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You know when you’re sitting at the Doctor’s office, waiting to see your Doctor, and you’re flipping through a magazine? You are reading an article, cause you don’t just look through it for the hair, clothes and hot guys, duh… and you turn the page…and it’s gone? Someone ripped it out!

Well, I was at the Doctor’s office a couple of weeks back. And. I did that. Not that reading the article and missing pages. Come on, the celebrity sightings are the best part! Nope, I ripped out a page. It was a recipe and I didn’t have any time to write it down. I knew I was next. I know! I’m one of those people!

I apologize.

I’ll make it up to you by sharing what I came up with from that recipe.

Crockpot soup. Right on!

This couldn’t be easier. Mix it up in the crockpot the night before, stick it in the fridge. When you get up for work the next day, plug it in, turn it on low and walk out the door. When you get home, all you have to do is lightly shred the chicken. It’s super, crazy tender and takes, like 5 minutes. Tops. Voila! Dinner done did!

I used 4 frozen chicken breasts. Over them pour diced tomatoes, green chile peppers, a diced onion, red enchilada sauce, garlic, chicken broth, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, black beans, a bay leaf and some cilantro. DONE!

This is what you come home to.
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Then, take the chicken breasts out and shred them with two forks. I’m tellin’ you. This is cake work.
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Toss the chicken back into the crockpot and you’re ready to serve!

I took out a few corn tortillas and cut them into thin slices, then cut them lengthwise, so they were shorter. I also got out shredded cheese and sour cream. Avacados or lime wedges would have been good as well.
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It’s not super duper hot, but you could make it hotter if you’d like with more chili powder, more diced green chiles or hot sauce.
EVERYone in the family liked it. For. Real.

Also, you could cut the chicken broth to one can and serve this on tortillas.

The Recipe:
Chicken Tortilla Soup in a Crockpot

4 frozen chicken breasts
1 diced onion
1 can diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can of chopped green chile peppers
1 can (15 oz) mild red enchilada sauce (the off brand is fine)
1 clove of minced garlic (I used 1/2 tsp canned minced)
2 cans (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1/2 tsp dried cilantro (or 1/4 cup fresh chopped)

Lay the frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of your crockpot. Top with everything. Refridgerate the crockpot lining (if it removes) overnight if desired. Cook on low for 7-9 hours. Remove chicken breasts and lightly shred with two forks. Return meat to soup and serve.
Top with shredded chicken, sliced corn tortilla chips, sour cream, avacados or lime wedges.
Enjoy!

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Rewatching Buffy

So, Christmas is officially over. Christmas trees are put away and lights have (mostly) come down.
I feel like this last Christmas came and went faster than ever before. I know time passes more quickly each year, but this year it really seemed to fly by. I was especially busy with a new job and all the work we did around the house, but still…sucks getting older.

We got the girl a Kindle Fire for Christmas, it was her big present. She’s old enough now that she’s ok with having a big present and just a few other smaller things. All of the kids are inundated with electronics, which is both good and bad….also makes me want one…real bad.

Oh, and funny thing. The fireman bought me more seasons of Buffy, my favorite show since high school. I now have all 7 seasons. I got the girl interested in them, which cracks me up. The first season is especially bad. Well, it wasn’t bad for it’s age, but come on, it was 1996. Best part, was I remember the first episodes. I was 16 and sat in the study with my friend. I often watched it, while on the phone with her, barely talking, except for big moments or commercials. Crazy. The camera shots are funny cause they’re so old, but I remember the music and the feelings I had while watching them at 16. I was the same age as Buffy and her friends at that time. So, the show really spoke to me at that time.

We just finished watching season 1 last night and started with the first episode of season 2 this morning. And I have realized in my adulthood that those episodes dealt with some really hard high school lessons. I think that’s why I loved the show so much. They deal with clique’s, sex, drugs, divorce, being expected to walk in your parent’s footsteps. So many issues that you come across in high school are there. THey just throw in monsters to make it ‘hip’.

Oh, and my daughter things the fashion is just hilarious. ‘Mom! Her boots are so funny looking!’ I ask why, she says, ’cause the heels are so chunky!’
Yep, that’s how heels were back then. Cracks me up. But she loves the funny sayings that Joss Whedon (the Buffy producer and creator) writes in. They always cracked me up, too. So, I’m feeling a little nostalgic. And happy I can share it with her.

Caramel Pecan Bars

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I made this for my work potluck a few weeks back, but am lazy and only now posting about it.
It’s really good and chewy and gooey caramelly. Translation = total yum.

It was really easy to throw together, which this time of the year? So important.

I finally got all my Christmas cards mailed out and last minute shopping done and wrapping done. I’m enjoying my last few days before Christmas just for that. Being with my family, watching all the Christmassy movies online and baking cookies and such. BTW, the girl and I are again this year watching lots of Hallmark Christmas movies. Yes!

So, anyway, the recipe… you just mix up the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla and then slowly mix in your dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, cinnamon and slat. Mix well, add only 1 cup of pecans and pour into a greased, foil lined 9×13. Well, you pour all but 1 cup in, the rest goes over the caramel.

You bake this bottom layer for 15 minutes to get it to set while you mess with the caramels.

Then, you melt a package of unwrapped caramels with 1/4 cup milk. MIcrowave the caramels and milk on high 2-3 minutes, stirring every minute or so. Then, let them cool a bit until they start to thicken up a bit, that way they don’t just ooze over everwhere. You then pour them over your base, trying to keep it about 1/2 inch from the side, this helps keep it from sticking as badly to the foil.
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Then, drop the rest of the batter by spoonfulls over caramel. You can leave it, or cut through the layers with a knife and make it all marbly and pretty. Sprinkle additional 1/2 cup pecans on top.
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THen, bake it up! Pretty! Done! Perfect for Christmas or taking somewhere. I precut mine to make the serving easier.
They stayed nice and moist overnight, but I did cling wrap them to keep fresh.
THere were only a few pieces left over cause they were tasty!!

Christmas planning

So, I have this amazing caramel bar recipe that I’ve been meaning to post, but I haven’t had the time for a full, picture crazy post. So, I figured I’d just come and chat instead.

I know, you’re disappointed.

The bars were really good, though. I’ll get to them soon.

I have this weekend set for my cinnamon roll baking. I make rolls and rings for the neighbors, a big one for work and a big one for home. The kiddos love them.

This year, the girl is spending Christmas in Florida with her dad. She requested beignet’s for her ‘Christmas’ morning with us. So, the next Saturday, I’m making beignet’s in the morning.

I have nearly all my Christmas shopping done, and only half the wrapping done. But I feel really good about this year. I’ve enjoyed it. The fireman has been a big help with picking things up, planning things, and just general Christmas ‘stuff’. I really am enjoying our tree with the birds on it. I really love how we loop garlands around our barn beams in the livingroom.

This Friday, I have off again. The fireman and I are running around getting the last few things, and stopping for a leisurely lunch, with gasp, maybe a drink. Cause it’s Christmas ya’ll.

At work today, my group went to Panera’s for lunch. I had a big steaming bowl of creamy tomato soup. I was proud of myself for only ordering that. It was so good, too! We normally only go out to lunch on Friday’s and take 30 minute lunches to leave earlier, but we just enjoyed the day. I bought these nice pre-wrapped boxes of Belgium chocolate truffles at Sam’s club for $10 each for my work ladies. Only three of them, so no big spending. But they’re so pretty! I love Sam’s.

Oh, and the girl got her cast off last Friday. She got the first one off after 3 weeks, then got a waterproof/removable one after that. More like a brace. It’s off, too and she’s good to go. Doesn’t seem like it was that long ago.

I got my Christmas cards all addressed and written in. I just didn’t have it in me to write a Christmassy letter. Couldn’t come up with all the stuff to put in it. Oh well. I know, I have the new job and all, but I couldn’t figure out what else to write. So, I hand wrote a few notes and just wrote Merry Christmas in the rest. Done!

Well, that’s about all I got tonight. Gonna get the girl finished with her homework and showers done. Maybe we’ll have time for a Hallmark Christmas movie. We are DVRing those again this year. Love them!

 

So, we got the decorations up. Or, well I got the decorations up. How is it that the kids are old enough that they don’t get excited about decorating the house anymore? They like the decorations, but when I’m all “‘hey! It’s time to decorate!” They’re all ‘meh’. Geez!

Tomorrow, my book club is meeting at my house for the monthly meeting. We’re talking about Gone Girl that I read last month. It was okay, I’m more excited about what we’re going to read next. I can’t really remember what we’re supposed to be reading next. That’s why I’m excited about it.

Cause it’s different that Gone Girl.

That said, it wasn’t that horrible  of a book. It was intelligently written. But books that are depressing, are well, depressing. I don’t want to be stuck in them for a week or two that it takes to read it. I sit there and think. I really want to read. Wait, I really don’t want to be depressed.

So, there you have it, decorate your house and read something other than Gone Girl. Which isn’t a horrible book, but would make a really great movie, but not as good as Matchstick Men.

Yes, I know that’s unrelated, but when it comes to intelligent movies, how AWESOME is Matchstick Men? I mean, wow!

And that’s all I’ve been up to, really. Other than, like life and my job.

Oh, and I’m going to a cookie exchange party next Tuesday night. I made 11 dozen iced molasses cookies tonight. Iced and all. I only have to take 9, but I thought it’d be nice to have some extra around the house, especially with the book club meeting here tomorrow night. My hands are all wrinkly from all the washing. So, we take all these cookies and trade and leave with 9 dozen different cookies. It’s awesome and kinda crazy.

My kids are excited.

That’s about all the update I have for the night. My life is so interesting….not.

 

This is a pudding. No, not like an Americanized cold pudding, but like an English pudding, like steamed bread and the like. I’m not qualified to tell you the difference.

I can just tell you what I like.

This is good.

Soooo rich and yummy. We had this for our Thanksgiving dinner.

If you don’t like cranberries… well you’re not gonna like this. I’m just sayin’.

You have to beat the egg whites until stiff, adding a little cream of tartar to stabilize the peaks.

Then, you mi the chopped cranberries with the flour, cream of tartar, salt, orange peel and baking powder. This keeps the cranberries from falling to the bottom of the dessert.

Then, you mix together the remaining ingredients and fold in the egg whites.

Pour this into a greased springform pan and bake!

Bake it, then mix up your topping, with loads of cranberries. Let it boil until thickened and yummy and pour over the top of the pudding, then bake another 10 minutes to soak in.

Once it’s done, it’s wet and rich and thick and sticky.

Yep, that’s a lot of cranberries. It’s a lot of flavor and a lot of just goodness.

We love to top this with Cool Whip. Oh, baby!

The Recipe:

Baked Cranberry Orange Pudding

1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs separated
1/2 cup heavy whipped cream
2 tsp vanila
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups flour ( I used whole wheat white)
3 Tbl grated orange peel (2 oranges)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar, divided
1/8 tsp salt
3 cups corasely chopped cranberries
1/4 cup butter, melted
Topping:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cups orange juice (or juice of 2 oranges)
2 1/2 cups whole cranberries
 
-Beat egg whites until foamy, add 1/4 tsp cream of tartar, beat until soft peaks foam. . In a large bowl, combine flour, orange peel, baking powder, 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and salt. Add chopped cranberries, stirring completely to coat. In another bowl, combine brown sugar, egg yolks, whipping cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter. THen, stir in the cranberry mixture, and fold in the egg whites.
Pour into a greased 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 350 for 45 – 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
For topping, add sugar and orange juice into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cook for 3 minutes until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat, add cranberries and simmer 6-8 minutes or until berries burst. Remove from heat and set aside.
When pudding is done, place on a jelly roll pan to catch any drips. Pour cranberry sauce over top. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing sides of pan. Cool an hour or so before serving. Reheat if necessary before serving. Top with whipped topping.
 
Enjoy!
 

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving. We had a TON of food.

The highlight? These Honey Potato Rolls. Soooooo good. I’ve made these every year, without fail. Now, these rolls are so heavy in potato and honey that they have a hard time raising. But that’s okay. They’re totally worth it.

You boil potatoes and use the warm potato water to proof your yeast. Then, you add yeast and sugar to get the yeast to bloom.

You add a TON of honey and some of the mashed potatoes to the dough. Then, you let it raise again.

It takes FOREVER to rasie the second time, but since they’re totally worth it, it’s okay.

We had these, plus roasted brussels sprouts with pecans and cranberries. We also had my favorite Sweet Potato Casserole, Stovetop stuffing is easy, and we all like it. Don’t judge. We rotisseried our turkey, so I used turkey gravy packets. I know. It’s not gourmet. Sue me.

We like whole berry cranberries instead of the jelly. Because I made this amazing Cranberry Pudding, which I’ll showcase later, it was unnecessary to worry about any special cranberry sauce. Besides, I really like the normal Ocean Spray whole berry sauce. It’s really good. Why mess with it?

We keep all the food on the island, so that we have more room on the table. We had plenty of room this year. OMG, it was sooo much food.

I actually ate two of these plates. Two.

I kept thinking I’d only go back and get my favorites on the second plate, but then they were ALL my favorites and I got pretty much the same plate.

And it was good.

The green bean casserole? I made the normal recipe, but I added a half a package of cream cheese, which made it really thick and rich. It was really the best green bean casserole I’d ever had.

But if you want to try some good rolls, you should really try these Honey Potato Rolls. They really are rich, heavy, dense, sweet, soft. Everything you can want in a roll. Oh, baby.

Honey Potato Rolls

2 Tbl active dry yeast
1 cup warm potato water
1 Tbl sugar
3/4 cup butter or margerine
1 1/2  up honey
2 eggs
2 tsp salt
1 cup warm mashed potatoes
7 cups flour (I used whole white wheat)
 
Proof yeast in 1/2 cup warm potato water, with 1 Tbl sugar. Melt butter, cool, add remaining 1/2 cup warm potato water, butter, honey, eggs, salt and mashed potatoes to the yeast and beat together. Add 1 1/2 cup flour, beat 2 minutes. Gradually add 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 cups flour till stiff. Turn out and knead remaining flour in until smooth and elastic. Exercise restraint and expect to be clingy. Or, just use your dough hook and let it beat for another few minutes. Place in greased bowl and rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours til double. Punch down dough and knead. Cut into 36 pieces, cover, rest 10-15 minutes, shape into balls, spray with oil, cover with a clean towel, let raise til nearly double. It will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Bake 10-15 minutes at 400. Brush with melted butter.
These rolls don’t get super fluffy, they’re pretty dense, but sooo good.
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