Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Looking forward to Denver!!

Brook is one of my very best friends from KC, we have been BFF's since about the third month of 2007 which is almost as long as being in high school, which at least on one level can be considered an entire lifetime.  We lived less than a mile apart from each other when we met, in good ol' Lenexa Kansas.  Then we providentially moved across the state line into the same neighborhood on the same block at nearly the same time.  I enjoyed every single minute of getting to live across the street from this saint in-the-making.  Countless walks down Meyer Boulevard that would often snake into the adorable neighborhood side-streets, discovering that we have the same running pace and the same love/hate relationship with running, carpooling, carpooling, and even more carpooling all over this wonderful city, sharing our deepest thoughts, feelings and desires with each other.... these are just a few of the reasons I totally love this girl.   
Ahhhh, here's Brook in her element!!  I sure hope we'll get to see some of this action when I'm there!  I don't think you could find anyone in this whole country who doesn't like Colorado.  It's just an awesome state.  Brook, you pick 'em well!!  

And here we are back in good ol' Kansas City.  The quality of the people here just can't be beat.  We may not have mountains here in KC, but our hearts here are as big as mountains!  Hearts filled with honesty, kindness and generosity.  Brook always fits in here in KC, as well as in beautiful Colorado.  What a blessing!!

A cheerful glance brings joy to the heart; good news invigorates the bones.
~Proverbs 15:30   

Performance Painting

Mike getting everything set up in the living room, which was now an art studio.

Set up complete.

Mike mixing the paints. This performance was done on the last Saturday in July, and it was a small, intimate gathering at my house. There were about 10 of us total, including my boyfriend and his dad, and my roommate. Mike set the performance to music using a soundtrack he put together himself. The whole performance was beautiful and unforgettable.

This is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the image taken from Michelangelo's Pieta. The beauty of this image is that Mary's sorrow gives us hope. It's not just an image of a crying woman, it is the culmination of the greatest Love the world has ever known.

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
~1 Corinthians 13:13

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cooking Chicken Breasts

  • Skillet Method:  Rinse off the chicken breast, shake off excess water, lay on a plate.  Rub a spice on the piece of chicken, like cayenne pepper, and some salt.  Add some evoo to the skillet and turn heat up to med-high.  Add chicken to skillet with seasoned-side down, seasoning the plain side facing up.  Cook chicken 6-7 minutes per side.
  • Oven Method:   Rinse off the chicken breast, shake off excess water, lay in a casserole dish.  Cover.  Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  Do something totally fun while your chicken is cooking, like take a shower.


This recipe is out of the Pampered Chef cookbook.  I've made it once and it totally disappeared, it was so tasty!

1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened
0.5 cup ranch salad dressing
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced (about 0.75 cup)
6 bacon slices, crisply cooked, drained and chopped
0.5 cup finely chopped celery
2 Tbs finely chopped onion
1 tsp sugar
Lettuce leaves
French Bread, thinly sliced

  1. Place cream cheese in a medium bowl.  Gradually stir in ranch dressing; mix well.
  2. Remove seeds from tomato and dice.  Reserve one tablespoon for garnish.  Chop bacon, celery and onion.  Add tomato, bacon, celery, onion, and sugar to cream cheese mixture; mix well.  Cover, refrigerate at least 3 hours to allow flavors to blend.
  3. To serve, line a chilled, small bowl with lettuce leaves.  Fill with dip.  Garnish with reserved tomato.  Serve with toasted French bread.
Yield: 20 servings (about 2.5 cups dip)

Monkey Bread

I remember making this when I was a kid.

3 cans biscuits
0.5 cup sugar
0.5 tsp cinnamon
0.75 cup sugar
0.75 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter

Cut biscuits into quarters.  Roll each quarter in a mixture of 0.5 cup sugar and 0.5 tsp cinnamon.  Drop in a greased bundt pan.  Mix the butter, 0.75 cup sugar and 0.75 tsp cinnamon in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar is dissolved.  Pour mixture over the biscuits.  Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.  Let stand 5-10 minutes and then invert on a plate.

Peanut Blossoms (a.k.a. Star Cookies)

makes 48 cookies.

These cookies are The Ultimate family favorite.  They are a staple around the holidays.

1.75 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp salt  (did you know that a little salt added to sweet things actually accentuates the sweetness??)
0.5 cup sugar
0.5 cup packed brown sugar
0.5 cup shortening (go with the shortening instead of butter or marg. because the Crisco has less water content which causes a softer, fluffier cookie.  Butter makes a thinner, crispier cookie, which is not ideal for this recipe)
0.5 cup peanut butter
1 egg
2 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 bag of chocolate stars (Brachs makes them and they are usually located in the candy section of the grocery store. You may use Hershey's Kisses if you'd like, but then they wouldn't be called Star Cookies.)

Combine all ingredients except candy in a large mixing bowl.  Mix on lowest speed until dough forms.  Shape dough into balls, using a rounded teaspoon for each.  Roll balls in sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.  Top each cookie immediately with a star, press down firmly so cookie cracks around the edge.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

I know, this sounds weird, but it is AMAZING!  It's so dark and rich and moist, that it needs no frosting.  You could dust it with some powdered sugar right before serving, though.  That's pretty.

Makes one 13x9 inch cake or two 9 inch round layers.

Have all ingredients at room temp.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour a 13x9 inch pan or two 9 inch round pans, or line the bottoms with wax or parchment paper.

Whisk together in a medium bowl:
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp baking powder

4oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

Set aside.  Beat in a large bowl at medium-high speed until light, about 3 minutes:
3 large eggs
1.66 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the melted chocolate until smooth with:
0.75 cup mayonnaise

and beat into batter.  On low speed, add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with:
1.33 cups water

in 2 additions, beating until smooth.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s).
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.  Let the 13x9 cake cool on a rack in the pan, if desired, or cool and remove from the pan.
Dust with, if desired:
confectioner's sugar or cocoa.

Pimiento Cheese

This one is from The Joy of Cooking cookbook.  I've made it once, and it was awesome- it's perfect for a big party.  Serve it with fancy crackers and/or carrots and celery.

Combine in a medium bowl:
1 4oz jar chopped pimientos, drained
1 cup mayo or miracle whip
1 minced garlic clove
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp dry mustard
0.5 tsp Worcestershire sauce
0.25 tsp ground red pepper

Beat with a spoon or electric mixer at medium speed until blended.  Add:
2 cups grated Cheddar (8oz)
2 cups grated Colby (8oz)

Beat until the consistency of cottage cheese.

Makes about 4 cups.

Menu Ideas

  • Baked Sweet Potatoes (or regular potatoes), Peas, Meat (pork chop, fish, steak, chicken)
  • 5 can chili (w/ ground sausage, beef, or turkey, optional), Whole Wheat Cheesy Garlic Biscuits
  • Spaghetti & Meatballs, Salad, Garlic Bread
  • Taco Salad Night
  • Ministrone Night
  • Fiesta Dinner Salad served with Chicken or Pork Chops
  • Quiche Night
  • Sloppy Joes served on Whole Wheat Buns and Sweet Corn
  • Lasagne served with Spinach Salad
  • Oaty Cakes served with a variety of fresh fruit/berries and lean Sausage links or Bacon
  • Taco Night served with Beans and fresh Black Bean/Corn/Cilantro Salsa
  • London Broil Steak or Salmon served with steamed or grilled Asparagus and Baked Potato
  • Pad Thai served with Noodles
  • Fried (Brown) Rice served with Chicken, Pork or Beef with Baby Brocolli, Peas, Sliced Carrots

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Oaty Cakes

These delicious, good-for-you pancakes are a staple here in the MCQ!!

These are very oaty and creamy inside! You’ll need to smoosh them down once you flip them!
1 cup quick oats + 1 cup plain greek yogurt… mix well.
stir in…
1 egg, 2 tbsp canola oil, 1/4 cup ww flour, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cinnamon… mix well.
Scoop onto HOT griddle (set on about medium heat), flip, smoosh, brown… serve with fresh berries, butter, and maple syrup.

Feel free to get creative with this recipe! Add into the mix chopped pecans or walnuts, diced apple, raisins.....
Makes 8 pancakes.
Yum! :-)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fiesta Dinner Salad

This is very delicious, it's from miss Jean :-)
She says it is a complete little protein and veggie package.

4 cups cooked brown rice
1.5 red bell peppers, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 cups frozen corn
2 cans black beans
6 green onions
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
chopped cilantro topping (optional)
1/3 cup evoo
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all in a large bowl. Can be served with baked chicken.
Adjust ingredients or amounts according to taste. Sasha thinks chopped up tomato outsides would be tasty in it. Brook says carrots would be yummy in it.
Enjoy cold!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Delicious Taco Salad

This one has been in the family for a couple of generations. It's a winner.

1 lb ground beef
1 can beans, drained (red kidney, black beans, etc)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp Williams chili seasoning
1/2 cup water
3 tomatoes
1/2 cup onion
1/2 head lettuce
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup salad dressing (see recipe)
2 cups crushed tortilla chips (plain or flavored)

Salad Dressing:
1 pkg Good Seasons Italian seasoning mix
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup oil
Shake well.

Brown beef, drain and add beans, salt, pepper, chili seasoning and water. Simmer 20 minutes. Cut up tomatoes, onion and lettuce. Add cheese and dressing. Add the meat and the chips. Mix well.

Note: Beans can be omitted with no problems, and also taco seasoning can be used in place of the chili seasoning. Also, don't put the chips in the salad if you plan on having left-overs. The chips are awesome in the salad the first night, but not so awesome the next day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Curtis' Yummy Pad Thai

This recipe is super delicious and really simple. I made it for me and my roomie tonight and we give it two thumbs up.

1 lb chicken breast, cut into pieces and cooked in skillet
12-16 oz frozen veggies
sauce: mix in bowl
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

peanuts for topping
serve over noodles or rice

Enjoy!! :-)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fancy Macaroni & Cheese

Here it is so I won't loose this recipe again. This dish rocks! Thanks mom, for discovering it on the Food Network.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Butter, for greasing dish
12 oz wide egg noddles
3 c whipping cream
1.5 c whole milk
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt, plus more for pasta water
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 c (packed) grated Fontina
3/4 c (packed) finely grated Parmesan
3/4 c (packed) grated Mozzarella
4 oz cooked ham, diced (optional)
2 Tbs finely chopped fresh Italian Parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Butter a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish and set aside. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender but still firm to bite, about 5 min. Drain well, but do not rinse.
Whisk the cream, milk, flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup Mozzarella, ham (if using) and parsley. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish. Toss the remaining 1 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup Mozzarella in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the noodle mixture.
Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Yum!!!! :-)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Mediterranean Pinwheels Appetizer

Mediterranean Crescent Pinwheels

2 cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 pound cooked ham, thinly sliced
2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Heat oven to 375ºF. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
Separate dough into 8 rectangles; place on lightly floured surface. Firmly press perforations to seal. Press or roll each to form 8x5-inch rectangle. Arrange 1/8 of prosciutto or ham slices evenly over each rectangle.
In small bowl, combine cheese, pepper and oil; mix well. Sprinkle mixture evenly over prosciutto on each rectangle. Sprinkle with basil. Starting at short side of each rectangle, roll up; seal long edges. With serrated knife, cut each roll into 5 slices.
Place, cut side up, on sprayed cookie sheets. Bake at 375ºF for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets. Serve warm.

Makes 40 appetizers.