Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When all else fails...No Bake Cookies

I know it's been a few days since my last post. I did apologize for this, however, in the previous post in advance! It was a busy weekend, or rather exhausting and rainy the whole time. I had made a yummy menu for the week on my time off, along with more than enough trips to Wal-Mart. I planned on making burgers tonight with an avacado/ricotta spread. I had the ingredients and idea of how I was going to perfect this spread and make it the yummiest dang thing ever put on a burger.

Tragedy struck. As I was cooking the burgers up, stove top style, I began to dice the onions and started on the avacado. I am more than peturbed by the fact that my perfectly ripe looking avacado is not ripe at all. My shopping trip was more than two days ago. I made the mistake of buying this produce at Wal-mart once before and had the same outcome. I know how to pick a ripe avacado and even gave myself a few more days to make sure it softened up a little more. I blame whatever coating it was probably drenched in. Anyway, that rant is for another recipient, not my blog readers!

When all else fails, no bake oatmeal cookies are the way to go. I found this recipe on Pinterest weeks ago. I love oatmeal and I love being able to buy something with multiple uses. Giant cans of oatmeal are a great buy!


1/2 Cup Butter
2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Milk
4 Tbsp Cocoa
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
3-3 1/2 Cup Quick Cooking Oats
2 tsp Vanilla


Add first four ingredients; butter, sugar, milk and cocoa, in a saucepan. Bring to rolling boil and boil for one minute.

Stir in the next three ingredients; peanut butter, oats and vanilla. Drop onto wax/parchment paper. I used my silicon baking sheet and a silicon cupcake tray. Let cool until set. Pop them in the freezer for a little while to speed up cooling. Enjoy!

Mr. P especially enjoyed them! After working 9 days in a row he needed a sweet treat!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cobbler & More Jars

It's going to be quite a busy weekend. The Mardi Gras festivities are starting and we're going to be rather busy at work. I also have to work a night shift tomorrow, so I apologize if my posts aren't as consistent.

The yarn jars/cans are really addictive to make. I made a gift for my mother with a tomato sauce jar. Just follow the directions from my previous post to know more about assembly.

The options are limitless when choosing how to embellish. For my mothers' I decided to make it a tea bag jar. A label out of scrap paper, the same letter stickers from my previous project, and scrap buttons and twine make this jar. I'm going to be making something similar as a gift for Mr. P's grandmother.

I've been craving a cobbler lately. Chocolate is getting too much after the V-Day splurge. I found a great recipe. The oats added in and the way it's layered just sounded delicious.

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, gently toss together berries and white sugar; set aside. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half of mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Cover with berries. Sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the berries.       

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown.

I used frozen mixed berry medley and raspberries for mine. Thawed and rinsed instead of the fresh. I also took the advice from some of the reviews and used a little less sugar. Mine came out a bit dry due to how I cut the butter. I have lost my pastry cutter and did it the old fashioned way. I used two butter knives, but I would recommend the cutter. It makes it much easier and your crisp will turn out, well, crisp!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Casserole and DIY

I hope everyone had a happy Valentines Day. Mr. P and I went out for sushi and enjoyed a quiet night at home together. I was off work today, so I had some time to work on a more complex project. The yarn heart hanging in my kitchen window really inspired me. I've been saving cans and jars for the past week for a project involving gluing yarn around them. For a little variety I will also be using some of that vintage wall paper I found to cover them. They become instant flower holders, candle holders, or whatever pretty holder you want!

At my trip to the store today I found some great Peaches & Cream brand thread/yarn in the color I wanted, along with a spring rod and clearance flowers. Spring rod you say? Jars and cans? How is this related, you may ask? The plan is to cover the cans and jars. I have some floral wire on hand to wrap around the tops to be able to hang them. I will then hang the finished cans from the spring rod and pop that bad boy in my kitchen window. Hanging flower holder!

Recycled Hanging Flower Vases

  • 3 Recyled mason jars and/or cans. ( I used 2 soup cans and a relish jar, but if you have a bigger window you will need more!)
  • Elmer's Glue All
  • 1 skein of yarn/thread of your choise. I used Peaches&Cream in Daffodil Daze, it's more of a yarn used for dishcloths. it's not as "linty" as yarn used for clothing. Easier gluing!
  • Floral Wire
  • Curtain Spring Rod for your windows size. (awesome if you already have one at home!)
  • Any stock paper/contact paper whatever patterned paper you like! I'm using a great vintage wallpaper I found at the local thrift store.
  • Any other embellishments, ribbons, stickers. Be creative! Try to use what you have on hand!

First, tie the floral wire, length of your choice, around the tops of cans/jars. On one of my cans I put sticker letters, so I made the wire come up both sides to have a "handle" to hang it with.

Glue the yarn to 2 of your cans/jars. I started at the top and holding the glue, using the tip the whole time, just twisted the cans  and glued the yarn around. Using the tip made it a more continuous motion, less mess, and more precise layering. Remember to give the yarn lots of slack! Once finished, just snip off yarn and glue down.

Glue or modge podge your paper design onto the 3rd can. I also trimmed this one with the yarn and added scrap book sticker letters on it. I picked the word, "Dolce'" for sweet!

Hang spring rod in your kitchen window and hang your work! I added the clearence flowers I found today, but if I had the money and/or garden I would use fresh! I also hung my yarn heart up, even if the color kinda clashes!

I also made my mothers' Mexican Casserole. It's a very simple casserole dish, there are tons of variations found on the web. Here's her version.

Momo's Mexican Casserole


1lb. ground chuck
1 bag Nacho Cheese Dorritos
1 10 3/4oz can Rotel
1 10 3/4oz can Cheese soup
1 10 3/4oz can Cream of Celery
1 10 3/4oz can Tomato Soup
1 medium onion, diced
1 bag shredded "fiesta' cheese (2 cups)
1/2 can of water


Pre-heat oven to 350F. Crush dorritos in bag and layer on bottom of 13X9 baking dish. Sautee onion and cook beef in a skillet.

Combine all canned items in a large pot with 1/2 can of water, warm on med-low heat.

When beef is browned, add to sauce mixture in pot. Warm through. Pour evenly over dorritos in baking dish. Cover with shredded cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let cool for 5 minutes to thicken. Yum!!!

Some suggestions/variations on this:
I used to add a can of black beans to the sauce mixture and would top it with sliced black olives. Mr. P doesn't like either of those, so I went back to my moms' basic recipe.
Add jalapenos for spice! Or other kinds of beans, even rice!
If the Dorritos are a bit much for you, I would suggest using regular tortilla chips or taco shells. For a healthier option try using multi-grain tortilla chips!
You can also top more chips on top of mixture then add the shredded cheese.

Monday, February 13, 2012

No Eggs? No Problem.

On Sunday I decided to take the day off. Mr. P was in charge of dinner, and I pretty much did nothing. I was able to snap some pics of happy co-workers enjoying the yogurt fruit pops. Of course, it was probably the coldest day of winter so far this year, and I had to bring in popsicles!

Mika-chu enjoyed hers!
Jason devoured his!

Today, Mr. P and I had the day off. Laundry was done and Mr.P did the dishes. Since we are both working most the day tomorrow; I decided to make our Valentine Dessert tonight. I don't have any eggs, however, and this posed a problem. I scoured the Internet to find the right recipe. One that I had all the ingredients to and looked like it wouldn't taste horrible. I found that recipe here.

No Egg Chocolate Cake

  • All purpose flour - 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Cocoa powder - 3 tbsp
  • Baking soda - 3/4 tsp
  • Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
  • Granulated Sugar - 3/4 cup [Increase it to 1 cup if you don't use choco chips, I did this]
  • Chocolate Chips - 1 tbsp
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
  •  Vinegar - 1 tbsp
  • Oil - 1/4 cup 

Add water in a bowl, add vanilla extract, sugar, vinegar and oil. Mix well till sugar completely dissolves . Keep aside. Now take the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cocoa powder and sift together twice, make sure it is evenly sifted.

Then slowly add the the sifted flour mixture to the wet ingredients mixture in 2 parts. Gently mix in one direction until no lumps are formed. If using choco chips, gently fold in. Preheat oven to 355F. Grease the cake pan with few drops of oil (I used Bakers Joy) and pour the batter into the cake pan and top it with remaining choco chips.

 Bake it at 355F for 35-40mins check if a fork inserted comes out clean.

I also did not have milk on hand for frosting. So, I topped it with caramel, which I thought was a nice decadent Valentine dessert! For decoration, I then sifted powdered sugar into a heart shaped cookie cutter, and lightly around the edge.

I even drizzled some chocolate syrup over the slice for Mr. P. It was rather good. I'm glad I added the caramel ontop, it soaked it up nicely. Otherwise, the cake is a little dense without the egg, but still delish!

I've also been trying to work on more diy/art projects. I found this idea on Pinterest. Super cute and easy. I have tons of yarn, and I had bought some already cut floral wire at the store for $1.00. Assembly is a little time consuming. It took me about a half hour to wrap the edges on the heart shape, but after that it was a done deal. Something cute to hang in my kitchen window!

I hope everyone has a wonderful V-Day. I will not be posting tomorrow, Mr. P and I have plans of our own! How will you be celebrating?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Coincidence of Food

Within three days time, stopping by the grocery store is now my after work ritual. My budget for food changes daily since I'm a server. Today at my local supermarket I perused the produce section. The bell peppers were looking good. I've never made stuffed bell peppers before, so this is my first go at it. I looked up several recipes to get a general idea of the order of things, and while online, I of course checked my facebook.
A friend is getting ready to watch The Walking Dead premier tonight. He posted a question of what should he cook to appropriately go with it. The bell peppers instantly made me think of zombie faces with brains. May sound gross to some but, it sound like food eureka to me.

Zombie Stuffed Bell Peppers

Makes 2 stuffed peppers with some filling leftover.

2 bell peppers, your choice! (I used a red and green.)
1 lb or less of ground beef
1/2 diced white onion
1 tbsp vegetable/olive oil
1 packet meatloaf spice mix
1 cup rice
1 cup of jarred pasta sauce (remember the buy one get ones I picked up earlier this week?)
Shredded parm or romano cheese, enough for topping.
salt and pepper to taste


Pre-heat oven to 350F. Heat oil in skillet. Cook rice, I used my handy rice cooker. Meanwhile, dice onion and cut tops off the peppers. Gut peppers, trim bottoms to lay evenly. Dice up tops of peppers.

Saute onions and peppers until tender. Add ground beef. and seasoning packet. Brown beef completely and add cooked rice. Stuff peppers with mixture, leaving enough space to pour 1/2 cup of sauce on each pepper. Shred romano(or parm!) on top. The sauce and cheese kind of looks like braainns!

Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with a little more cheese and garnish with more sauce. Next time I plan on carving the peppers jack-o-lantern style to create a creepier look!

One of my co-workers has been bringing in fruit and yogurt every morning and making smoothies. Kiwis have been the fruit of choice lately. I love kiwi and I wanted to do something with them. I combined two ideas I found on Pinterest. One was frozen chocolate covered kiwi and the other was frozen yogurt dipped strawberries. I swapped the chocolate for yogurt on the kiwis, and threw in some bananas too. It's really simple, and the result were delicious! A wonderful dessert or snack. I'll be bringing some into work for my co-workers in the morning!

Frozen Yogurt Kiwi and Banana Pops


3 kiwi fruit
2 bananas
1 pint vanilla yogurt


Slice kiwis and bananas into slices thick enough for popsicle sticks (I used some straws I had on hand and just cut them with scissors). Dip fruit into yogurt. Place on pan covered with parchment or silicon mat. Freeze.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lazy Night with Octo-Mac

It was a long day at work, therefore, I was super lazy tonight. Definitely a mac n' cheese kind of night. Mr. P has been sick, so I thought a little Octo-Mac would atleast put a smile on his face. This is the second time I've made this dish. I do love it, but it has the dreaded hot dog that I had been trying to avoid. But hey, I can't try to be Suzy Home-maker in three days right?

I'd also like to credit my cousin for this idea. She makes it for her son, and I like to eat like a 4 year old sometimes.



1 box macaroni or shells and cheese. Whatever noodles and cheese you like!
3 beef hot dog weiners
1 slice kraft singles cheese


Prepare macraroni according to package. Meanwhile, cut the hot dogs in half. Then cut each half only half-way through to start making the "tentacles".

Cut through both sides, making 4 tentacles. If you want to get fancy cut even more to have make them more curly. Cut some circles out of the cheese slice to make the eyes. Microwave hot dogs for about 2 minutes, time it to be done when you mac n cheese is ready!

And all that is left is the assembly! Indulge the kid in you.

I leave you with the Octo-Mac in all its glory. It's been a long day, time to dream of new projects...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Just call me Steffy Crocker...

I know it's Thursday, but for me, it's my Monday. Suprising, however, is that I had enough energy to work all day and still rock my house hold duties. Since I had slacked off so much these past two weeks I am determined to not let dishes pile up. Mr. P does his fair share of dishes, I don't. Totally making up for it.

Dinner was again a success. As I was driving across the bridge after work, I remembered I had lasagna noodles at home. I made a quick stop at the grocery store and for 8 bucks came home with 32oz ricotta cheese, buy one get one Prego sauces, and a packet of Knorr Pesto mix. Lasagna Roll Ups were on the dinner menu tonight.

Steffer's Lasagna Roll Ups


1 pkg Lasagna Noodles (I only used 5 actual noodles for this recipe)
16 oz Ricotta Cheese
1 packet of Pesto dry mix, or any seasonings you like!
2 tbsp oil or olive oil
1 jar of Prego(or any brand you like) sauce
Parm or Romano cheese
Green onions for garnish (optional)


Boil noodles according to package directions. Preheat oven to 375F. Mix the pesto mix with the oil.

Add the ricotta cheese.

In a 8x8 baking dish, coat bottom with 1/3 jar of sauce. Take the noodles and lay flat on your working surface(I use plastic cutting boards for less counter top mess). Place a heaping spoonful or two onto noodles and roll up. Place seam side down into baking dish. You should have some ricotta mixture left, about 1/4 cup. Again, this recipe makes about 5-6 roll ups.

Mix the rest of the ricotta with the rest of the sauce. Pour over roll ups. Shred some parm or romano on top and bake up to 30mins, or until heated through. Garnish with green onion when done. Sprinkle more cheese on top. Enjoy!

But that was just dinner. Dessert was the main event! I found this recipe last night. I had just bought bananas at the store. I had most of the ingredients on hand. I didn't add the nutmeg or zest and did add a little vanilla extract, but they still turned out awesome. I drizzled some chocolate syrup over mine. Yum! Here's the recipe, gotta love Emeril.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 bananas, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise and crosswise

  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • Juice of 1 orange

  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest

  • Light rum or banana liqueur, for drizzling (optional)

  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

  • Cooking Directions

    Position a rack about 8 inches from the broiler element and preheat the broiler to high. Butter the bottom of a flameproof 11- by 7-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter, and arrange the banana slices in it in one even layer, cut sides down. Set aside.

     In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon butter with the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange juice. Cook, stirring, until the sugar begins to melt, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange zest.

    Pour the sauce evenly over the bananas. Place the baking dish under the broiler and cook, turning the bananas over midway through, until the sauce is slightly thickened and bubbly and the bananas are tender, about 6 minutes total. Remove the baking dish from the broiler, and if desired, drizzle with rum. Set aside to cool briefly before serving. Serve the bananas over vanilla ice cream, if desired, with some of the sauce drizzled over the top.

    Mr. P actually said, "This might be your best dessert yet." I think I agree with him. Even though I love to bake, cake is probably my least favorite dessert. Brown-Sugar Baked Bananas, however, are now my favorite. <3

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Farewell Ramen

    I've decided to quit eating like an 18 year old. These past two weeks I have ate more corndogs, hot pockets, and ramen than any responsible adult should. After gourging myself on microwave only food, just so I wouldn't have to wash dishes, I realized it's time for me to "grow up".

    Mr. P and I have been living in our own place for about 6 months now. Although the house is mostly in order, I still find it hard to run the whole place. I now remember all the years growing up with my mother doing laundry and cooking and how easy she made it looked. The more I thought about it, the more I saw what I lacked. Domestic routine. And an overall crash course into keeping up with my own place.

    So, I did dishes today. Laundry will be folded before I go to bed tonight. Dinner was a success and it didn't involve anything on a stick!


    2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked

    1 can (14 oz.) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided

    1/2 cup water

    6 RITZ Crackers, finely crushed (about 1/4 cup)

    2 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

    4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)

    2 tsp. oil

    1/3 cup PHILADELPHIA Chive & Onion

    COOK rice in 1-1/4 cups broth and 1/2 cup water as directed on package.
    MEANWHILE, mix cracker crumbs and Parmesan on plate. Rinse chicken with water; gently shake off excess water. Dip chicken in crumb mixture, turning to evenly coat both sides of each breast. Discard any remaining crumb mixture.
    HEAT oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken; cook 5 to 6 min. on each side or until done (165°F). Transfer to plate; cover to keep warm. Add remaining broth and reduced-fat cream cheese to skillet; bring just to boil, stirring constantly. Cook 3 min. or until thickened, stirring frequently; spoon over chicken.

    I substituted the brown rice for yellow, and Panko instead of the crackers for the crust. As you can tell, the Panko fried and browned quickly. For the cream sauce I added a few pinches of flour to thicken it up. After reading the reviews on the recipe I found others had the same problem with the sauce.

    Mr.P helped while I took pictures!

    Tomorrow I have a special dessert planned! Which will be a nice treat considering I'll be working all day.