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! :-)