Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Not to worry, dear Hutchinson friends!  I've only moved my blog:

I had wordpress before (on my previous blog) and I just really like it more than blogger.  So, I'll no longer be at this address.

If you don't have facebook or twitter, please send me you email at sharacampbell(at)gmail(dot)com so I can add you to my blog email list.  OR there's also a link on the right side of my new blog to sign up to receive updated posts.

Hope to see you there!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dark Chocolate Cake

Well, Friends...I've offically been recipe blogging for a month now and I love it.  This isn't a long time  compared to most bloggers out there, but I'm pretty proud of myself!  I started out with blogger because of it's simplicity but I'm ready to move to another site - for good.  So, starting tomorrow, Feb 1, I will be moving to another site.  I'll let you know then......

Now on to the good stuff! I've been craving something chocolatey for the past several days.  I let Reagan pick and she decided she wanted chocolate cake.  mmmmmmm...this is heavenly!
Dark Chocolate Cake
2 c boiling water
1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c butter
2 1/4 c sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heavily grease a 9 inch bundt pan.  In medium bowl, mix boiling water and cocoa powder.  Stir together very well and let cool.  Meanwhile, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in another medium bowl.  Set aside.  In your mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar well - at least 2 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well again.  Add half of the flour mixture and mix. Slowly poor in cocoa/water mixture and make sure everything is mixed well.  Add the last half of the flour mixture and combine well for the last time.  Make sure to mix all the way to the bottom.  Pour into bundt pan and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool.  Frost with you favorite frosting.
In the words of my fantastic Uncle Ron:
"Well, that'll just jerk the pounds right off ya!"

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fried Chicken Stips & Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I missed my first post yesterday....I have a good reason though.  I was doing our taxes....ugh.  It would be a lot more simple if I'd be a lot more organized.

Just to let you know. I know how to be organized.  I even like to be organized.  You should have seen my room my senior year in high school when I finally had my own room: everything had it's place and it stayed in it's place. (I shared a room with my sis all 17 years prior to this - she's 5 years younger and had a creative streak much like my lil' Reagan - who always has her creative stuff everywhere :D  I love ya, Katrina!)  BUT then I had 3 kids and I've lost my organization's probably under the boys' bed...yikes!

So back to my taxes....I started gathering the paperwork around 2:30pm and finally finished up at 10:45pm.  I stopped only long enough to fix dinner: Fried Chicken Strips, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, gravy, and carrots.  Crazy - I know.  Especially on the day I decide to do taxes, but I'd already promised Mike I'd make this before I got the motivation to do our taxes.

Fried Chicken Strips
3 skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
30 saltines, crushed finely (or your favorite cracker!)
1/4 c instant potato flakes
2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp Shara's House Seasoning
1/4 c flour
2 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
oil for frying

Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Combine saltines, potato flakes, 2 Tbsp flour, and house seasoning in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, beat eggs and milk.  In another small bowl, add the 1/4 cup of flour.  First, dip the strips in the flour, then the egg mixture, then the saltine mixture.  Fry each batch for about 8-9 minutes - turning once - until chicken is cooked through and the outside coating is golden brown.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
3-4 large potatoes
1 stick of butter (1/2 c)
2 tsp Shara's House Seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
5 Tbsp Romano or parmesan cheese

Clean and dice the potatoes.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Boil until potatoes become fork-tender - about 30 minutes.  Drain off water.  Place all the ingredients in your mixer and mix well.

It was all worth it though!  Mike did the dishes :D  I love him.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

English Muffin Bread

We've made it to Thursday!  It's Pizza Night!! Yeah!!

However, since I've already posted my pizza dough recipe, I'll just post a recipe for this yummy English Muffin Bread - it's wonderful for breakfast or toasted sandwiches because it toasts up so well.

English Muffin Bread
6 c flour
2 pkg instant yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 c warm milk
1/2 c warm water

Mix 1 cup of flour with yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda.  Add milk and water.  Mix well for about 5 minutes.  Add rest of flour, 1/2 cup at a time to make sticky dough.  Form into 2 loaves and place in greased loaf pans, sprinkled with cornmeal.  Spray top of dough loaves with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Let rise for 45 minute and then bake in a 400 degree oven for 25-35 minutes.

Here's one of the loaves before it began rising.

The loaves in this picture are small because my mixer won't hold any recipe that requires 6 cups of flour.  I halved the recipe to make two small loaves. You could also make 1 large loaf.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Today has been a fabulously uneventful day.  Oh, I did a few things like watching lil' Adie for a few hours this morning and another lil' Lucy for an hour over lunch, and I got the computer programmed for Sunday's 2nd hour worship, and I made Snickerdoodles (see below), but other than that....I've been glued to my computer, reading the Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.  I can't get enough of her and her kids and her life.  She is soooo stinkin' funny.  And she's a great cook.  And she takes awesome pictures.  And I can't forget to mention that she's from Oklahoma - Pawhuska, no less!!  A mere hour from where my parents live!

When I knew the kids were about to come home from school, I literally had peel myself away from my  lovely lil' mac and get started on the Snickerdoodles.  My kids love them.  Mike loves them.  Anytime I ask them what kind of cookie they'd like me to make, it's these.  So, Clarky and I got a batch whipped up before the kids walked through the door.  I won't lie....they are pretty tasty!

Shara's Snickerdoodles
1 c butter
1/2 c oil
1 c sugar
1 c powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
4 1/2 c flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream butter, oil, sugar, and powder sugar in your mixing bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Blend well.  Add baking soda and cream of tartar and mix well again.  Add flour 1/2 cup at time until you've added all of it.  Mix well.  Drop by tablespoon size onto a plate and sprinkle generously with cinnamon-sugar.  Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Oh, and before, I case you were wondering what we had for dinner....
leftovers :D
And nobody complained too much...
(though Cade did "mention" how wonderful his IHOP omelette was last night, as he was eating mac & cheese and a pulled pork sandwich with homemade bread...I'm not so sure he's mine, except for the small thing that he looks exactly like me and acts exactly like my dad, but still......)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oatmeal Wheat Buns

Today was a fantastic day :D  I just felt very domestic - which doesn't happen very often!  I usually feel like I'm just trying to survive.  However, today was different -
I got the dishes done!
I got 2 loads of laundry done (even folded & put away!)
I fixed lunch for 2 lil' toddlers (babysittin' day)!
I made bread!
I had carpool!
I made a trip to Walmart with all three kids and I didn't want to kill them when we got back in the truck!

I have a couple of side stories before I get to the recipe....

I realized this morning that Cade's shoes were way too little, but I didn't know how much until we got to the store and he started trying on shoes.  Please keep in mind that my "lil" 2nd grader is nearly 4 ft 9 in and wearing a size 5 shoe that apparently was too small.  I had him try on the biggest kids size: a 6.  TOO SMALL?! What?!  So we gathered up everyone and headed to the adult male shoe section...he tried on a man's size 7 and. they. fit.  omg my 2nd grader is wearing a man's size 7 shoe....
Can you tell which is Mike's and which is Cade's?

I also realized this morning as I was doing laundry, that Clark, my 3 year old is wearing underwear larger (size 6) than my 6 year old daughter, Reagan (size 4).  Nice.....when did that happen?  I'm very observant as you can tell...

Obviously a trip to Walmart was in order (though I really prefer Target, but I must admit that Walmart has some cheap tennis shoes...good for fast growing boys).

This brings me to my second story...

On the way home from WallyWorld, Reagan asked if we could eat at IHOP for dinner.  I told her she needs to be asking her daddy:

Rae: But he'll just say no....
Me:  Not if you butter him up
Rae: What do you mean?
Me: Ask him sweetly and give him a hug & kiss
Rae (with an ornery smile): Ooookaaaay

We made a stop at the church so that Cade could show his new shoes to Mike, and Reagan worked her magic like a well oiled  and we enjoyed dinner at IHOP  (I honestly didn't care either way because I (unlike the rest of my family) actually enjoy leftovers, which is what we were going to have tonight)

Anyhooo, here's the bread I made today and it is oh so yummy!

Oatmeal Wheat Buns
1 c warm milk
1/2 c warm water
1/4 c butter, softened
2 pkg instant yeast
1/4 c brown sugar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 c cooked oatmeal, cooled
3 Tbsp potato flour
1 c whole wheat flour
3 1/2 c flour

Place wheat flour, potato flour, brown sugar, sugar, and yeast into mixing bowl.  Mix briefly.  Add milk,  water, and butter.  Mix well, and let yeast begin to bubble - about 2-3 minutes.  Next add salt, egg, and cooled, cooked oatmeal.  Make sure everything is mixed well.  Begin adding the white flour, 1/2 a cup at a time until you've added enough to make a soft dough (dough will be slightly sticky because of the oatmeal) and mix/knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes.  Place dough in greased bowl, cover with plastic or a towel,  and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Now make dough into hamburger bun shapes (I can usually get about 18) and let rise for another 30 minutes.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

hehe :D

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chicken Fajitas

Although I dread Mondays, I always look forward to Mexican Night.  I think this is why I subconsciously picked Mondays to be Mexican Night :D  Not only is Mexican food my favorite, it's also very easy to throw together!  Tonight we had Chicken Fajitas...mmmmmm!

Chicken Fajitas
3 uncooked skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp Fajita Seasoning (see recipe below)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 green pepper, slice thin

Combine worcestershire sauce, soy, vinegar, and fajita seasoning.  Stir well and add chicken.  Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or cover and marinate in refrigerator for several hours.  Heat oil over high heat.  Add chicken strips and saute for 5 minutes.  Add onions and peppers and saute another 3 minutes.  Be careful to not overcook or chicken will be dry! Remove from heat and sprinkle with lime juice.  Serve with warm flour tortillas and favorite toppings.

Fajita Seasoning
5 Tbsp cumin
4 tsp oregano, crushed
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (or more if you like it spicier)
2 tsp pepper
4 tsp garlic powder
4 tsp onion powder

Stir together and keep in air tight container.  Makes about 2/3 c of seasoning - enough for about 10 batches of fajitas.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Biscuits & Gravy

I'm just gonna be honest with you.  There are times I wish I wasn't a pastor's wife.  I never doubted marrying Mike, I mean, he's the guy I chose to marry.  However, I had NO IDEA what it meant to marry a pastor.  I was just marrying Mike.  There are a lot of joys, but there's also heartache, and I literally mean heart aches, especially for this emotional & highly sensitive person.  And even though I look forward to going to church every week, it's emotionally draining for this introvert.  Why is it that the church is supposed to be a safe place, but can house the meanest people?  Just goes to show that we are all just normal people, even if we call ourselves "Christian".

Anyhooooo, I'll come off my soap box now....

Today was just one of those days, and I ate a few too many of these and I still felt the need for some more comfort food for dinner tonight.  So, I made biscuits and sausage gravy.  Yeah....that hit the spot.

3 c flour
1/4 c sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 c shortening
1 c + 2 Tbsp milk
1 egg

If baking immediately, preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and cream of tartar.  Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two knives.  Combine egg with milk and pour into flour mixture.  Mix well.  Pat out onto floured surface and cut into biscuits.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  These can be frozen.  Just thaw before baking.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Shara's Oatmeal Bars

What a excellent day :D

1.  I got to sleep in!!
2.  I got to spend some time with my bestie...I really needed some girl time!
3.  I got to take a nap!
4.  The kiddos played really well together!
5.  We had homemade pizza!
6.  I got to make one of my favorite cookie bars for our Pizza with the Pastors Lunch tomorrow!

The only downer of the day was that Mike and I were supposed to go out on a date tonight.  And technically, we still could have gone, but both agreed it was for the best.  He'll be preaching tomorrow because our Sr. Pastor is under the weather, and we felt the time would be better spent on him preparing.  Oh well!  Thank goodness we made plans in advance for an early Valentine's date 2 weeks from now! :D

Here's those yummy bars:

Shara's Oatmeal Bars
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 c oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 c flour
3 c quick oats
1 c chocolate chips
1 c butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 10x15 or half-sheet baking pan (13x18).  Combine sugar, brown sugar, and oil in mixer.  Mix well.  Add eggs and vanilla and make sure everything is combined well.  Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, flour and oats.  Combine again.  Lastly, add in chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.  Dough will be very sticky and thick.  Spread dough out into pan.  Dough will seem too stiff, but just keep working it out to the edges.  It really puffs up during baking!  Bake for 15 minutes or just until edges begin to brown.  Cool completely before cutting.

And I'm just throwin' this pic in because he's just so darn cute...I mean, look at those lil' freckles!  After his shower tonight, he went and fixed his hair all by himself.  He's already turning into a metro like his daddy :D  I had to hurry & snap this pic before he put his ninja mask on to take on Cader & Daddy....LOL

Friday, January 22, 2010

Potato Wedges

We finally had the pulled pork barbeque sandwiches tonight!  We were supposed to have them Wednesday, but well, that didn't happen.  I served them with pasta salad and potato wedges.  Mike told me tonight that everything was really good, but the potatoes were "the money" (in the words of Guy Fieri - Food Network chef with crazy white pointy hair and host of one of our fav shows, Diner's Drive-Ins, & Dives).  So, I decided to put up this recipe tonight.

Potato Wedges
3 medium potatoes
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Shara's House Seasoning (see below for recipe)
2 Tbsp dry ranch mix (or half a package)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Wash and cut potatoes into desired length and thickness (I cut mine about 2 inches in length by about 1/2 in thick, but there was no real measurement!!  I didn't get my ruler out or  In a medium bowl, mix the oil, house seasoning, and ranch.  Add potatoes and stir to coat.  Dump potatoes onto baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 25-35 minutes (stirring every 15 minutes) or until fork tender.  If potatoes are not browned and crispy, switch oven to Broil and bake until desired crispiness.

Shara's House Seasoning
1/2 c salt
2 Tbsp black pepper
3 Tbsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp onion powder

Mix well and use in place of regular salt & pepper :D

I also baked up a few Oatmeal Cookies because our dear friend, Chuck and his lovely new bride, Andrea, came over for a short visit after dinner.  Chuck said, "I always make room for Shara's Cookies!"  He got "brownie" points for that!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Country Stew

It's a dreary, cold day outside, and since we had pizza last night, tonight was Parent's Choice.  What did we choose?  Stew & sandwiches.  I'll be using the pork roast I cooked up yesterday in my crockpot.  I also baked up a couple of loaves of French Bread.

Country Stew
6 c water
2 Tbsp beef bouillon (or 6 cubes)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1/4 c cornstarch
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
4 lg carrots, peeled and diced
1 can green beans, undrained
1 c frozen peas
4 c cooked roast (pork or beef)

Place all your ingredients except cornstarch in your crockpot and cover.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  In the last hour, mix your cornstarch with about 1/4 of broth from crockpot to make a slurry.  Pour back into stew and mix well.  Continue to cook for the last hour or until all veggies are tender.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ranch Vinaigrette

Soooo, it's been one of those days.  You know the kind, where everything just seems to not go the way you want it and to top it off, you have a headache all day.  Yeah, well, I woke up with the headache, then realized I forgot to put my pork roast in the crockpot last night; decided to pop it in the microwave just to defrost it enough so that it would be ready by dinner, but my microwave quit working (it's 12 years old - I knew it was gonna happen soon, but wasn't happy it happened this morning).  Kinda just went down hill from there, and Mike (my fabulous, fantastic, wonderful hubby) picked up some pizza for us on his way home tonight.  So, my pulled pork sandwiches will be for tomorrow night, I guess :D

I wanted to share this homemade dressing with you and I'll be honest, the basis of this recipe came from my Momma.  Now, SHE is an amazing cook...I dream to be like her someday :D

If you love ranch dressing but you're looking for something lower in calories (a long time ago, I figured it out to be 63 calories for 2 Tbsp) or maybe you just like tangy vinaigrettes rather than creamy dressings, then you've got to give this a try.  It's my favorite!

Ranch Vinaigrette
1 c vinegar
1/2 c oil
1/4 c water
1 pkg dry ranch mix

Add all ingredients to a jar.  Cover and shake well.  Store in refrigerator.  It will separate while in fridge, so be sure to shake well before using.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ciabatta Change

Change - is a difficult thing for me, most of the time.  I like changing stuff around on my computer, aka blog (as you've probably noticed...I'm just trying to get it to look just right - my perfectionism at it's best); I like changing the furniture around in our house; I like changing up recipes.  But when it comes to big life stuff, I don't handle it so well (friends changing or moving, changes at church, someone else changing my stuff impulsively). However, I'm not one of those kinds that fights it kicking and screaming...just more like sulking and crying :D  I also know from experience that it is a necessary process, for growing, for becoming more mature, for gaining wisdom, for becoming the woman God that wants me to be.

Last summer, we noticed a cocoon on the outside of our garage.  It was super cool.  Everyday we'd check on it.  It went from a vibrant green color to black.  At one point, I wasn't even for sure that it was a cocoon.  But then one day it looked like this:

I could actually see the print of the butterfly.  And by the end of the day it looked like this:

Leave it to God to teach us about patience, change, endurance, beauty through a tiny little butterfly.

So what does this have to do with food?!  Tonight is pasta night and I wanted to make Ciabatta bread to go with it.  I've never made this bread b/c of the length of time it takes.  It begins with a starter that has to proof for at least 8 hours, then mixes with some more ingredients and it changes.  Then proofs again for another 2 hours, and it changes again.  Then you shape it and it proofs one more time - for another hour.  However, the outcome from the patience and changing process is beauty:

The length of time is what gives the bread such a deep flavor and the awesome airy pockets in the texture.

God knew what He was doing with nature, with the science of this delicious Ciabatta bread, and He knows what He's doing with me.

Just for my benefit, I'm gonna repeat that last part...He knows what He's doing with me.

Ciabatta Bread
1 1/2 c flour
1 c cool water
1/16 tsp instant yeast
all of the starter
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp dry milk
1/4 c lukewarm water
2 Tbsp olive oil

For Starter: Mix the starter ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Cover the starter and let it rest at room temperature at least 8 hours, overnight, or for up to 15 hours. It will become bubbly.

Place all of the dough ingredients, including the starter, into the bowl of your mixer, and beat at medium speed, using the flat beater, for 7 minutes. The dough will be very smooth, soft, shiny, and elastic. (it will even look a little runny - if it doesn't, add 1-2 Tbsp water).   Transfer dough to a greased bowl or other rising container, cover it, and let it rise for 1 hour, deflate it and rise another hour.  Grease your large baking sheet and grease your hands. Transfer dough onto pan and split in two parts, using your hands or a tool of your choice.  Do this very gently as you don't want to deflate it. It'll lose a bit of volume, but don't actively punch it down. Shape into 2 logs.  Let rise for another 45 minutes - 1 hour.  Halfway through, dimple the top with your fingers (this means, just poke it a few times - lol)  Towards the end of this rising, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spritz the loaves with water.  Some of the dimples should have disappeared by this time.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.  This bread is perfect with pasta, made into garlic toast, used for making sub sandwiches.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Well, tonight was Mexican Night and we had Chalupas.  This meat is fantastic on a tortilla like in my picture, or even just topped with a little sour cream and salsa and used as a dip. It's wonderful and delicious and makes a ton and freezes well. It's an all around great dish to make!

2 lbs pork roast 
2 Tbsp chili powder 
2 Tbsp garlic powder 
2 tsp oregano 
2 Tbsp cumin 
1 Tbsp vinegar 
1 Tbsp salt 
pepper to taste 
1-2 lbs dry pinto beans, rinsed

Place all ingredients in a crockpot.  Cover with water and cook on high until roast is tender and beans are tender, at least 8 hours. Break up roast with fork and serve with flour tortillas or nacho chips.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Shara's Oatmeal Cookies

Oh, how I love oatmeal cookies. The earthy cinnamon and oats, the chocolatey goodness of the slightly melted chocolate chips....mmmmm. This recipe is my collision of an old recipe that my maternal grandmother makes and another recipe I found on the internet. They're soft, chewy, cinnamony, chocolatey, yummy. Which is why I HAD to make them this afternoon! :D

Shara's Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 c butter
1/2 c butter flavored shortenting
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c flour
3 c quick oats
1 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, butter flavored shortening, brown sugar, sugar, and pudding mix. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into the sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until light and golden. Do not overbake. Let them cool for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheets to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Make sure you eat a few right away, because they don't last long!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches

Today is Brunch & Leftovers day. We had my version of bacon/egg mcmuffins for brunch and then leftovers from the week for early dinner. I fixed these yummy lil' sandwiches early this week, but saved it for today's post.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

1/2 c shortening
1 egg
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c milk

2 Tbsp butter, softened
2 Tbsp shortening
1/2 c marshmallow creme
2/3 c powdered sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cookie: Beat 1/2 c shortening, egg, sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Add flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add milk. Blend slowly until mixed well. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes.

Filling: Cream butter and shortening. Add marshmallow cream and powdered sugar. Add vanilla. Spread in between 2 cookies to make a sandwich.

And, in case you were wondering, these are 2 of my favorite things in my kitchen (my KitchenAid, which I've had for 10yrs now and my blue spatula):

Friday, January 15, 2010

You Asked

I got a request earlier this week for Sloppy Joes...well, I aim to please :D Friday is typically Burger Night, and since Sloppy Joes are made with ground beef and you put it on a hamburger bun...well, there you go. Plus - I like these waaaaaaay better than a burger!

Sloppy Joes

3/4 c ketchup
1 tsp mustard
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 c chopped onion & green peppers
1 lb ground beef

Brown ground beef with onions & peppers. Season well with salt & pepper, to taste. While beef is cooking, mix up ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Set aside. Drain grease from beef. Add in ketchup mixture. Stir and then simmer for about 10 minutes, or until completely heated through. Place cooked Sloppy Joe mix on a hamburger bun; top with cheese, if desired.

My kids (and Mike) are not fond of veggies like onions and green peppers, esp the peppers. As an alternative, I just add onion powder (about 1/2 tsp) to my ketchup mix. When I went to Glenn's Bulk Foods on Monday, I picked up some dehydrated green & red peppers, and thought I'd give it a try tonight (about 1/2 tsp). I loved it! AND I got no complaints about the "green thingies"!

P.S. Kuddos to my fantastic hubby who's been taking the pics of all my food this week. He's awesome at photography :D

For your enjoyment, here's some pics of my crazy kids...LOL

Cade - he's 8

Clark's 3

And then there's Reagan, 6. She's the craziest one!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pizza Pizza

We love Pizza Night around here! Last week, PapaJohn's cooked for me :D This week, I'm back to my old self and was ready for some homemade stuff. I doubled my dough recipe which made 2 large pizzas and a small pan of breadsticks.

Pizza Dough
2 pkgs yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 c very warm water
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp italian seasoning or pizza seasoning (optional)
1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 - 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Dump the wheat flour plus 1/2 c of regular flour into mixer. Add yeast, sugar, and warm water. Mix well for about 3 minutes, until yeast is completely dissolved and bubbles start to form. Add olive oil, garlic salt, and seasoning (if desired). Mix well. Add enough rest of flour to form a stiff dough. Knead in mixer for about 5 minutes or until dough looks smooth. Let rest for about 10-15 minutes while you prepare toppings. After letting dough rest, divide into 2 parts and stretch out on 2 greased pizza pans or don't divide and put on 1 large half sheet baking pan. Top with pizza sauce and your favorite toppings. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is thoroughly melted.

Our toppings of choice tonight (nearly every week, actually): half cheese/half pepperoni
and thin crust Cheeseburger (for me and Mike)

We had a ton leftover....good thing the kids want sack lunches for school tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Brown Sugar Chicken

It's been another busy day with running errands, and so I love using my crockpot on these kind of days. Since tonight was Parent's Choice, and since Mike and I love Chinese food, I made Brown Sugar Chicken. This is so, so easy to throw together. The recipe calls for chicken breasts, but I actually prefer to use chicken thighs if I have them (which is what I used today).

Brown Sugar Chicken

2 lbs frozen, boneless chicken, cut into chunks
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2/3 c vinegar
1/4 c lemon-lime soda (or whatever you might have on hand - I actually use Diet Coke!)
1 c brown sugar
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper (to taste)

Place frozen chicken in crockpot. Mix together rest of ingredients in a bowl and pour over the top of the chicken. Cover with lid and set crockpot to low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. Serve with rice or fried rice.

As I was reading one of my favorite blogs today (Baker's Banter), I saw a post about a Mystery Cake. Welllll, since I'm a Campbell, here's my version of this old cake:

Campbell's Cake
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 can Campbell's Tomato soup
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
Cream Cheese frosting (I used Betty Crocker's)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch round pan or one muffin tin (12 count). Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Open tomato soup and add the baking soda, stir. It will foam up like this:

Add this to the creamed mixture, and mix well. It will look curdled, but this is okay :D In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and spices. Add this to the rest of the tomato mixture and beat well (on medium for 1-2 minutes). Pour batter into pan or divide out into muffin tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes for 9 inch pan or 20-25 minutes for cupcakes. Cool completely and top with Cream Cheese frosting.

Seeing as I always get at least one set of the rolled eyes and "I don't really like Chinese" or "do I have to eat the rice?", these yummy lil' spiced cupcakes were the redeeming factor.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside

Brrrrr - it's cold outside, guys!! It's way colder than I thought it was going to be (I thought it was going to be in the 50's, but I know it didn't reached that!) I even saw it snowing a little this morning! On days like this, I just want to grab a cup of hot tea, a blanket, and a book or my computer and hibernate. I didn't have this luxury today seeing as how the dishes were piled up and I hadn't done laundry since....ummm.....last Thursday and I still needed to get my thank you's done from Christmas and well, you know how it goes.

I know that tonight is pasta night, and I did make homemade Mac-n-Cheese for the kiddos, but I wanted something a little lower in fat but filling for me & Mike. Here's what I fixed:

Mexican Beef Soup
1 26oz jar of salsa (I used Great Value Corn & Black Bean from Walmart b/c that's my favorite and it has the extra veggies & beans; if you like stuff spicy, use hot salsa!)
3 c beef broth (chicken or veggie broth would be fine, too, though)
2 c cooked hamburger (I used our leftovers from last night's tacos!) (you could even use up leftover roast..yum!)
1 can of corn, undrained

Dump everything in your pot and simmer on the stove until hot or better yet, dump it in your crockpot in the morning, set it on low, and you'll be good to go for dinner!

I actually fixed this at lunch and it literally took me,

at the max, 20 minutes to throw together and heat up. I topped it with some crushed tortilla chips. YUMMO! Even though I made this at lunch, we'll be having it again for supper.

Baked Cheesy Macaroni
2 c uncooked pasta
1/4 c flour
2 3/4 c milk
1/2 c cheese powder
3 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package. Grease a 2 quart dish. Over medium heat, whisk together flour, cheese powder, and milk. (cheese powder may not want to dissolve - this is okay). Bring to a boil. Remove this from heat and add 2 cups of cheddar, salt, and pepper. Stir until cheddar melts. Add this to cooked pasta and pour all into your greased pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Take out and add remaining 1 cup of cheese. Bake another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

You'll notice the Diet Coke in the'll probably see this a lot.... :D

I told you yesterday about my visit to Glenn's Bulk Foods. I also mentioned how much I love this store. I used to buy my specialty baking items online, never knowing this little gem of a store was only a short drive out of Hutchinson. Once I finally went there, I've never looked back. I no longer have to pay shipping for all my baking needs (and wants)!!!! When I went there yesterday, I decided to finally try their cheese powder, perfect for making homemade mac-n-cheese. One of the Mennonite ladies working there was willing to share a simple recipe for how to use this powder (and I will try this recipe another time), but I decided to try my own version of a baked mac-n-cheese.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's Monday...Again

Well, Ya'll....I'm t i r e d! Mondays are a crazy: Clark to speech therapy, got half of my groceries at Glen's Bulk Foods (awesome, awesome, awesome store, by the way!), came home to babysit my lil' Lucy over the lunch hour, finished up getting my other half of groceries @ Walmart (ugh), and by this time, the older two were home from school....starving, of course. Good thing it's Mexican night...Tacos! Easy, Peasy!

Brown up some hamburger meat, sprinkle on your favorite seasoning. Warm up the taco shells and tortillas. Set out your favorite toppings (tonight we had refried beans, farmer's cheese, chopped romaine, leftover corn, & salsa).

If you haven't discovered these yet, I want to introduce you to these yummy little white corn taco shells. We tried them several months ago, and I'll never go back to buying yellow corn shells. These are just too good. Very light and crispy!!