November 30, 2011

Nests for Breakfast? Why Not?

Most of you know and remember that I celebrate Black Friday by spending the day cooking up a storm for Chuckles and I! I love love love cooking and since the parents cook on the official holidays I figured I'd get in my cooking fun while other people are out shopping like crazies!! Actually this is the first year I did ZERO shopping on Black Friday, but to be honest - I did NOT miss it!!

I digress - for this black friday I of course chose to try out some new recipes and this is the first new recipe from that day!! Since Chuckles had to work I figured I'd make myself a "healthy" breakfast and lunch! After browsing I found a great breakfast recipe called Hash Brown Egg White Nests!

Gathered my ingredients - (ok so I improvised my own ingredients just a little bit) Turkey, Cheddar Cheese, Olive Oil, Spray, Garlic Powder, Hash Browns, Onion, Bell Pepper, Egg Whites, and Salt & Pepper.

First things first - do the prep work! Seriously prep work is what saved my sanity this day! 

Combine your hash browns, salt and pepper, onion, and garlic powder!

Spray your muffin tin with the olive oil spray and then build your little nests from the above mixture! Then pop in the oven.

 While your nests are in the oven combine your bell pepper, turkey, onion, and cheese!

YUCK! I'll be the first to admit after looking at this I was ready to toss the whole thing! It just didn't look appetizing! But I pressed forward....

Once your hash brown nests are browned pull those suckers out of the oven and start filling each next with the egg mixture!! About 3 tablespoons per nest. 

Once those are filled go ahead and pop them back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Let them bake and get nice and cooked! No raw egg whites here.

At this moment I take back my YUCK reaction. After these starting baking in the oven and the smell wafted into my nostrils I was stoked!! They looked much better baked and smelled so good!! 

And you get a decent size nest (in my opinion)! This little guy was enough to hold me over until lunch time, which had been fast approaching since I was not on top of my time frame this year! 

YUMMY!!! I was suprised at how much I really did enjoy these little guys! I am usually put off by bell peppers in anything that I can't pick them out. Love the taste, but something about the texture makes me cringe!

I can happily say I devoured my little nest and had my lunch not been a new recipe I probably would have eaten two more of these and called it good....but my next new recipe (also from Skinnytaste) was one NOT to be missed!! Stay tuned for my black friday lunch break........... 

November 29, 2011

Pop Tart Scones?

I happened to run across a new recipe called Strawberry Pop Tart Scones on the adorable blog - Macaroni & Cheesecake. Me - being a lover of Pop Tarts - was extremely skeptical and I had really low expectations for this recipe! But I absolutely HAD to try this recipe!

I gathered a WHOLE BUNCH of ingredients: whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter, fat free half & half, milk, vanilla extract, fresh strawberries!

The first thing I did was cut up my strawberries! Then you add the vanilla extract and milk! Set aside.

Combine your flours, sugar, baking powder & salt.

Mix them all together really good! Then cut in your butter. Your batter will look and feel similar to sand.

Add in your strawberry mixture

Then add in your half and half and get to mixing! 

You will more than likely need to add some flour (god knows I did) in order to get your "Wet" dough to get to a workable point. 

Once you have your dough lay it out on a cookie sheet and form a circle. From that circle cut out 8 triangle scones and separate them! GOOD LUCK!! My dough was such a pain in the booty to work with and I just couldn't add any more flour! 

Bake in your oven for about 20 minutes. Then wrestle with the wax paper (use parchment if you got it) and place the scones on a cooling rack! 

Don't they look so purdy? 

Once the scones have cooled whip up a nice glaze using confectioners sugar, water, and vanilla.

Then get to spreading! She says to dip I used a pastry brush and just brushed the glaze over all of them, letting all the excess drip right onto the wax paper. 

They look so delish don't they? 

No offense to the blogger because her recipes look AMAZING! But this one didn't do anything for me! I was let down by my low expectations and really felt like I wasted time! Now if you all remember correctly I have only found ONE scone recipe that I don't screw up so this could defintely have been a chef error and not a recipe one.

Maybe had I not had to add so much flour they would be better. They were really dense and could have used a bunch more strawberries! However I will not be making them again! I feel like it was too much work, too many ingredients wasted and not even the slightest bit of fireworks in my mouth!

November 22, 2011

Happily Ever After Fluff!!

Looks like I found my reading groove again - I just finished up Nearlyweds by Beth Kendrick and it was super cute!

After reading the summary it sounded kind of cute but I was concerned it might be a little depressing at the same time. Regardless, I took my chances and I am happy that I did! This book is typical chick lit fluff but what's so great about those books? They are fun and fast reads!!
At first I was getting a little confused because the author switches between 3 different women who are all friends. But after awhile I got them all straight and started to really enjoy each of their unique personalities!
Without giving too much away all three women end up not being legally wed to their new husbands and it turns out that may not be a bad thing! It's cute, not at all depressing since it's such fluff, and you will end up loving the end - I promise!!

Overall grade - A. It was exactly what I wanted from this book!!

Spice Up Your Life!

The other day (which happened to be a Sunday) I was itching to get my baking on! Luckily the week before I had stumbled across a Spiced Kiss Cookies recipe out the amazing Weight Watchers magazine and I had picked up the one ingredient I needed. I had everything else, including the Hershey Kisses!

Sunday afternoon while my Chuckles was watching his Football game I popped my iPod into the under cabinet stereo and for those of you who know me I bet you don't even have to guess at the playlist I put on! Yes I will admit it (cause there ain't nothin' wrong with it) - I put on my massive Christmas playlist and started enjoying two of my favorite things - Christmas and Baking!!

You only need a few items for this recipe: Sugar, Flour, 1 Tube Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Dough, KISSES!, Pumpkin Pie Spice, and Unsweetened Cocoa.

First things first - unwrap all the kisses and set aside in a bowl. Preferably in a place where you honey won't steal kisses!!

Next up combine your cocoa, sugar cookie dough, flour and Pumpkin spice!

You can either knead by hand or cheat like me and use a KitchenAid Attachment! Granted I still hand kneaded a little bit since I wanted to make sure the spices sunk into every crevice of the dough! 

Next up roll your dough into 1-inch balls. Okay so mine might be a little bit bigger than that but this recipe makes 56 cookies and we do not need that many! 

After you have formed the 1-inch ball roll it in some sugar and start lining your cookie sheets! 

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees, let the delish fall spice smell fill up your home! And immediatly after pulling from the oven place a Kiss in the center of each cookie! 

I just LOVE when the kisses start to melt a little from the heat of the cookie, but to prevent the Kiss from completely melting make sure to remove the cookies and place on cooling racks! 
Next step - Enjoy!!

These cookies were delish! Of course Chuckles like them too but he did want me to make him some more "simple" cookies A.K.A plain ol' chocolate chip cookies! Did I? heck no! I got my baking fix in and it was time to get my reading on while snuggled on the couch with the pups!

But I satsified my need to bake that day and have discovered an AMAZING fall cookie! I even took in a whole plateful to work where they were enjoyed!

*I am so sorry to report that I have lost the recipe :-( I am still on the hunt and if I find it I will make sure to post. I even tried searching online and it's like the damn thing doesn't exist on the web!! I am just hoping my honey didn't accidently throw it away while he was cleaning the kitchen!! Fingers crossed I can find it!!

November 20, 2011

It's Kendra!

Calling all fans of the television show "Girls Next Door" and "Kendra"!!! Get your butt to the store, library, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, wherever you get your books and get this one!

It literally took me 2 1/2 days to read this book and not cause it's so easy to read (it is) but because you can't help but want to know the whole story. This woman has lived a far more interesting life than you would ever realize from her time on the tv screen!

I'll admit when I first watched The Girls Next Door, Kendra was not my favorite! Honestly I LOVED absolutely everything about Bridget! As seasons went on of course I started to really like her, how could you not? She's so down to earth and SUPER hilarious!! This book is no exception but you also see where she started and how far she has come. While I'm sure there are many people out there who will never accept her or the life she's lived I don't care. She's proven she's a real person not just the persona created for her on TV. She's been through hard times, made poor choices, but she has also come out of all that and I truly do feel she's always been herself!

Props to Mrs Baskett for sharing her story with everyone and I really hope there is more to come from her! In addition to her stories she includes some photos of her time as a child, in the Playboy Mansion, her and her HUNKY Hubs, as well as her child! And who wouldn't love to see more pictures of this beautiful family? I definitely would!!

Overall grade - an A! I thoroughly enjoyed this autobiography :-)

November 18, 2011

Time to Get the Chex Party Started!

I recently jumped on the Chex party mix wagon and I highly doubt I will ever go back. In fact after this one I'm already dreaming of making the holiday party mix Hot Buttered Yum for Christmas events!

For now though let's dive into the Pumpkin Spice Mix cause it's definitely a must have! In fact I might even whip it together and bring it on Turkey Day as a pre-dinner yummy!!

You need to get Wheat Chex mix, Honey Nut Chex Mix, Cinnamon Chex mix, brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and Pumpkin Pie Spice!

Combine your brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice together and set aside.

Then pop your butter into the microwave for about 30 seconds (you want to melt it completely).
Add in your vanilla and stir well.

Next up combine your different chex mixes all together.

I was a horrible blogger and forgot to take more pictures of these next steps so my apologies.

But after you combine your cereals you dump your butter/vanilla mixture over the cereal and stir like crazy. You want to coat the crap out of the cereal with your butter mixture. Then dump your brown sugar/pumpkin spice mixture over that and again stir, stir, stir!

Next pop your entire mixture in the microwave for 5 minutes, stirring every minute! I sort of missed that step on the recipe until there was one minute left on the microwave, so while it may be better if I had stirred constantly it didn't ruin the mix.

After it's microwaved and piping hot, lay the mix out on a baking sheet and let it cool. It will get nice and crispy if you let it sit for an hour or so.

Then get to munchin' my friends! If you aren't a pumpkin or a spice fan then don't even both cause you won't like it. It's quite spicy and I gotta say I'm not a HUGE fan of the after taste BUT - I still love it! The after taste goes away almost instantly and it's really not horrible, just different!

I highly recommend anyone make this for a party or even just for football sunday! But if there aren't many of you I suggest cutting it in half. If there is two of I suggest cutting it in 4ths! I ended up taking over half of it to work the next day since Chuck wasn't a big fan and I really couldn't eat much of it (trying to watch the waist line).

You can get this recipe (and so many more) at Chex.

November 17, 2011

Down at the Dairy Queen!

I just finished reading the cutest book that we have read for Book Club! Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore was such a cute little story about a Southern Preacher's Daughter!

Catherine Grace Cline is one of the most likable characters you might ever read about. Even through her hard times or her selfish times you still can't help but love her!
The story takes place in a very small town in the south and Miss Catherine Grace is the local Preacher's daughter! As you can imagine this young lady has been dreaming about leaving the small town and heading to Atlanta - the big city!!
You will find a soft spot in your heart for her right from the beginning when you find out her Mama died and it's just her and her sister and their Daddy. You get to grow up with Catherine Grace and experience her leaving the nest!
But before you know it her world has been rocked and she finds herself right back in her small hometown with a few more suprises to be unveiled!
This is a great read for any age but I will say I wish I had read it when I was a teenager because it's something that I'm sure any young girl can relate to, at least in some ways :-)

I highly recommend this book to any and all readers! Great Job Ms Gilmore!
Overall grade = A+!

November 15, 2011

Excuse the Mess

Hello Readers,

Please excuse the nasty mess my blog is going to be for a few days. I've pretty much had it up to there with blogger and have spent the last hour trying to fix my layout.

My baby should be back up and running like normal soon.

Lesson Learned: If it aint broke don't fix it!


November 14, 2011

Birthday Bash

Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Birthday Dear Princess Kendall Who's so Amazing!!!!!!!!!! Happy Birthday to Me!

Nope not really my birthday but back in May it was! I just finished up this page and it's a Storyteller's Layout and it is SO AMAZING!! This page is so fun and so springy that not only did it work for a birthday but it worked for the time of year too!!

Even though it was my birthday I actually had brought a gift for my sister who had recently gotten engaged! I got her a wedding organizer and she loved it and I LOVED the cute picture we got of the two of us!

Aren't these colors super fun!!

So happy to have my birthday scrapped, but I have to admit with all my 2011 pages I've been scrappin lately I'm feelin like a bum! I definitely need to wrap up my 2008 album since I have 3 layouts left! Stay tuned for the completion of my 2008 album! Who knows maybe this week :)

November 12, 2011

Strawberry Bars Anyone?

Calling all lovers of Strawberries!! Calling all lovers of low fat healthy desserts!!!

I decided to bake another recipe by the ever fabulous SkinnyTaste blog!
I am a huge lover of dessert bars and this one seemed easy, well easy as long as I could hunt down the Strawberry Pie filling. I never knew it'd be so hard to fine, but finally I did so one Sunday I got in the baking mood (remember the Low Fat Brownie Bites?)

Gather up your ingredients: Baking spray, eggs, flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, confectioners sugar, and of course Strawberry Filling!

Mix your sugar and butter together. Then gradually add in your eggs and vanilla.

Then add in your flour. Mix it up well.

Pour the batter into your 13 x 9 pan that you have sprayed with baking spray! Then you will want to divide your dough into 24 bars.

Take a dollop of this yummy goodness....

And plop into the center of each bar. I chose to do two squares with an actual strawberry and the rest just the filling part. (FYI - The filling part is way better than having a strawberry in there)

Bake for the allotted time (you can get the recipe here.) Then make sure to let them cool!

Cut them into your 24 bars, sprinkle with confectioners sugar, and be prepared to ENJOY!

These were DELISH!! They were light. They were fluffy, They were sssssooooooo YUMMY!! They were even a hit at work! I didn't get to take a single one home! I highly recommend these and I know I will be bringing these to any BBQs we attend next year!

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