Cinnamon Bread

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I have a problem with reading recipes all the way through before I make them. I repeatedly do this so who knows when I will learn. I can’t count how many times I am getting dinner together and then realize, shoot…that has to marinate for 2 hours, or oh no, the bread needs to rise. When I made the batter for this bread I thought it was an awful lot for one loaf, and it was…the recipe yields 2 loaves. When making something new I just don’t like to make a huge batch…what if we don’t like it? OR what if it just doesn’t turn out? The good news is this worked out for the best because this bread is delicious. It isn’t too sweet, but you still get a little of the cinnamon sugar mixture swirled through the loaf. I also saved a little of the sugar/cinnamon mix and sprinkled some on the top. This really was for Alex but I think I ended up eating just as much! The best part is that this is a no knead bread – just mix and bake! It freezes well, just slice and put in a freezer bag. Perfect for a treat for breakfast or a yummy snack!

cinnamon bread

 

Cinnamon Bread, from Redfly Creations
Ingredients:

1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
Cinnamon/sugar mixture:
2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl combine flour and baking soda and set aside. With a whisk, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix eggs in one at a time. Stir in milk. Gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined.
Pour about half of the batter into greased loaf pans (1/4 in each pan). Sprinkle about half of the sugar mixture over the batter, then cover with remaining batter. Sprinkle most of the sugar mixture over the tops of the batter. Run a butter knife through the batter to mix in the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture over the top of both loaves.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before removing.

 

cinnamon bread

The Best Steak You Will Ever Cook

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The best steak I have ever eaten is from Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse here in town.  We go once a year for our anniversary and I splurge and get a delicious filet.  While that is the best steak I have ever eaten, this is *by far* the best I have ever cooked myself.  I know it is kind of bold to say this is the best.  But it is.  I first tried cooking a steak in my cast iron skillet, and it was good.  Bernie found a link to a video of Gordon Ramsay cooking a steak, dubbed the perfect steak.  So, I thought I could give it a try.  It looked pretty easy and I like to treat Bernie to a good steak at home every once in a while.  It looked easy, and it was easy.  The seasoning is spot on and the general tips in the video were interesting (i.e. make sure your steak is at room temperature before you cook it!).  Our place is usually Texas Roadhouse because, surprise, Bernie likes to get steak when we go out.  We haven’t been there recently and while he says it’s because we go all the time and he’s a little tired of it right now, I think secretly I kind of ruined it for him by making steaks that are even better than what he can get there :).  Give this a try, you won’t regret it and will end up with a delicious, restaurant quality steak.  I am listing the ingredients but take a look at the video, it’s only a couple minutes long.

the perfect steak

The Perfect Steak, from Gordon Ramsay

Ingredients:

Your favorite cut of steak
olive oil
black pepper
course salt
garlic cloves
fresh thyme
butter – about one pat per steak

Directions:

the perfect steak

Season your steaks with salt and pepper, push in the seasoning on the steaks.  Heat olive oil in a hot pan.  Put your steaks in.  After a minute or so add garlic (to taste – we don’t really like a lot of garlic).  Turn your steaks every minute to cook evenly.  Add a few sprigs of thyme.  Add your butter to the pan.  Once butter is melted, tilt your pan and baste the steaks with the liquid in the pan.  Brush the garlic over your steaks for more flavor.  Once cooked to your liking, remove steaks and let rest.

the perfect steak

Delicious!

Cinnamon Toast

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Alex has only been eating solids for about a year now, outside of boring purees, and it has been fun trying new things and seeing what he likes. We had to be really careful in the beginning because we had worries about food allergies (me and my brother were really sensitive to certain foods) so we probably introduced things more slowly than most people do. This recipe doesn’t have anything that we had to worry about as far as allergies, but it was still new and I always like to see how he reacts. It is always a good sign when he asks for more, and he did after he finished his portion of cinnamon toast. But, who doesn’t like bread smothered in cinnamon, butter and sugar? This is the perfect weekend treat for kids (and parents too!).

Cinnamon Toast

Perfection!

Cinnamon Toast, from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

16 slices Bread (I used whole wheat and it was delicious!)
2 sticks unsalted Butter, Softened
1 cup Sugar
3 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil for easier clean up.

Mash butter with fork then mix in sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir until completely combined.

Cinnamon Toast

Ready for the oven!

Spread the butter mixture on each slice of bread, being sure to spread all the way to the edges. Place bread on cookie sheet, then put the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Check toast and if not yet golden brown and bubbling turn on broiler and broil until toast is done (mine didn’t need to be broiled but my oven usually cooks fast). If you broil your toast be sure to watch it so it doesn’t burn.

Remove toast from the oven and slice in half, enjoy!

 

Chicken Enchilada Soup

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It has been well established that I love Mexican food. Even though I love my fajita bowls it is nice to have something a little different. This dish makes an appearance in our meal plan every month. It is hearty and delicious and best of all, is cooked in the crockpot so really easy to pull together. Since I work from a home office I can usually pull this together during one of my breaks in the morning and can enjoy for my dinner break at night. I have used the mild and hot Rotel and both were good, but the hot was just a little too hot for me.

enchilada chicken soup

Chicken Enchilada Soup, from Dainty Chef

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
½ cup chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 can (15 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 ounce) Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles for mild, habeneros for hot
1 package (10 ounce) frozen corn
½ cup onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can (10 ounce) Enchilada sauce
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Directions:

Heat saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Stir in the flour, keep stirring until smooth and bubbly. Remove pan from heat and gradually stir in chicken broth and 1/2 cup of milk, continue to stir to keep mixture smooth. Return to heat. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil and cook, stirring constantly to thicken.

In a large bowl whisk together the chicken broth mixture and enchilada sauce. Gradually mix in remaining milk until combine and set aside.

Bring sauce to a gentle boil; cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. In a large bowl, whisk together the enchilada sauce and chicken broth mixture . Gradually whisk in remaining milk until smooth. Set aside.

In a crockpot combine the beans, rotel tomatoes, corn, onion, and bell pepper. Put the chicken breasts on top of the vegetable mixture and pour enchilada sauce over top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. When ready to service, remove chicken and shred. Mix shredded chicken back into the soup, and enjoy! Top each portion with cheese. We also top with crushed tortilla chips, you could also use avocados or sour cream!

Yields: 6 servings

Nutrition per serving (excluding toppings other than cheese): 301.5 calories, 14.8g fat, 8.2g saturated fat, 61mg cholesterol, 450mg sodium, 24.6g carbohydrates, 2.7g fiber, 7g sugar, 19.5g protein

 

Energy Bites

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Do you need an easy, quick snack? This is it. These little bites are so easy to pull together, I make these almost every week and store so we have something to grab if we are on the run or just need a little bite to hold us until the next meal.  With chocolate and peanut butter, you can’t go wrong with these!

energy bites

Energy Bites, from fabulousfoodblog

Ingredients:

1 cup oats
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Form into 1 tablespoon bites.

Enjoy! Store in airtight container.

Yields approximately 20 tablespoons

energy bites

Happy Father’s Day! Circus Peanut Salad

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Happy Father’s Day to all the special men in my life, my dad and my husband.  My father is a man with strong morals and even though he didn’t always know the perfect thing to say or do sometimes as I was growing up, I always knew he would be willing to do anything for me and wanted me to be happy.  The picture below is of me and my dad.  My mom tells me that I tried on that dress before dad got home and asked her something about looking pretty in my dress and dancing…I think, something like that.  When dad came in she told him what I had said and he comes in and tells me how beautiful I was in my dress and he just had to dance with me, and there we are, dancing in the family room.

me and dad

My dad is a simple man, but the little, simple things like that stick with you…and make me realize as I am raising my son the little things like this…or how dad would give us a “horse ride” on his back right before bed, those are the memories Alex will take with him and cherish as he grows up.  Bernie is a great dad and is already helping me make those memories for Alex.  I couldn’t have picked a better daddy for my little boy.

Alex and Daddy

I obviously love to cook for people, that is how I show I care.  Evidently I am a lot like my dad’s mom, in that way.  She was an Indiana gal raised on a farm and a great cook.  A while back my dad found her hand written recipes and I am really excited that he gave them to me.  It is really neat to have her hand written recipes and gives me a connection to her to hold onto.  It also makes me wish she was still here, I could have learned a lot from her in the kitchen.  Dad has been asking about this circus peanut salad for so long – no, not peanuts but those big, bright orange, pure sugar candies…you know the ones- and I thought this would be a nice surprise for Father’s Day.

We had another dessert but I had to have dad taste test this before I left and evidently I pulled through and it tasted like hers!  I can’t wait to try more of her recipes in the future and dad, I have an extra bag of circus peanuts so you will probably be getting another batch in the future!

Circus Peanut Salad

Circus Peanut Salad

Circus Peanut Salad, from my Grandma

Ingredients:
30 Circus Peanuts, cut up into small pieces
1-6oz package of orange jello
2-8oz cans of crushed pineapple
2 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water
1 container whipped topping, thawed

Directions:

Dissolve jello in boiling water.  Once jello powder is incorporated, add circus peanuts to dissolve.

Drain cans of pineapple and add juice to the cold water.  Mix pineapple liquid with the first mixture.  Place in fridge and allow to partially set.

Mix whipped topping and crushed pineapple.  Fold whipped topping mixture into the jello and place back in fridge to set.

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Fajita Bowls

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When I was pregnant I anticipated my appetite changing…and I was partly right. I didn’t really have a taste for much of anything, other than frozen pizza in the beginning. Then when I had my appetite back, everything tasted good. The day I told Bernie I made the best piggies-in-a-blanket I had ever tasted in my life, he stopped trusting my judgement. I didn’t really expect my appetite to change after pregnancy. Maybe it is just a fluke, but ever since I carried Alex I could live off Mexican food and chocolate. That being said, this is my favorite dish we eat at home. If I had to pick one thing to eat for a whole week this would be it. It is simple and you can tailor it to your tastes. We based this dish off our order at Qdoba Mexican Grill – Fajita Ranchera Naked Burrito. I always make extra so I can have it again the next day for lunch. So really, this isn’t a new recipe, just a meal idea…but no way I could leave this one out since I love it so much!

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Fajita Bowls, from Me, inspired by QDoba

What you need:

Batch of chicken (or steak) fajitas
Spanish Rice – this is my favorite until I can find a recipe we love
Mexican corn

Some more ideas for toppings:
salsa
black beans, rinsed and drained
monterey jack cheese
lettuce

Combine and enjoy!!