

Don't you just love this time of year?  I love cooking and baking with apples and pumpkins. I have found several new recipes that I can't wait to try out, especially the oozy gooey ones!  I also came across two new crock pot recipes that will be in my crock pot very soon.


I think these would be great for the girl's lunches...
Living Life


 Mexican food + crock pot = AWESOME!
Crockpot Chicken and Corn Enchilada Casserole
Crystal & Co.


Pumpkin Pull-Apart Monkey Bread with Maple Glaze
Lauren's Latest


You can't go wrong with cheese, potatoes and ham...
Crockpot Ham and Potatoes
Gluten Freely Frugal


This looks like gooey goodness...
Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread
Sunny Side Up in San Diego


Love this twist on egg rolls...
Philly Cheese Steak Egg Rolls
Mandy's Recipe Box


Nummy...come on winter...
Frozen Hot Chocolate
Favorite Family Recipes


Oh...sweet love...this looks like a perfect breakfast!
Cinnamon Biscuit Balls
Buns in My Oven


Linked To:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Recipe: Pumpkin Pancakes

My family LOVES pancakes...I am not talking a little love.  I am talking full blown stalker love.  My baby Zoey could eat pancakes for all three meals and a snack seven days a week.  Because we love pancakes so much, we like to mix it up every now and then.  

To celebrate the coming of fall, I decided to try pumpkin pancakes.  My girls ate so many pancakes, they could have popped if they came near a sharp object.  They were so good!  These are made from scratch and are worth every bit of the effort.  Zoey has already asked me to make them again...maybe this weekend for the first weekend of fall.


Pumpkin Pancakes
(adapted from Love to Cook)

1 cup flour 
2 1/2 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs vinegar

In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recipe: Copycat Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza


We live in the middle of nowhere.  I love being out in the country but there are times when it is dinner (or supper as we say here in the south) time and I have nothing ready (usually because I didn't have a meal plan for the week).  I miss being able to run out to get something at one of our favorite restaurants or order out for pizza delivery.

Pizza Hut's stuffed crust pizza is a family favorite and I have tried a couple of recipes but they just weren't quite right.  We do have a local pizza place, Hometown Pizza, that we LOVE but they don't deliver which is good because we could eat their pizza everyday.  I think that they put crack in the crust...I am almost positive that they do.  My family and I cannot get enough of their pizza.  But I digress.

Now, I do have a favorite pizza crust recipe that I have used for years and it is fabulous because the crust is made in the bread maker.  While this recipe is a bit more work that I am used to, it was totally worth it!  The crust and sauce tasted just like Pizza Hut's.  I was impressed, but more importantly, my family was as well.  

The most important part that should not be skipped, is refrigerating the dough overnight.  This gave the crust a nice taste and texture, more of a "yeasty" taste just like Pizza Hut.


Copycat Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza
(recipe by Todd Wilbur/The Best of Top Secret Recipes)

3/4 cup of warm water
1 1/4 tsp of yeast
1 tbs of sugar
2 1/4 cups of bread flour
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1 1/2 tsp of olive oil

1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp of dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp of thyme
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
dash of onion powder
1/2 tsp lemon juice

8 1oz mozzarella string cheese sticks
1 1/2 cups (or more) of shredded mozzarella

Toppings of your choice

For the crust,combine the warm water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl, stir until dissolved. Let sit for 5 minutes until it foams. In a large bowl sift together the flour and salt, make a depression in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Add oil. Slowly combine all ingredients until the dough forms into a ball. Dust a clean flat surface with flour, knead the dough until smooth consistent texture which takes about ten minutes. Rub a light coating of oil on the dough, then put in tight container and a warm place to rise for two hours or until double size. When doubled in size, punch down and put back in container and refrigerate overnight. You can use right away, but refrigerating overnight gives you the best "Pizza Hut" taste.

For the sauce, combine tomato sauce, lemon juice and spices in a sauce pan. Simmer for 30 to 60 minutes until desired thickness.

One hour before using the dough take out of refrigerator and let it set until it reaches room temperature. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Roll out the dough on floured surface until 18 in across. Put the dough on a greased pan that has been sprinkled with corn meal to keep the crust from sticking to the pan.  With a fork, poke the pizza several times to prevent the crust from bubbling up. Place a ring of cheese from end to end all the way around. Fold dough over cheese, pressing firmly.  Brush the top of folded dough with olive oil. Cover with the dough with sauce and desired toppings.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes until the crust turns golden brown and cheese has golden spots.  Remove from the oven, slice and serve hot.

Linked To:
* It's A Blog Party: Delicious Dishes
* Blessed with Grace: Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Must Try Tuesday: September 20, 2011

Fall is in the air....well, I am sure it is somewhere.  It isn't here yet, but at least the temperatures are dropping out of the 100's a bit.  I can't wait for the first cool spell, but until then I will be patiently waiting for the first cool day that I can do lots of apple and pumpkin baking.

Enjoy these fabulous recipes!

How Sweet It is


I love a good potato dish!
Real Mom Kitchen


I can't wait to try know that we love Mexican food!
Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


I love anything with pumpkin....
Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Frosting
Glorious Treats


I think these would be great in my kid's lunches...
Club Sandwich Puff
Plain Chicken


I have a black-eye pea burger that we love,
but this white bean patty looks very tasty...
White Bean Veggie Burger
The Sporadic Cook


I love hot dips and is Mexican inspired!
Hot Fiesta Dip


This blondie has got to be
healthy because it has apples in it!
Cookies & Cups


Linked To:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Menu Plan: Week of September 18, 2011

It's a busy week for us, so here is what we will be having.

Have a great week! 

Meal 1
Cheesy Chicken and Corn Casserole
Pinto Beans
Corn Muffins

Meal 2

Meal 3 
BBQ Chicken
Green Beans
Cheese Bread

Meal 4
Ham Fried Rice

Meal 5
Bubble Up Enchiladas

Meal 6

Pumpkin Pancakes

Meal 7
Chicken Tenders
Mac & Cheese

Mandarin Orange Muffins

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Let my teaching fall like rain 
and my word settle like dew.
Deuteronomy 32:2

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Must Try Tuesday: September 13, 2011

Things are starting to get back to normal after all of the fire evacuations we had last week.  Gratefully, there was not as much property damage as there could have been.  I am so thankful for all of our volunteer fire fighters who worked around the clock to get the fires under control.  We were blessed with some cooler temperatures and the wind died down long enough to assist in containing the fires.  Of course, this week, we are back to the 100+ degree days.  But, I just know, that fall will be here soon and that gives me something to look forward to!

I came across some great recipes this week that I know I will be making as soon as I can.  I hope you enjoy them too!

Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Brownie Heaven!!!
Brandy's Baking


Believe it or not, my kids love cauliflower!  
This mac and cheese will be a winner in my house...


I have been wanting to try quinoa for some time,
this may be the recipe...
This Chick Cooks


I can just taste this...sounds delish!
I'm a Mom not a Professional


How completely brilliant is this?
Lynn's Kitchen Adventure

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Memories from September 11, 2001

Do you remember where you were that fateful morning on September 11th?  I can remember every detail of that day like it is unfolding in front of me right now.  I remember as as child, my mother and grandmother recalling major events in history and how it affected them and where they were the instant that it happened.  I love history but often would wonder out of all the things that has happened in their lives what was it about these events that seemed to take them back to that time as if they were reliving over it again.  My grandmother was a teenager when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  My mother was a teenager when John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  I now understand, how a major moment in our history can be recalled in detail no matter how many years have passed.  I still feel all of the emotions that I went through that day, they still feel fresh to me.

My husband was in the Air Force and we were stationed in Colorado Springs.  He was working a night shift and was on his way home when I was on my way to work.  I was commuting to Denver and had a long drive so I missed him at home.  I was six months pregnant with my first daughter and did not like these long commutes, but I settled in to my car and started my trip.  At the time, we lived at the Air Force Academy in base housing.  As I was getting through the gates, I heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.  I could not believe it.  It was thought to be a small commuter airplane or a helicopter.  I called my husband and asked if he had heard the news.  Because he had already left work, he had not heard.  I remember us chatting about how tragic it was and hoped they there were no serious injuries.  We hung up and I kept thinking how awful this accident was.  Twenty minutes later, the DJ stopped the music and said that another plane had crashed into the other World Trade Center Tower.  I could feel my heart beat fast and drop to my stomach.  What on earth was going on?  Surely this could not be another accident.  I called my husband again and he was just walking through the door at our house and had not heard about the second plane.  I kept asking him what was going on and how could this happen.  That was when he told me he thought that these were no accidents and felt that this was an attack.  My insides were so nervous and I immediately thought of my unborn daugther.  I wanted to turn around and go home, climb into bed and wish this day would reboot and none of these events had happened.  My husband and I agreed that I should just continue on to work and he would let me know if anything changed.  

As I got to work, everyone was in the conference room huddled around the television.  As I had only heard of the events, this was the first time that I actually was able to see the terror as it was unfolding.  The fear and uncertainty that all of us felt in that room was thick.  You could not take your eyes off of the television as you watched this living nightmare.  The faces of those people...I can still see them in my mind.  When I saw the first person jump from the window to their death, I actually started to cry.  I could not  imagine the unspeakable horror that they faced that would make them jump from a window so high.  How could this be happening to us?  We live in America where we are safe.  At that point, President Bush made an announcement that we were under attack.  Not long after that, another plane hit the Pentagon.  To me, my safe little world felt shattered.  I thought about my family and friends and how this would effect us.  I called my mother, I am sure like everyone else that day, and told her how much I loved her.  I called my dad, my sisters and anyone else that was not immediately close to me.  I hugged my friends at work and we all sat around the conference table not believing what was happening.

When the twin towers fell that morning, there was an audible gasp by all of us in the room.  I could not help but cry for those who were lost...the firefighters who were so courageous, the people who were trapped that knew they would never be saved, the passengers on the planes who knew their fate, the families of those lost who were left behind to and every American no matter where they were on that day.  Our lives would forever be changed.  The images that followed are etched in my memory forever.  The man that was covered in ash that had barely escaped and kept repeating how the towers had fallen.  The mass panic of those on the ground that ran for their lives to escape the falling debris.  The tears, the fear and the sadness over such a tragedy as every American watched in disbelief.  How could this happen?

When the fourth plane crashed into the field in rural Pennsylvania, I was numb.  I could not handle anymore devastation and decided to go home as did most of the others in our office.  The drive home was somber and quiet.  There were very few cars on the road.  There were no planes in the skies.  I thought of my unborn daughter and what her future would be like now in this world.  What happens if we go to war, would my husband have to leave before our daugther was born?  Would he be in harms way? I felt such hopelessness and overwhelming sadness.  I couldn't even begin to imagine what the families of the lost were feeling.  I remember the songs that were playing on the radio between the commentary.  Jo Dee Messina and Tim McGraw's Bring on the Rain and Lee Ann Womack's I Hope You Dance.  I had been listening to these songs for a couple of weeks, but on this day, they took on completely different meanings.  

As I approached the base, the security was extremely tight.  I was asked to exit my car while dogs searched the outside and the military police did a through search on the inside.  A mirror was brought out and placed under my car so they could search underneath.  I was asked for several forms of ID, where I was going, where did I live, who was my husband.  I was finally allowed to enter and drive directly to my home.  Although it was scary and took a lot of time, I was very grateful that the military was so thorough.  For the first time in hours, I felt somewhat safe.  I was on a military base and there were people there trained to protect us and keep us safe.  I wanted to have my family there with me so we could all be together and stay safe behind the military "walls."  When I finally pulled into my driveway, walked through my front door and hugged and kissed my husband, all of the emotions came out and I cried for what seemed to be hours.  My husband reassured me that we would all be safe and that although our future seemed dim right now, things would get better.  

The rest of the day, and the days that followed, I stayed glued to the television taking in all the details of that day.  There was so much speculation.  Seeing the images of ground zero, the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania.  Hearing the story of true heroism and courage of the passengers and crew on Flight 93 who fought back against the terrorists.  They lost their lives but saved many.  From all of the sadness that we felt from these tragic events, came a feeling of love.  Love for our fellow Americans and love for our country.  People were more kind to one another...we hugged everyone around us.  We loved our family and friends more, our neighbors, our community, our town and our nation.  There was a renewed sense of patriotism.  We prayed more.  We prayed for those who died and those families who were grieving.  We prayed for our President to guide us and we prayed for our country.

Eventually, I turned the television off.  I just could not continue to see the horrific images.  I decided I would live my everyday life and appreciate it more.  I would live my life and remember those who could not.  Two months later in November, we welcomed our daughter, Hailey Annabelle, into the world and although I still felt uncertain about the world she would grow up in, I knew that all would be well.  

Every year on September 11th, I pray for our country, those who died and for the future of my children.  I think the best way that we can remember the lives lost, is to live!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where Were You (Live Video) by Alan Jackson

"Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)"

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin' against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out in pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin' what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell
you the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty 'cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Or go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns?

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Did you stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?

[Repeat Chorus 2x]
And the greatest is love.
And the greatest is love.

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?

I remember this song was so powerful during the days following September 11th. I think the words say what so many of us were feeling during the time...uncertainty, anger, disbelief and more importantly, grief for all of those who lost their lives and their families that were left behind.

Ten years later, the words still have resonate in me and I am reminded of how fragile life is and that we should celebrate each day like it is our last.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Must Try Tuesday: September 6, 2011

How awesome are these recipes?  Fall is right around the corner and there are lots of recipes floating around the blogs in anticipation of cooler weather...which we desperately need here in Texas.

I can't wait to get into the kitchen and give these a try!


I must have these...and soon!
The Misadventures of Mrs. B


How yummy do these look?
I have made Andes Candy Cookies and they were awesome
so I can't wait to give these a try!
Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Brandy's Baking


I buy taco seasoning in a large container
because I use so much of it all the time,
so I can't wait to try these out....
Peppermint Plum


I can't wait to give these a try for the holidays...
Lady Behind the Curtain


We love salads and this looks 
like one my girls would love!
Favorite Family Recipes


Nothing says fall better than pumpkin muffins...
Once a Month Mom


My girls love mandarin oranges in their lunchbox.
It would be great to change things up with a 
muffin with mandarin oranges...
Talking About Dollars and Cents


Linked To:

* Finding Joy in My Kitchen: Friday Favorite Finds