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October 31, 2011

A Fall Craft - Mini Pumpkin Wreath

This blog aint just about food. Today I'm bringing you a Halloween craft idea! I know... you guys didn't know I could be crafty, did you? It's cool, neither did I!! 

Now don't go thinking I'm all sorts of amazing with my crafty skills, cuz I'm not. I actually am one of the least crafty people ever. I want to be crafty. I want to take old junk furniture and turn it into a masterpiece. I want to be able to make my own jewelry and clothes, and sew, and paint drawings, and sell stuff on Etsy. I want to gut my house and re-do it all by myself without calling in a professional. But let's face it, I'm not crafty. I asked for some art supplies two birthdays ago so I could get my art on. Nope, never touched it. It's still in the bag. And yes I've got some old pieces of random furniture that I've purchased throughout the years at numerous yard sales, stashed in the basement, which I vowed to renovate and never did.  I just get intimidated...

But for once, I saw a crafty Halloween idea on Pinterest and knew it was something I could actually start and finish. Sweeeeet! That Pinterest has got me inspired, thinking I can do all sorts of things! I've spent hours pinning different holiday-themed crafts and other house renovating ideas. I have been so inspired to decorate my home with fall and Halloween decorations, that I knew I had to make this wreath made with mini pumpkins from the grocery store.

First you wanna grab a wire hanger from the closet. I molded the wire hanger into a round shape as best I could. Stick each mini pumpkin through the wire... it will go through. I wondered... it does. Mine isn't the best circle, but it'll do. I secured the wire to itself and hung it on our door for guests to see right when they walk up. 

You can purchase the really mini pumpkins from your grocery store in the produce aisle. I got mine at Walmart. They weren't with the other large pumpkins, or even the smaller sized pumpkins that you would still display on your porch. Those are too big for this wreath. I couldn't find the tiny ones at our local outdoor pumpkin stand. Your best bet is to grab the tiny ones from the produce section.

And so there be it. My finished craft project! Isn't this Halloween wreath ultra cute? I think so. And it was super easy too. It better be, cuz that's pretty much the only way I could have completed it.

Go me! :)

Peace, and bacon grease!


October 27, 2011

Rocky Road Fudge {Week 5 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets!}

It's Week 5 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas challenge, hosted by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic. Christmas is quickly approaching, people! Have you started shopping? Have you thought about it? I bought one present for PJ last week. And I feel pretty accomplished about it.

Fudge is one of those things that I instantly associate with Christmas time. It's rich, it's high in calories, but it's oh so good. I can never eat too much since it is so rich, but that's probably a good thing for my waist line. I love all kinds of fudge... peanut butter, chocolate, butterscotch, you name it and I'll eat it. I was super geeked to see this 10 minute recipe for making fudge over at my dear friend, Sarah's blog. Since I'm having to make a different treat each week, I've been trying to make easy and quick recipes. This one totally fit the bill.

I had never made fudge before and I was surprised at how simple it really is to whip together. Just melt some chocolate, condensed milk, and salt... throw in some peanuts and marshmallows... stir.... and BAM, you're done! Well, you gotta refrigerate it and allow it to harden of course. Unless you just want to eat the melted chocolate with peanuts and marshmallows thrown in. It wouldn't be fudge, but it definitely would be delicious. But I recommend making this fudge. I loved the crunch from the nuts in contrast to the pillowy marshmallows :)

Rocky Road Fudge
  • 3 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
Line a 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper or spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. In a saucepan, combine chocolate chips, condensed milk, and salt. Heat on low, stirring constantly. Once smooth and completely melted, add peanuts and marshmallows. Stir again until smooth and peanuts and marshmallows are completely coated. Pour and spread into the baking dish. Refrigerate until firm, and slice when ready to serve.

Printable Recipe

Be sure to check out all the other wonderful Christmas goodies in the blog hop below. You can get your baking list ideas right here!

Linking up to: Tasty Traditions, GCC Recipe Swap, Full Plate Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Turning the Table Thursday, It's a Keeper Thursday, What's Cooking Thursdays?, Twisted Thursdays, Sweet Treats Thursday, These Chicks Cooked, Making It With Allie, and Tastetastic Thursday.

Peace, and bacon grease!

October 26, 2011

WWDB? Ben & Jerry's Maple Blondie Ice Cream

Wow, it's been awhile since I've wrote up a WWDB? post. And if you dunno what that is, it stands for WHAT WOULD DESI BUY? When I test a product and love it, I like to share it with you all so you can enjoy it too.

You're about to see alot of posts about ice cream that I would recommend. Yes, we eat alot of ice cream. And yes, we both are somewhat lactose intolerant. Lactaid comes in handy at our house :)

Are you guys fans of Ben & Jerry's ice cream? Me, I think they're pretty durn fun. They make ice cream tasty, of course, as well as super cool and fun. One that I've recently tasted and liked alot was Maple Blondie. If you like maple flavors, you'll love this. It's a maple-flavored ice cream with maple blondie chunks with a maple caramel swirl. How can you pass up maple, blondies, and caramel? Obviously, I couldn't!

And I've gotta try this controversial Schweddy Balls! Anybody had it, or is it banned in your house?

What are your fave ice cream brands and flavors?

P.S. Any ideas on what to call these posts? I originally thought of it as a spin on WWJD/What Would Jesus Do? But now, WWDB makes me feel a bit sacrilegious.  Anyone got a different creative name for these product review and recommendation posts I do?

Note to self: Don't equate myself with Jesus.

Peace, and bacon grease!

October 24, 2011

Menu Planning - Week of 10/24/11

What's up peeps? How's everyone's Monday going? Mine's decent enough, though my tummy is bothering me a bit. The weekend was fun... Saturday me and my mama went shopping at out to eat at BJ's Restaurant inside the mall. Um, love their beer battered fish that my mama let me try. My open faced pot roast sandwich was pretty good but I'll definitely be back for that fish! Yesterday, I met up with my bestie since we had to reschedule our plans last week, and more shopping and eating... this time at a different mall and we ate at Johnny Rockets. I hadn't been there in literally like 10 or 15 years... I had remembered it being overpriced and the food not so good. But it was pretty good this time. And I was anticipating the price so that didn't bother me either. We will definitely go back. And tonight I'm going out to eat at Bonefish Grill with some grade school friends! That's alot of eating out and spending money. So I'll definitely be fixing some home-cooked meals the rest of the week.

Well, my menu plan for the week is pretty much staying the same as last week. Cuz we didn't really make anything on the menu plan except the Skillet Lasagna which I will eventually post about, and burritos. So I'll be recycling 5 meals from last week. And tonight I'm going out to eat... and I'm sure we'll order something another day this week. So my menu plan is all set for the week by default!

Oh, and one more thing I forgot to add. This just may have been what made the weekend really great. I got accepted into Xavier University's Community Counseling graduate program! Woot woot! Go me :) I start in January. I'm overly excited. And terrified all at the same time! 

Hopefully 4 years outta school won't hinder me too much. Pretty sure I'm not gonna have a life for the next couple of years.

Peace, and bacon grease!

October 20, 2011

3 hours? Really?

Just wondering. Does it take anyone else 3 hours to write up a post? Or is that just my slow ass? Cuz I fell asleep early last night, hadn't blogged about my recipe or edited my photos for two cooking challenges, and then woke back up at one in the AM and had to have the post scheduled to publish at 8 AM the next day. I HAD to blog that night at 1:00 AM. But no biggie, I thought. It shouldn't take too long. 3 hours later, yes at 4:00 AM, my post was finally complete. But I had to wake up for work at 7 AM!! Screwed.

Now today I'm surviving off of few hours of sleep. I feel like I'm back in high school or college, pulling late nights to finish an assignment at the last minute. But not exactly because I do actually like blogging and editing photos.

But why the heck did it take me 3 hours to write up a post, edit several photos, and do all of the necessary requirements for two cooking challenges??? That's the part I just don't get. And I'm shaking my head at myself. I highly doubt that it takes anyone 3 hours to write up a post.  I'm still confused why it took me that long.

I guess it's the perfectionist in me? 

Or maybe it's the sluggish, technology-challenged, old lady in me?

Probably the latter.

So I'm guessing my old, slow, tired butt will be passed out at 7 o'clock tonight!!

Just wanted to share and make you guys feel better about yourselves. Because at least you aren't the slowest blogger in the world. That award goes to me  :)

That is all.

Peace, and bacon grease!

Caramel Apple Marshmallow Dip {Improv Cooking Challenge} + {Week 4 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets!}

Top of the morning to you! I was recently contacted by Sheryl at Lady Behind the Curtain to participate in a monthly cooking challenge called The Improv Cooking Challenge, where each month we all have to make a dish that features two specific ingredients. I was all over that! 

The Improve Cooking Challenge

For October, the first month, we had to make something with Caramel and Apple. That's where all those caramel apple recipes I've bookmarked came in handy, and I finally settled on this version of Caramel Apple Dip. I've seen variations of this simple yet delicious snack slash dessert recipe showing up all over the blogsphere and knew it would be made one fall day with some crisp apples. This was the perfect opportunity.

As you know, I'm also participating in The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets weekly challenge, hosted by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic. Not gonna lie, it's tough to come up with a recipe to make every week, as well as find the time to make it during the week. So I figured why not kill two birds with one stone? So I'm submitting this Caramel Apple Dip to both linkies. This counts as a holiday "sweet", right? I say yes. Nod with me.

The slight modifications I made to the recipe were that I used dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar, and Hershey's caramel topping not Ghiradelli. We only needed 4 apples total instead of 6-8, (since there is only me and Peej), and used 2 granny smith apples and 2 honeycrisps. Had to use those honeycrisps since they're in season! Her recipe says to use 1/4-1/2 cup caramel, so we used 1/3 cup. We also didn't really measure out the heath bits... we just used as much as it took to completely cover the dip. I'll leave Tina's measurement of 1/2 cup heath bits since we just winged it. Oh yeah, and I added in the word "marshmallow" to the title, because in the future I hope to make a similar caramel apple recipe that doesn't include marshmallow, so I'll probably call that just Caramel Apple Dip, so I'll need to be able to differentiate the two. 

I'm always thinking ahead like that. Ok not always but usually. Ok not usually but sometimes. Ok ok hardly ever.

Caramel Apple Marshmallow Dip
ever so slightly adapted from Mommy's Kitchen
  • 8-oz block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup marshmallow cream
  • 1/3 cup Hershey's caramel topping, + more for drizzling
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heath toffee bits (or however much you want to cover the dip)
  • 2 granny smith apples, sliced
  • 2 honeycrisp apples, sliced
Blend cream cheese and marshmallow cream in a medium mixing bowl until creamy. Add 1/3 cup caramel, dark brown sugar, and vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to a decorative bowl, or the center of a platter. Drizzle more caramel topping on top and sprinkle generously with toffee bits. If using bowl, place it in the center of a platter and surround with the sliced apples.

We couldn't stop eating this! It's a sweet dip, so it was kinda like our dessert before dinner. I'm so glad I've got some leftover for a snack tomorrow at work, too!

Don't worry, PJ already knows about my love affair with caramel  :)

Be sure to check out the Improv Cooking Challenge blog hop below!

And check out some tasty treats at The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets blog hop below, too!

Peace, and bacon grease!

October 17, 2011

Menu Planning - Week of 10/17/11

Why hello there my sexy peeps! How the heck are ya? How did everyone's weekends go? Mine was plenty fine, though some of my plans got canceled. I was supposed to meet up with my bestie for lunch on Saturday because we haven't seen each other in wayyyy too long! But unfortunately she wasn't feeling well and was also worn out and stressed from the week so we decided to meet up next week, also because we are both broke and get paid next week. Then I was also supposed to go shopping with my mama and help her return some clothes I bought her for her birthday that were too big, but she had a sinus headache and said we'll wait til next weekend. Man, either some sickness is really going around, or people just don't wanna hang out with me! :) But that was ok, because Saturday was Sweetest Day and I wanted to spend time with my sweetest anyway! Thanks, Hallmark, for the made-up holiday :) He worked a couple of hours that day, but we ended up spending most of the day together which was great, because otherwise I was only going to be spending the late evening with him. So I'm actually glad it worked out like it did! Saturday evening, PJ and I did some fine dining at The Palace Restaurant inside the Cincinnatian Hotel downtown on Vine Street. Talk about ultra fancy!!! (And feeling out of place lol). I'll post a review one of these days. Ya know, probably like a year from now. That's how I roll.

Did you like reading that whole book of a paragraph? Hey, I had alot to say! And I'm not done either...

Sunday was also great because PJ and I and his family all went to Keeneland for the horse races! That was my first time there. I originally had plans to hang with my mama on Sunday, but switched around some plans so that I wouldn't miss the horse races. I'm always nagging PJ about how we never go anywhere and he's a homebody so he's content with being home all the time, but we're young and I like to get out sometimes! I wasn't gonna miss this... I had to be able to cross it off of my bucket list. Horse races... check!

And man was it beautiful. Beautiful scenery and trees. The sun was beaming, yet it wasn't scorching hot. It was nice to spend time with family, drinking beers and margaritas (had my first one and I.LOVE!), betting on the races... though PJ and I didn't really bet much except on a couple of races; we spent our money on crap food and alcohol instead. What?

Some of those ladies are dressed to kill, too! I mean, why would you wear heels and a dress meant for a wedding to a horse race, where you have to stand most of the time? I would have been so uncomfortable! I've seen the ladies all dressed up in their dresses and oversized floppy sun hats (on tv), and wondered if I should go buy me a hat to wear to the event and attempt to dress up. But I decided against it when people said it aint the Kentucky Derby! And I'm so glad I didn't because I would have wanted to shoot myself if I had to stand and walk around in heels all day long! But there were still tons of ladies dressed to impress. I would too if I had a boxed seat and didn't have to do much walking.

But we had a blast, and will definitely go back one day when we actually have betting money. Plus we'll come better prepared with some foldable seats and maybe a cooler of beers and snacks for tailgating before time.

Are you guys tired of my weekend wrap-ups yet? I hope not, cuz I love to share them with you. Let's get on to the food already though....

Gotta keep it kinda cheap until Friday, cuz I'm broke as a joke! Especially after Keeneland yesterday and The Palace on Saturday. I never understood those folks who claim that money doesn't buy you happiness. Because I'm pretty sure I can't eat a delicious meal, enjoy some alcoholic beverages, gamble and other fun things without money. Just sayin. How shallow do I sound right now? You still love me though, right?

So yeah, I'm trying to work with items I already have in the pantry or fridge, or recipes that don't require me to buy a lot of ingredients. 

Oh, and can I puh-lease make this danged skillet lasagna already?!? If I don't make it this week I give up!!! lol

Monday 10/17/11:  Skillet Lasagna, with ciabatta bread

Tuesday 10/18/11:  Burritos with refried beans, onions, maybe some chicken and Avocado Dressing, with frozen corn

Wednesday 10/19/11:  Ranch Chicken with frozen veggies

Friday 10/21/11:   Sweet Chicky Nuggets (like Chick-Fila) with frozen waffle fries

Sunday 10/23/11:  Long John Silver copycat fish, and "chips" 

Make it a good one, yall!

Peace, and bacon grease!

October's Secret Recipe Club - Avocado Dressing, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Here's to another month of The Secret Recipe Club! This is my fourth time participating... my first month I brought you some tasty Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Avocado Bacon Dressing. In August, I opted for a dessert... Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondies. And for September, another dessert, and my first time making Molten Lava Cakes. All fantastic picks!

This month, I was assigned the wonderful blog, Get Healthy with Heather... which I so need to do lol! It was fun perusing over her healthy recipes. I was intrigued by her vegan recipes, and many recipes that called for recipes that I'd never heard of before. I finally decided on two dressing recipes, because I like the idea of making my own dressing and controlling what ingredients are going into it. I chose her Avocado Dressing, and her Balsamic Vinaigrette.

I'm obsessed with avocados, and PJ is too, so we both enjoyed the avocado dressing. I decided to add a dash or two of hot sauce to cut the tartness. It added just a hint of spicy that we both liked. And we were nervous about using raw garlic in the dressing at first, but after a quick google search I felt comfortable knowing that eating pureed raw garlic is perfectly fine  :)  

This avocado dressing works great as an actual salad dressing, as a dip, or a spread on any sandwich or taco/burrito.

Avocado Dressing
slightly adapted from Get Healthy with Heather
  • 1 avocado
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 small cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • a dash or two of hot sauce
Combine all ingredients in a blender and whirl until smooth. 

Printable Recipe


The balsamic vinaigrette was tasty as well. I could always use more onions though, that's just me. Next time I'd maybe up the red onion amount to, say, two tablespoons instead of one, which I reflected in the recipe below. We also added a pinch or two of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
ever so slightly adapted from Get Healthy with Heather
  •  1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2.5 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp red onion, minced
  • pinch or two of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bottle. Shake until combined.

Printable Recipe

So yay for more dressings to add to the repertoire! And once again, it was so much fun being in The Secret Recipe Club this month, as well as getting to know Heather through her wonderful blog :) Hopefully some of her healthy habits have worn off on me!

Peace, and bacon grease!

October 13, 2011

Salted Candied Pecans { Week 3 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets!}

We're another week closer to Christmas, people! Here we are at Week 3 of The 12 Week of Christmas Cookies and Sweets challenge, hosted by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic.
I chose a super simple recipe that I could throw together in just minutes. Salted Candied Pecans.

Mine weren't as coated as Peabody's, I'm not sure why, but they were still spectacular! And super easy. The sugar did start to dry up and harden and I wasn't able to coat them very well, so I just added a bit more water to get it workable again. You really can't mess this up.

Salted Candied Pecans
slightly adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
  • 1 cup unsalted raw pecans
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
In a medium or large saucepan, combine pecans, sugar, and the water over medium heat. When the sugar begins to liquefy, begin stirring. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the sugar crystallizes.

Decrease the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring, letting the crystallized sugar on the bottom melt and brown slightly.

Use a spatula to scrape up the liquefied sugar and continuously coat the pecans with it, tilting the pan to help the sugar coat the nuts evenly.

Once pecans are a bit glossy and coated with syrup(there will be some sugary crystals on them still, which is normal) sprinkle the seas salt and cinnamon over them Stir the pecans a couple of times, then scrape the candied pecans onto a baking sheet and let cool completely.

Printable Recipe

Make these. Quick! Top them on some ice cream, substitute them for regular pecans in recipes that seem fit, or just eat some as a snack or light dessert. Basically, eat these any time you can. Now I'm off to indulge in some of these sweet, nutty sensations for lunch! :)

And don't forget to check out the other Christmas goodies in the blog hop below.

P.S. Sorry for the subpar photos.... man I can't wait to get a dslr one day!!

Peace, and bacon grease!

October 8, 2011

Online Bake Sale is Open at Foodness Gracious :)

Hope everyone's having a fun, relaxing weekend. Weather is BEAUTIFUL here, I'll take it in October :)

Why don't you guys head on over to Foodness Gracious and bid on some delicious items in his online bake sale. You'll help out his daughter, as well as many others. 

Going on now until Oct. 11th. Don't miss it!!

Peace, and bacon grease!

October 6, 2011

Online Bake Sale at Foodness Gracious!!!

Hey blogging friends! You all probably know how vast and yet how connected the food blogging community is by now. So many genuine people out there who show they care even though they've never met you outside of a computer screen. Through this blog, not only do I get to showcase delicious recipes, I also get to meet the nicest people. Like, genuinely good people. 

One of those good people I've met is Gerry over at Foodness Gracious. I haven't known him for too long, but in the short amount of time I have he has been nothing but kind! I love the chance to return the favor to deserving people, and he is definitely one of them. His daughter has Type 1 Diabetes, and every year they participate in a walk to raise money for The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Starting October 8th until October 11th, Gerry will be hosting an online bake sale on his site. All of the proceeds will go to Team Miranda, and all bids start at $10. 

Let's help find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes! Let's help Gerry and his daughter, and millions others out there who suffer from this disease. Go buy something from the bake sale, I'm offering up a fun package:
  • A Taste of Home Desserts cookbook
  • The Flavor Thesaurus
  • a Recipe Journal
  • Wilton 9-piece cake decorating set

If you want this (and you know you do), go forth and bid! If not, there's other tasty baked goods for sale :) I just may bid on something myself!

Peace, and bacon grease!

Maple Cookies { Week 2 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets!}

Yes, yes you read that right. I am posting a recipe for Christmas in the beginning of October. That's cuz I'm playing along in a blog hop called The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies (and Sweets!), hosted by the lovely Brenda at Meal Planning Magic. Every Thursday for 12 weeks leading up to Christmas, we link up a holiday cookie or dessert recipe. I really want to start baking more so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity, plus I love themed goodies! We're in week 2 of the 12 weeks, I missed the 1st week but it's all good :)

I found this recipe over at Big Flavors From A Tiny Kitchen some time ago, and finally found the perfect opportunity to make them. 

The batter was actually very sticky and hard to manage. Definitely couldn't roll it into balls like Ashley did (dunno what I did wrong!) because it just got stuck all over my hands and would NOT form into a ball. So after I had to wipe all the gunk off and wash my hands, I decided to just scoop the balls by the spoonful onto the greased baking sheet, and then attempt to flatten it with a spoon, again with not very much success as it kept sticking to the spoon. Mess fest! And since I couldn't form balls I also didn't roll it in sugar, so I just sprinkled some granulated sugar on the top of each glob. Next time I'd try chilling the batter first and seeing if that makes it more roll-able.

I thought they turned out pretty good. I wasn't blown away by them, as I didn't think they were sweet enough. Maybe they needed more brown sugar or more sprinkled sugar on top? But then again, I didn't measure out the granulated sugar, I just sprinkled some on top of each cookie before baking. So maybe I needed to sprinkle more on. They also came out to more of a cake-like, blondie-like consistency... maybe because I didn't and couldn't flatten them very much? PJ wasn't too fond of them because he doesn't like thick, super soft cookies that taste more like cake than a cookie. Also, there was a hint of maple flavor but I could definitely up that amount too! 

So for next time, I would up the sugar and maple amount, as well as attempt to flatten them more somehow so that they don't bake so thick but more thin and possibly less cake-like. But I love the idea of it, because I really do love maple flavor. 

I cut the recipe down quite a bit since I didn't need to make 60 cookies! I only made 15 cookies so I pretty much cut all measurements down by 1/4th. Also, the original recipe calls for one egg, so I just tried to add about 1/4th of an egg, which obviously isn't an exact measurement. Maybe this could have possibly contributed to some of the mishaps? But how the heck do you measure out 1/4th of an egg?! I also didn't bother measuring out the granulated sugar because the original recipe called for 1/3 cup and there was no way I was going to try to measure out 1/12 cup lol! Again, that may have been a reason they weren't sweet enough.

Maple Cookies
ever so slightly adapted from Big Flavors From A Tiny Kitchen

*Yields: 15 cookies
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 of an egg
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • granulated sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg, syrup and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir into mixture until well blended. Chill the batter for 5 to 10 minutes at least to make it moldable. Shape into 1 inch balls or scoops with a spoon, placing on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly. Sprinkle cookies with granulated sugar.

Bake 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Let cool on a wire rack.

Printable Recipe

Though this recipe is for a Christmas-themed linky, you sure can make these cookies any ole time. They feature maple, so they're also perfect for fall and Thanksgiving as well. 

My blogging friend, Kristen, suggested that I maybe add some kind of frosting. Well that's genius! I've still got some cookies left... maybe I'll find some kind of maple frosting to put on top to make them even sweeter and to bring out more of the maple flavor. Thanks, girl!

You can check out all of the other delicious holiday treats below! And feel free to contact Brenda if you wanna join in on the fun :)

Peace, and bacon grease!


October 3, 2011

Menu Planning - Week of 10/3/11

Hey yall :) What's crack-a-lackin? I hope you all enjoyed your weekends. I did, always do, but man does it always go too fast. Who ever thought of having only a 2-day weekend? I think it should be reversed... a 2-day work week and a 5-day weekend. Who's with me?  :)

Anyways, my Mama had a great birthday. Thanks again to everyone for wishing her a nice birthday, she deserved it! Me, my Mama, PJ, and my brother all enjoyed some yum food at Benihana, until the waitress charged us for chicken fried rice at the end of the meal and we didn't ask for that! Then she refused to take it off the bill. Ooooh I got so mad. I'm not usually a confrontational person, but I just can't stand when someone is rude. The customer is always right, even when they aren't, and in this case we were definitely right. So that irritated me a bit but I wasn't gonna let it mess up my Mama's birthday. I was glad I could help make her day special!! 

Then PJ and I went home and watched a free UFC fight. Snoozefest! Sunday I just caught up on some blogging and reading blogs, and a bit of cleaning. 

And now here we are, back to Monday, back to work, back to menu planning. We didn't end up making the honey lime enchiladas from last week's menu plan because when it came time to make them,  PJ  somebody (not naming any names!!) had used up all of the tortillas making one of his delicious quesadilla concoctions. We had everything else, I just had to stop at the store and pick up some tortillas for tonight.

We made the stuffed pork chops but man oh man were there problems! The cheese just kept spilling out during the entire cooking process, to the point that there was barely any left when time to eat. I always have problems with stuffed recipes. Grr!!! 

We finally managed to squeeze in a much-needed date night at Quaker Steak and Lube which I have yet to review on this blog. Let's just say I was unimpressed, maybe because I had such high hopes?

Our work party went great! So much more fun than I expected it to be :) Can't beat getting drunk with the bosses lol! The food wasn't as good as I expected, except for these delicious truffle quesadillas. I die. And though the rest of the food wasn't impressive, the free beer and fresh-made margaritas made up for it :)

Oh, and we didn't make the pork fried rice, or the skillet lasagna. What else is new?!

Monday 10/3/11:  Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas with rotini

Tuesday 10/4/11:  PJ works late, pick something up

Wednesday 10/5/11:  I have a groupon to Hugo Restaurant that expires the 6th!! Date night again :)  *Note to self: STOP WAITING UNTIL THE LAST DAY TO USE MY GROUPONS!!

Thursday 10/6/11:  Skillet Lasagna with ciabatta bread

Saturday 10/8/11:  Mexican Chicken Strips 

Sunday 10/9/11:  Beer Bacon Chocolate Chili

Um, it's October. OMG.

Peace, and bacon grease! 

October 2, 2011

THE. Best. Soup. Of. All. Time.

Brace yourselves.

I'm about to tell you guys about a favorite of mine.

Quite possibly, my favorite meal to eat right now.

No matter if it's 100 degrees outside, I'm still craving this masterpiece.

It's a little something called Zuppa Toscana. You've heard of it, I'm sure. Probably scarfed down a bowl or two at Olive Garden with some breadsticks. But have you tried Reeni's version? Because it completely blows Olive Garden's outta the water! I'm all for recipes that turn out better homemade than from the restaurant.

This soup is everything. 








The perfect fall and winter food. But like I said earlier, I can eat this soup when it's burning hot out!

Zuppa Toscana
from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 lb ground hot Italian sausage
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups (32 oz) chicken stock
  • 3 cups russet potatoes, cubed
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups kale, in bite size pieces
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • parmesan cheese, grated
In a large pot, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain the grease. Add the sausage, breaking it apart as it cooks. Once sausage is browned and crumbled, drain off grease leaving a tbsp to saute the onion.

Push the sausage and bacon to the edge of the pot and add the onion to the center; saute until translucent; add garlic; saute until fragrant.

Stir in the stock and potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add kale and heavy whipping cream. Bring to a simmer. Top with parmesan cheese, when serving. 
Printable Recipe

I am contributing this to Souper Sundays over at Kahakai Kitchen.

*Notes: I have tried this soup using mild sausage, and it's just not the same. You've gotta use the hot stuff. The first time I made it, I also used hot sausage links, and had to remove the casings. If you can get ground hot sausage instead of the links, that's really better.

I can't say enough good things about this soup. Just make it, and you'll see for yourself what I'm talkin about :)


Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast, and Le Creuset!!!