Friday, October 22, 2010

Apple Stacks

I would normally be rejoicing with the masses about today being Friday.  However, today it is a bitter sweet statement.  T-minus-3 days until the move!  Today is the big, final push to get everything else packed.  My goal is to have Saturday and Sunday be dedicated to breaking down furniture and getting EVERYTHING downstairs and by the doors so Monday morning, it is simply a matter of loading the truck.  I have stayed on task following my list pretty good so far.  Did I mention that I am a Virgo??  Lists are my friends, lol!  However, today is the packing day I have been dreading....closets.  UGH!  We have a Harry Potter like closet under the stairs that has become the black hole for random crap that you have no idea what to do with.  Everything from our drum set for Guitar Hero World Tour, to the crystals we mined on our trip to Asheville, the "craft box", to my Dad's old trumpet.
Enough about moving!  I just felt the need to be a tad longer in my story since this "recipe" I am sharing today is silly short.
I saw this recipe on the Earth Fare website and thought it was insanely adorable.  Simple and a perfect afternoon snack.  If you aren't into the whole peanut butter and apple combo, you could always use caramel apple dip as well.  The toppings are completely versatile so use what ever you like!

  • 2 different colored apples, cored and cut into 3/4" slices
  • fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 2 tbsp of each topping: trail mix, raisins, banana slices, granola, cereal, etc.  I used raisins, chocolate Cheerios, and chocolate covered sunflower seeds 
  • Pretzel rod

Core the apples and cut into 3/4" slices and sprinkle with lemon juice. (The lemon juice will prevent the apples from turning brown).
Spread the peanut butter onto each slice, covering the white part.
After all slices are covered with peanut butter, take bottom slice and sprinkle with desired topping. Take the next apple slice and stack it on top. Make sure you are alternating apple colors. Sprinkle this slice with another topping. The idea is to create layers of apple slices with toppings in between so they stack on top of one another.
Once you stack all layers on top of one another, the stacked slices will create a whole apple, like when you started.
Take a small amount of peanut butter and fill the middle part where the stem used to be.
Insert pretzel rod into the middle hole. This will create your new "stem".

This recipe has been linked at:
Frou Frou Decor
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Mommy's Kitchen

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


What do all these things have in common? 
Candy Corn



Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds

White Chocolate

What you see here is all the ingredients to make the fantastic Halloween treat known as BOO-Bark!
I am sure I am breaking about 10 food blogging rules right now, but oh well....I am a rebel like that.  Actually, I am frustrated beyond belief with my nemesis....white chocolate.  I just have not been able to get it to melt correctly for me lately.  Tonight, while trying to make some Boo-Bark for you, the stinkin' little sucker wouldn't play nice and melt right....again.  AGHHH!!!! 
It is NOT the recipe, it is, me, me and my apparent lack of focus. SQUIRREL!

I hope you all understand that I am moving and just don't have the time or gumption to try it again.  BUT, I do want you to have the recipe to enjoy.  So, here is the recipe, sans final plated picture. (gasp! I know.)  I do however, present to you the Easter version...Bunny Bark and hopefully the sweet little bunny model will melt your heart and you will eventually be able to forgive me. 
That did it....your heart is all warm and fuzzy now, huh?!  Just a little bunny hug from me to you.   xo

  • 14 Oreos
  • 1 1/2 cups broken pretzel pieces
  • 1 pound white chocolate, almond bark, or white candy disk melts found in the bulk section of some grocery stores.  Just make sure you take it to dinner and perhaps feed some wine so it will cooperate and play nice.
  • 1 cup candy corn.
  • 1/2 cup Autumn-colored Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds.  I used the Trader Joe's brand.

Cover a large cookie sheet with wax paper. Spread broken cookies, pretzels, and about 3/4 cup of candy corn onto waxed paper. Place the white chocolate in a container and microwave for 1 minute - 1 1/2 minutes. Stir and then microwave for another 30 seconds until melted and smooth. White chocolate melts faster and burns easier than regular chocolate. It also does that funky seize up thing if you microwave for too long too.  Unlike me, you MUST pay attention to wha... SQUIRREL!
Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookie mixture, spreading with a spatula if needed to coat evenly. Sprinkle remaining candy corn and sunflower seeds over the chocolate while it is still wet. Place cookie tray into refrigerator until set and firm. Remove and gently break bark into small pieces. Store in air tight container.

Pictures above (except sweet little bunny) courtsey of:  Nabisco, Brachs, Trader Joe's, Amazon

This recipe is linked up at:
Nikki's Nifty Knacks
Frou Frou Decor
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Mommy's Kitchen

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cheesy Ham and Noodle Bake

Happy Sunday everyone!  I have been busy, busy avoiding packing and cleaning lately.  We are moving in T-minus 8 days.  UGH!  SO, my posts are probably going to be sporadic and short over the next couple weeks.  That is unless I open my now sealed box of wine, you know, for medicinal purposes....then I tend to get a little chatty.
Anyway, I tried this recipe back about 6 months ago and we loved it.  Then, while at Costco last week, I bought some ham steaks they were sampling.  I made it again last week with the addition of green peppers (picture above shows the dish sans green pepper) and we REALLY loved it.  Yet another of those creamy, cheesy dishes that screams comfort food....and comfort food is always good when you have been packing boxes of toys contemplating why in the hell you went to 4 different stores to buy the new and improved ULTIMATE Tickle Me Elmo that was played with for approximately 3.7 minutes 3 years ago.  And now we have come full circle to the box-o-wine.

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups shredded cheese.  I used Cheddar Jack, use whatever floats your boat.
  • OPTIONAL - extra cheese to sprinkle on top.
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups cubed ham - again, Costco Ham Steak
  • 8 oz pasta. (1/2 of a 1-lb box)   I used small shells, obviously.  Use whatever you have in your pantry or will make your kiddos squeal with glee.
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp salt, more to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente.  Once done, drain and set aside.  Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt butter and saute onions and green pepper until soft and translucent.  Again, once done, set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, salt, pepper, and cheese until combined.  Add ham, pepper, onions, and pasta and gently stir to make sure all pieces are coated evenly. 
Pour into a 9"x13" dish that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick spray.  Top with additional cheese if you so know I did!
Bake for about 30-40 minutes until warm, bubbly, and golden brown.  ENJOY!

Recipe Source:  Real Mom Kitchen

This recipe has been linked up at:
Mommy's Kitchen
Tidy Mom
Frou Frou Decor
Simply Sweet Home
Eat at Home

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

Happy, happy Monday!  I trust you all had a great weekend. 
There are some things I have learned my first year of living in the south. 
  1. The phrase heat index. 
  2. Southern Sweet Tea. 
  3. When you are in Nascar country, understand that most the people in the area will try to live out their "I wanna be like Jr." driving style while on their way to Target.
  4. Just because people beep at you like a maniac and swerve around you doesn't mean they don't like you, it just means that they are in a much bigger hurry than you are.  They DO need to make it to the red light 2.6 seconds before you do.  See aforementioned "I wanna be like Jr." driving style comment above.
  5. Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti
When I first heard the phrase Chicken Spaghetti, I thought it was a marinara-type dish with chicken instead of beef.  Alas, I was wrong.  Just like I was wrong when I thought that there wouldn't be too much difference between dry heat and humid heat.  Anyway, I digress.  This casserole is pure comfort food.  I have played with various recipes to come up with my own that I think is quite scrumptious.  So, if you have never heard of Chicken Spaghetti, or you just want a different take on it, try this!

  • 1 whole fryer chicken, giblet removed
  • 1 box of chicken stock, 32 ounces
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti, broken into 3rds
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 bag frozen Mirepoix mix, 12 ounces.  Mirepoix is a combo of diced onion, celery, and green pepper.
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 can Chicken and Herbs soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2-3 cups shredded cheese, depending how cheesy you like it.  I use 3 cups of Cheddar Jack. 
  • 1 cup additional shredded cheese for topping.
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper, more to taste
  • 2 tsp dried parsley

Begin by rinsing you chicken under cold water.  Place chicken in stockpot, add box of chicken stock and enough water to just cover chicken.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until drumsticks easily move from the rest of chicken when leg is wiggled.
Remove chicken and all solids from stock.  Remove 1 cup chicken stock from pot and leave the rest of the stock in pot.  Set aside.
Once chicken has cooled enough to handle, debone and chunk up meat into bite sized pieces.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Put pot of chicken stock on stove over high heat and bring to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 TBSP butter in 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Saute frozen Mirepoix mix and diced onion until translucent.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the soups, reserved 1 cup chicken stock, sour cream, garlic salt, pepper, and parsley.  Stir until smooth.  Add in shredded cheese, sauteed veggies, and chicken meat.  Mix carefully to not break up the chicken.  Add in pasta and gently toss to ensure even coating.  Give a taste and add more salt and/or pepper if needed.
Place chicken and pasta mixture in a 9"x13" baking dish that has been lightly coated with cooking spray.
Sprinkle additional cup of shredded cheese over top of casserole.  Bake in oven for 30 - 45 minutes or until warm and bubbly. 

This recipe has been linked up at:
Frou Frou Decor
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom
Mommy's Kitchen
Eat at Home

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Last Friday night I completely and totally tweaked my neck.  Of course stuff like this always happens on the weekend when your choice is the E.R. or sucking it up and dealing as best you can.  So after a weekend full of heating pads, Epsom Salt baths, ice packs, ibuprofen, and maybe a little tequila, I was SO happy to meet my new bestie....Dr. Redd the chiropractor.
After a few sessions and some rice krispys know, snap crackle pop, I am somewhat more mobile. 
Absolutely none of this has anything to do with my other new bestie, this cheesy garlic bread, but I felt I owed a little explanation as to my absence this week. 
Now, this bread is AWESOME....a total new favorite!  Forget buying the frozen garlic bread, or the stuff in the foil-y packets...this is just as easy and tastes UMPTEEN TIMES better!  Umpteen, that is a professional term for quite a lot...not to be confused with butt-load which has a negative connotation, especially in a blog about food.  For example, when your hubby comes home from a football night and admits he ate a butt-load of Taco Bell Bean Burritos, that is bad.  Very bad.  For your safety, make him sleep on the couch, or on the roof.   However, if he has gone with you to see your favorite 80's cover band UMPTEEN times...that is good.  Very good.  See the difference?  Class dismissed.  Amen.

  • 1 loaf French or Italian bread 18-20 inches sliced in half horizontally.  Don't use the skinny baguette's....not that I have anything against skinny, just you will need a "bigger" platform to hold the goods.
  • 5 garlic cloves, VERY FINELY minced.  I used the Trader Joe's frozen garlic cubes and it worked beautifully
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided and softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese.  I used the blend in the packet that has Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina, etc. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small saucepan or skillet over low heat, melt 1TBSP of butter, garlic, and water together.  Stir occasionally until the mixture is straw colored, about 5-7 minutes, being careful to lightly brown but NOT BURN the garlic.  Browned garlic=yummy, burned garlic=hurl.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 7 TBSP butter with the salt and pepper.  Add in the melted butter/garlic mixture and stir to combine.  Using a rubber spatula, spread butter mixture on both cut sides of the bread.
Sandwich the two sides back together and cover completely with foil.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove baking sheet from oven and unwrap bread from foil.  Place the 2 sides, cut side up, back on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese and set your broiler to high.  Put bread under the broiler and watch very carefully for the cheese to melt and get bubbly and brown.  It will go very fast....anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and only about 10 seconds to burn.  ENJOY!!!

I would like to thank the lovely Melanie from My Kitchen Cafe for introducing me to this extraordinary bread!

This recipe has been linked up at:
Frou Frou Decor
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom
Mommy's Kitchen