Saturday, September 29, 2012

Snap Shot Saturday

The 12th Annual Ladies' Forum that I referenced in an earlier post was "All About Chucky." 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Meal Plan Monday #16

I have a busy schedule this week, and it's homecoming at VPA. Darren is tutoring on Wednesdays, so a couple of quick meals are in order this week.

Sunday: Chipotle-Lime Glazed Broiled Salmon and Rice

Monday: Broiled Sandwiches

Tuesday: Sausage, Egg, Potato, and Cheese Burritos

Wednesday: Hearty Cassoulet (From 365 Year-Round Recipes)

Thursday: Buffalo Cheez-It Chicken Fingers with Caesar Salad

Friday: Date Night! Lib's Pick - VPA Homecoming

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Snap Shot Saturday

I barely overlapped in McComb with two of my favorite girls! They had fun taking pictures and video with my camera and phone.

They were getting ready for their last day of VBS.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Meal Plan Monday #15

Our range is fixed! It was not installed properly, and the power cord burned out. The repairman fixed it in about half an hour after having to go get the part, and the home warranty covered most of the cost, so we are back in business. I baked some cookies Thursday night after the oven got fixed. They were chocolate chip with M&Ms.

Sunday: Leftover Extravaganza

Monday: Seared Tuna Steaks and Rice

Tuesday: Hamburgers with Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday: (Crockpot) Copycat Zuppa Toscana with Garlic Bread

Thursday: Crescent Pizza Pockets and Salad

Friday: Date Night! Darren's Pick

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Snap Shot Saturday

My train stopped for a while in Jackson, so I snapped a few pictures.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Woof Wednesday

This picture of a napping Ralph is so sweet it makes my heart hurt. It was one of the first pictures I ever got of her sleeping. She has gotten hard of hearing in her old age. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Buffalo Cheez-It Chicken Fingers

This recipe is a creation based on several of the chicken fingers recipes over at Plain Chicken. They also eat a lot of chicken at their house.

Trim 2-3 large chicken breasts and cut them into 2-4 strips each. Crush 2-3 cups of Cheez-It crackers in a food processor. Dip the strips in buffalo wing sauce.

Then coat the strips with Cheez-It crumbs.

Place them on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake them for 10 minutes at 450 degrees; then turn them and bake an additional 5 minutes. Serve with salad or for a more traditional hot wing taste, with carrots and celery. Darren also likes his with bleu cheese dressing.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Meal Plan Monday #14

Our oven and cooktop have strangely stopped working. I used the oven on Thursday, and it seemed fine, and then Saturday, I tried to bake some cookies, and we couldn't get the oven to heat. This week, we're planning meals around the microwave, waffle iron, and crockpot, because we aren't sure yet when the range will be repaired.

Sunday: Waffles and Bacon

Monday: Chef Salads

Tuesday: Crockpot Baked Beans with Pulled Pork (frozen from last week)

Wednesday: Take Out

Thursday: Microwave Loaded Baked Potatoes

Friday: Date Night! Lib's Pick

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Snap Shot Saturday

These are pictures of the Delta from the City of New Orleans. I got a sleeper compartment, so I had a nice, restful ride and a private compartment.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Small-Batch Baking: Vanilla Layer Cake

For Labor Day, I made another small-batch dessert. I finally got to use my tiny layer cake pans! If you don't have any small cake pans, ramekins or a single 6" cake pan will do. If you only cook a single 6" layer, you will have lots of leftover icing, but that's not necessarily a bad thing!
There is no need to get out a mixer. I used one small to medium mixing bowl, two small custard dishes or ramekins (one for melting butter and one for separating the egg), a whisk, and a wooden spoon or silicone spatula are all the necessary tools. Plus measuring cups and spoons, of course. I washed the tools by hand while the cakes were baking and used the same ones for making the icing.

I made this vanilla cake with vanilla bean sour cream icing. It sort of reminds me of a Lord Baltimore cake, probably due to the fairly intense yellow color and relatively dense, moist texture. 

It was pretty fast to make, super cute, and so delicious! Here it is next to the box of baking soda for size comparison.
YUM! We cut it into four pieces and shared with a couple of friends, but if you really want a special treat, just share it with a loved one!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Crockpot Pulled Pork

I have been eating variations of this recipe my entire life. And as anyone who reads this blog knows, I love barbecue/bar-b-q/BBQ/barbeque!

Now that we have a house, we are investigating grills and smokers. I saw a combo one that I really want! It is another version of this grill that also has a separate compartment off the charcoal side for indirect heat smoking. What a dream to be a pitmaster, even if in my own backyard!

I also want to create an oven variation of this recipe in my Dutch oven, but it is still too hot here to have the oven on all day, even at only 200 or 250 degrees, so I am once again looking to my crockpot for delicious pulled pork.

I have posted this recipe before, but last time, the focus was on the homemade sauce. I am not making sauce today, as it is a long, hot process, and I have chemistry tests that need to be graded, so today's focus is the meat.

Start by rounding up the cast of characters. My favorite liquid mix is apple juice, cider vinegar, and liquid smoke, but plain old tap water will do in a pinch.

Line the bottom of the crockpot with thinly sliced onions. I use the mandoline to get them nice and even. Rub the meat with a little brown sugar-salt-pepper mix. Place the meat in the crockpot fat side up, and then pour the liquid (about 1/2 - 3/4 c.) over the meat.

I usually cook the meat on high for an hour or so and then turn the crockpot down to low for the rest of the day. When the meat is ready to fall apart, remove it from the crockpot, reserving the onions. Let the meat cool until you can safely touch it. Remove any bones and as much fat as you can, and return the meat and reserved onions to the crockpot and pull it apart with a couple of forks. Pour a cup to a whole bottle of sauce over the pork, depending on how much meat you have and how wet you want it. You can also keep the liquid and cook it down to half and pour it back over the meat instead of using sauce, but I've only done it once, and I prefer sauce.

Serve on buns with pickles or slaw, if desired. ENJOY!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Meal Plan Monday #13

It's a three day weekend, so we're spending Sunday with friends! The rest of the week will be pretty standard.

Sunday: Tabletop Mano A Mano @ M&M's House

Monday: Crockpot Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Sweet Potato Fries

Tuesday: Buffalo Cheez-It Chicken Strips with Salad

Wednesday: Baked Chicken Spaghetti

Thursday: Darren's Fried Rice

Friday: Date Night! Darren's Pick

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Delicious Dip

We had a few friends over for board games tonight, and we made a new dip. It was a BIG hit, and not a drop was left over. It was super easy, too! Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of it...

16 oz. Velveeta (queso blanco recommended)
8 oz. cream cheese (neufchatel recommended)
1 can RoTel (hot recommended)
12 oz. chopped frozen spinach (thawed and well drained)
14 oz. can artichoke hearts (drained and chopped), optional

I've made this dip again, with an eye on not using processed cheese product.

2 (8 oz.) blocks of neufch√Ętel
1 (8 oz.) block of mozzarella (grated)
Omit the Velveeta, and keep other ingredients the same!

Mix all ingredients in the crock pot and cook until melted. Serve with chips, crackers, or toast points.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Snap Shot Saturday

This is me pretending to ride on a train just a few days before I really rode the City of New Orleans!