Saturday, May 30, 2009

Peanut Butter Delights

Yes people I came up with my very own cookie recipe and if you enjoy peanut butter than this will more than likely become a favorite for you. The addition of peanut butter and milk chocolate chips adds to the peanut buttery goodness.

Peanut Butter Delights~

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1-11 oz bag Tollhouse peanut butter and milk chocolate chips

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease two baking sheets.

2.) Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in the peanut butter and vanilla extract.

3.) Combine the flour 1/4 of a cup at a time. Add the baking soda and the salt. Mix until everything is incorporated.

4.) Gently fold in the peanut butter and milk chocolate chips.

5.) Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to sit on baking sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack until completely cooled.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Veggie Pizza

This another dish I learned how to make from my Step-Mom, it's a favorite of ours that doesn't get made very often but this week I was having a hankering for it. The hardest part of making this pizza is all of the chopping involved. If you want to cut some chopping corners use your food processor or you can buy everything pre-chopped and ready to go straight from your grocers salad bar.

Veggie Pizza

2 tubes of crescent rolls
1 8oz. block cream cheese, softened
1 16oz. container sour cream
1 packet of Hidden Vally Ranch Seasoning
4 cups shredded carrots
4 cups finely chopped broccoli
4 cups finely chopped cauliflower
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese

1.) Roll out each tube of crescent rolls onto baking sheet, pressing together edges to form a pizza crust. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown. Allow to cool. (One tube of crescent rolls for each pan)

2.) Mix together softened cream cheese, sour cream, and ranch seasoning.

3.) Chop up vegetables and set aside.

4.) Put half of cream cheese/sour cream mixture on each "pizza" crust. Spread evenly.

5.) Top each crust with half of carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. Sprinkle with half of the shredded cheese and top with cherry tomatoes.

6.) Chill for one to two hours.
We often times eat this as our main dish, however it's great for snacking. The vegetables that I have listed above are the ones we like sticking to however feel free to experiment by adding different veggies.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I first saw this recipe on Monday and I had full intentions of whipping up a batch that night. Laziness got the better of me though. I had a full weekend of cooking, baby-sitting four dogs by myself, cleaning my house, and oh yeah...getting my very first speeding ticket. I was spent and decided to wait a day or two to make them.

The plan was to make them last night so when I ran home for lunch yesterday I set out two sticks of butter, I placed them high up on the counter resting on top of several canisters. When I came home the butter was gone, vanished, no where to be found. I thought...maybe Daniel stuck them back in the fridge before he left for work. Nope, not in the fridge...where in God's name are they I asked myself, questioning whether or not I had really set them out? Reality hit me when I noticed Lennon wasn't his normal puppy self. He was a bit sluggish and did nothing but go back and forth from the living room to outside on the Florida room. For crying out loud, first it was pineapple, then loaves of bread, followed by about a cup of grease that I had drained from some ground it was butter. The dog ate the butter and the wrappers to boot without leaving a trace of his poor judgment on my counters.

Anyway, these cookies were pretty good. I thought they were a little bitter from too much cocoa powder so next time I think I will ease up on it.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies~
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

2.) In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

3.) Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or just until set. Cool slightly on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

This is the third food item that I have made that has required baking that has come out successfully. I didn't forget ingredients or skip important steps. Maybe I am starting to gain the patience I have been lacking in the baking department.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Banana Banana Bread

I had four very ripe bananas that I needed to use up quick or risk losing to the trash can. Of course whenever someone has bananas that need to be used ASAP what better to make with them than banana bread. I found this recipe off of allrecipes and it has thousands of reviews. I made it according to the directions and boy was it good with a nice cold glass of milk.

Banana Banana Bread~
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
Hope everyone enjoys. I think next time I am going to add a touch of cinnamon and a touch of vanilla extract.

I am off to make Daniel his chocolate chocolate chip cookies that got derailed yesterday due to the fact I have a one year old Great Dane that likes to eat sticks of butter at room temperature. He paid dearly for it last night...someone had a bad tummy ache!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken

Tonight to go along with the pasta salad that I made I decided to do grilled chicken. Normally I just marinate my chicken in italian dressing and then slather on some BBQ sauce while it finishes on the grill. I decided to try something different tonight so I searched on allrecipes and this is what I came up with.

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken~
1/3 c. dijon mustard
1/4 c. honey
2 tbsp. mayo
1 tsp. steak sauce
4 chicken breasts

1.) In a bowl mix together wet ingredients, add chicken and allow to marinate for 2 to 3 hours.
2.) Grill, using extra sauce to baste with periodically during the grilling process.

I doubled the recipe for 8 chicken breasts and I also omitted the mayo as I hadn't realized we didn't have any and I didn't want to use Miracle Whip. This chicken was really good although I thought it was a little too sweet. No one else agreed with me as they all thought it was perfectly fine.

Shout out to my Uncle Dan for manning the grill. I am intimated by the charcoal grill so he happily took over the reins!

Katie's Pasta Salad

Katie's Pasta Salad~
1 lb. bow tie pasta, cooked and drained
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cucumber, peeled and diced into quarters
1 16oz. bottle italian dressing
1 block colby cheese, cubed
1 cup pepperoni, quartered

1.) Cook pasta according to the box, drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside to cool.
2.) Chop all of your vegetables and add to a big bowl. Add pasta and gently toss.
3.) Toss in pepperoni and then mix in dressing. Tossing gently. Add colby cheese.
4.) Refrigerate for 4-8 hours.

I make this dish several times throughout the summer. It's great for BBQ's!! You can also use any sort of pasta that you have on hand.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Trail Mix Cookies

Trail Mix Cookies~

1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup dried cranberries (I omitted these)

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 baking sheets.

2.) Beat applesauce, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.

3.) In another bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg whites until they are frothy and begin to firm up. Fold egg whites into applesauce mixture.

4.) Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Fold into the egg mixture. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, walnuts, and cranberries.

5.) Drop by heaping teaspoons on prepared baking sheets.

6.) Bake cookies in preheated oven until set and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove immediately to wire racks to cool.

These turned out so yummy. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. I hope Daniel and his buddies enjoy them. We both had one last night to try them out and we both agreed...they are keepers. To make them extra healthy I used whole wheat flour instead of white flour. I couldn't tell a difference.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Simply Amazing...

It's simply amazing how needing to go to the grocery puts a damper on blogging. After all, how can you blog about food when you have none at home? I hate going to the grocery by myself. Mainly because of the "what if I have to go to the bathroom while checking out" thing that races through my mind. It's just lovely what having Crohn's disease can do to a person's mind set. That is why 9 out of 10 times, Daniel must be present with me. Of course going during the week is out of the question because my Hubby works second shift and I of course work first and that leaves going to the grocery together simply impossible.

I finally broke down and went by myself last night like a big girl, only to grab some basics to get me through the next few days and plus to get Daniel some food for his kayaking trip. Can someone say tuna packs and banana Everything has to be packaged small and obviously can't require cooling or heating so he is going to be living off of tuna, beef jerky, and a few other things for the next three days. This while I sit back and enjoy the Memorial Day festivities...hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, pasta salad, cake, "cold" beverages. You have fun with your kayaking self sweetie, the boys and I will see you on Monday, HAHAHA! We'll do our best to save you a hot dog.

Anyway, while I am not posting any recipes with this particular entry, I wanted to warn everyone to buckle up because there are going to be quite a few posts over the course of the Memorial Day weekend. Starting with the homemade granola bars and trail mix cookies I am whipping up tonight for Daniel to take with him this weekend. My goal is to make him the cool kid with the yummy snacks that I kindly pack enough of so he can share with his pals. Nobody can accuse me of not loving my Husband by golly.

Be smart and safe this holiday weekend...I want to see posts from everyone on Tuesday!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Beer Butt Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

Since we didn't get finished with our rescue event until 4 o'clock today we decided to skip out on the family dinner. We had dogs to get home to and we were both worn out. I am not sure where this meal came from but this is what we decided to make. An excuse for Daniel to grill something.

Daniel's Beer Butt Chicken:
1 whole chicken
1 can beer
Dry Rub

1.) Rub down your chicken with your favorite dry rub, making sure that it is smeared in all the nooks and crannies.
2.) Take your beer can and set in the middle of your charcoal grill, make sure you pop the tab. Place chicken over the can of beer.
3.) Grill for about 2 hours, rotating the chicken every half an hour.

Katie's Roasted Potatoes~
Dozen small red potatoes, diced up
2 tbsp. rosemary
onion powder
extra virgin olive oil

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.) On a baking dish add potatoes and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, a good helping of salt, a couple of pinches of pepper, and about a 2 tsp. of onion powder. With your hands toss the potatoes.
3.) Bake for about an hour or until golden brown.

Ranch Turkey Melt

I had a sandwich similar to this one a few months ago at a restaurant and in my quest to try to recreate it this is what I came up with. It is so good and so easy. You can add so many different ingredients to it that it's very versatile when serving multiple people.

Ranch Turkey Melt

2 slices Texas Toast
2 slices of turkey breast
1 tbsp. ranch dressing
1 slice of cheese
butter to spread on bread

1.) In a skillet over medium heat add one slice of bread, buttered on the side going down on pan. Add sliced turkey, ranch dressing, and cheese, and top with second slice of bread, buttered on the side that will eventually be turned over.
2.) Allow to brown on each side. You will probably have to turn the heat down some in order to ensure the meat gets warm and the cheese is melted without burning the bread.

Some great additions to this sandwich would be two slices of bacon and a couple of slices of fresh tomato. Neither of which I had on hand but wish that I did. You could also substitute the ranch dressing for thousand island.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mini Cheesecakes

As some of you may know both myself and Daniel volunteer for the Great Dane rescue where Wagner, Toby, and Lennon were all adopted from. We go to various rescue events helping to spread the word about homeless animals looking for their forever homes. So many dogs are ending up in shelters and rescues, whether it be because of the economy or because adopters weren't prepared to deal with an animal. The idea of so many dogs losing their lives each year because of overcrowded shelters just make me tear up. SuperPetz is kind enough to be holding a two day adopt-a-thon at all of their locations. Daniel and I will be setting up shop at our local SuperPetz hoping to get the word out to potential adopters to please look at local shelters/rescues before purchasing from another back yard breeder or pet store.

For this particular event I asked a friend at work to design a flyer that I could distribute to anyone thinking about adopting a Great Dane and he was happy to oblige. Of course I offered him a payment of some sort of dessert and he like Daniel wouldn't tell me what he wanted, he said to surprise him. Why are men like this ladies? It is such a simple question and yet their answers make me want to pull out my hair.

So since I needed help deciding off to allrecipes I went and someone suggested mini cheesecakes. I am a big fan of cheesecakes but I wanted to kick mine up a notch and try to get away from the typical cherry pie fillings. Here is what I came up with, Lord I hope he likes them.

Katie's Mini Cheesecakes~

*I am making two recipes out of one batch so I am breaking everything up. I hope these steps don't confuse everyone!

1 cup chocolate graham crackers crushed
1 cup regular graham crackers crushed
8 tbsp. butter, melted, divide in half
8 tbsp. white sugar, divide in half

Filling:3- 8 oz. blocks cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup raspberry preserves, softened in the microwave for about 15 seconds

Toppings:1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
caramel sauce, to drizzle


1.)Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

2.) In a sauce pan over medium heat melt butter. Divide melted butter in half. Pour half into a bowl with one cup of your chocolate graham cracker mixture and add 4 tbsp. of sugar. In another bowl add one cup of your regular graham crackers, the rest of your butter, and 4 tbsp. of sugar. Mix both bowls until incorporated. Add about a 1 tbsp. into each paper liner. Half get the chocolate while the other half get the regular.

3.)In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Divide filling in half into separate bowls. In one bowl add one cup of chocolate chips and gently mix. Pour into the chocolate graham cracker liners about two heaping tablespoons or until full. Take the other half of your filling and add to your regular graham cracker liners. To the top of the regular ones add a tablespoon of raspberry preserves and with a knife or toothpick swirl into the mixture.

4.)Bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool. Also, I would suggest putting a pan of water on the bottom rack of your oven during the baking process, I hear this helps prevent cracks in your cheesecake while baking and even though I am not making a large cheesecake, I figured it wouldn't hurt.

5.) Top your chocolate chip cheesecakes off with 1 tbsp of your caramel sauce and then sprinkle about a teaspoon or two of your chopped pecans. Keep cheesecakes refrigerated.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Beefy Baked Ravioli

Here's another quick and easy meal. I'm in the middle of making a new creation so I am too busy to write a big long paragraph! Enjoy!!

Beefy Baked Ravioli~
Ingredients:1 lb. ground beef
1 20 oz. package of cheese ravioli
1 jar marinara sauce
2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup parmesan cheese

1.) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a separate skillet brown pound of ground beef. Drain.

2.) In a large bowl mix together marinara sauce, ground beef, diced tomatoes, and ravioli, mix together until ravioli is covered in sauce.

3.) Transfer to baking dish and sprinkle the top with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover dish and bake for another 15 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cheeseburger Rice

Here is yet another casserole that I learned how to make from my Step-Mom Rhonda. You know...I have always given credit to my Grandma Murphy and my Dad for showing me how to cook but seeing that this is the third recipe in about a week and a half that gives credit to my Step-Mom I am wondering just how much help my Grandma and Dad provided me. Who am I kidding, my Grandma was the best and boy how I miss some of her meals. I love using the bowls and other dishes that I got from her estate when she passed, it helps to keep her memories alive.

Boy did I get way off track there for a minute, let's get back to the dish. This is another very easy dish to make and I can guarantee that you have every ingredient ready and waiting in your fridge/pantry. Daniel loves it when I make this dish and I will admit to eating two helpings whenever I make this.
Cheeseburger Rice~
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1-3/4 cups water
2/3 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1.) Brown meat in large skillet on medium-high heat; drain. Add onion and cook until translucent.
2.) Add water, ketchup and mustard; mix well. Bring to boil.
3.) Stir in rice. Sprinkle with cheese; cover. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 5 min. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 min. Stir.

I actually found this recipe on but I can almost guarantee she cut it out of a magazine somewhere. You should see the box of recipes that she has collected over the years. Piles and piles of recipes cut out from magazines, newspapers, the back of food boxes, and written down by hand. She and my Dad have been divorced for quite awhile now and it has been years since I have been to her house so I haven't seen the recipe box for quite a bit of time, but I can guarantee it's still a frightful, unorganized mess. It's the reason why even in high school I started my own box, even though it's not quite as large and it's packed away somewhere. Now I just print everything off of the Internet so I have piles on desks, in the kitchen, even in the car.

A few tips when making this, we added the onion to the dish, the original recipe doesn't call for it but I couldn't imagine making this dish without it. Also, we like ours really cheesy so I put more than a cup of cheese in it, probably closer to two. Another big tip is once you have added the cheese turn off the heat. If you aren't careful the bottom will burn and you might as well forget about it then. Keep an eye on this dish once you have added the cheese and the rice has absorbed the liquid.

Hope you enjoy, these casseroles have been bringing back a lot of memories for me.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Open Faced Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwich

I love going to Bob Evans. I especially love their open faced sandwiches and I have managed to re-create one right here at home. Here's how you do it...

Texas Toast
Pulled BBQ Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Shredded Cheese
Garlic Powder

I prepare one chicken breast per sandwich by baking it in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for one and a half hours. Slather on about 1/3 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce to each piece of chicken before placing in oven. Once the chicken is out of the oven I shred it and pour on about two more tablespoons of sauce.

For the mashed potatoes I use instant. I know, I know, but I add about a teaspoon of garlic powder to kick them up a notch. You are more than welcome to use real potatoes to make your mashed potatoes. You will need between 1/2 cup to a full cup of potato for each sandwich. I used closer to a cup because I love mashed potatoes!

In a toaster, toast one piece of your Texas toast.

Now once all of these steps are completed begin layering your ingredients by taking your piece of toast and topping on it these ingredients in the following order; mashed potatoes, shredded chicken, and then shredded cheese.

This meal contains some of my favorite ingredients...bread, mashed potatoes, meat slathered in some sort of sauce, and topped with cheese. How can you go wrong with that?

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

When I used to work in another department at my place of employment we used to have the most amazing carry-ins. The food that everyone brought in was some of the best and if you left hungry then there was something wrong with you. Normally I am not a sweets person. Yes I do love chocolate but growing up we didn't get served a lot of desserts. For us after dinner meant you could have two Oreo cookies and be done. Two Oreo cookies?? That makes me laugh today because seriously...who can stop at just two Oreo cookies?

Anyway, a new lady in our department brought these brownies in and from that point on she was designated the official brownie person. Now like I said, I am not a sweets person, but with these I find myself going back for seconds, and thirds, oh who am I kidding...I could probably eat the whole pan if I really wanted to. Once again they are simple to make using store bought ingredients but with the addition of the melted Andes mints you would swear they were homemade.

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies~
1 box brownie mix, baked as directed
1 bag of Ande's Mint Chips

1.) Make brownies as instructed on the box. The fudgier the better. Allow to cool.
2.) In a double boiler, bring water to a boil and add chocolate chips to a glass bowl and melt.
3.) Spread melted chocolate over brownies and refrigerate until the chocolate has hardened.

* Make sure the water in your pan does not touch the bottom of the glass dish you are melting your chocolate in. Also before adding your chocolate to the bowl bring the heat down so that the escaping steam does not hit your chocolate. If water hit's your chocolate your in trouble.

* Instead of melting the chocolate for icing, you can just add the chips to your batter and cook them that way. Either way the hint of mint will have your guests asking for the recipe!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Chicken Alfredo Casserole

I must be on a casserole kick here lately as here we go with yet another one. This is a new one that I just whipped up after realizing I had a jar of Alfredo sauce that has been lurking in my pantry from the last time we made our Murphy's Madness Pizza. I didn't want to just do chicken Alfredo, that would be to boring, so I thought let's kick it up a notch and turn it into a really good casserole.

Chicken Alfredo Casserole~

2 chicken breasts
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1/2 lb. Linguine noodles
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. garlic powder
shredded cheese

1.) In a skillet add about a tablespoon of butter and add chicken which has been cut into bite size pieces. Sprinkle with garlic powder and allow to brown. Add in chopped onion and cook until translucent.
2.) In a separate pot bring to a boil enough water to cook 1/2 lb. of linguine noodles. Cook as instructed on the box.
3.) Mix together chicken and onions with Alfredo sauce and gently toss in the cooked pasta.
4.) Add to a casserole dish and sprinkle with your shredded cheese.
5.) Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes or until cheese is melted and nice and golden in color.

Linguine means "little tongues" and this is definitely a tongue pleaser. I was pleasantly surprised by how well this came out and the shredded cheese on top is so good. I went back for seconds on this one and can't wait for the leftovers.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Easy Tuna Casserole

Growing up with divorced parents I got to be served two variations of this dish. Unfortunately for my Mom, my Step-Mom wins this hands down. Although, settle down now Mother, I do like yours as well. Not sure where my Step-Mom got the recipe from but I have been making it for years. I love this stuff with a slice or two of buttered bread. It calls for simple ingredients, which seems to be my kick here lately, and most importantly those simple ingredients are more than likely just sitting in your pantry waiting to be used.

Easy Tuna Casserole~
1 box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, yes the stuff in the blue box
1/2 c. chopped onion
2-5 oz. cans Tuna, drained
1/2 C. milk
1 can cream of celery
French's Fried Onions

1.) Cook macaroni and cheese according to the box, yes you want to add the powdered cheese.
2.) Chop up onion and with the rest of the ingredients add to your macaroni and cheese in an oven safe casserole dish.
3.) Sprinkle dish with your fried onions and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about forty five minutes or so. You want the top to be a golden color and everything to be heated through.

I used to make this meal all of the time during my days as a single gal living on her own. It's cheap to make and makes great leftovers. I hope you and yours enjoy as much as I have through the years.

*I also wanted to share with everyone that my Doctor is finally starting to realize that my Crohn's isn't what has been making me sick this past year. Deep down inside I knew this, simply because none of the systems I have been dealing with are even remotely similar to what I deal with when coming out of remission with my Crohn's disease. Everyone has been screaming "it's your gall bladder, have them check your gall bladder" and sure enough yesterday he admitted that it sounds like it could be my gall bladder. For the first time in the year I have been dealing with this he was sympathetic to the fact I am miserable and not making this stuff up. I have an ultrasound scheduled for this Sunday and I have an Endoscopy scheduled for June 3rd. I pray that my gall bladder will show right away that it needs to be removed. I am to the point now I don't know what I will do if they find that my gall bladder is normal and will not need to be removed. I am running out of options and would really like to get my life back on track. I feel like I have wasted the past year of my life being sick and I don't want to repeat that with this year. I have places to go, people to see, and I really want to start dedicating some time to starting a family with my husband. I refuse to get pregnant while I am sick for the simple fact I do not want to complicate a pregnancy that will already be considered high risk because of my Crohns disease and Remicade treatments. Everyone please keep your fingers crossed that my gall bladder is shot, I would appreciate it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Turtle Soup...

Just kidding!! If I ate turtle soup it would be because I wasn't aware of there being turtle in my soup and once I found out...I don't think it would stay in my stomach for long if you know what I mean. Anyway, all of our pretty wedding photos were taken at Cox Arboretum here in Dayton and because yesterday was our wedding anniversary and because I have been wanting to pay the place a visit with my new camera, we swung by yesterday afternoon. I wanted to share these pictures with everyone because I think it turned out so well. You can tell spring is in the air when you spot the turtles sunbathing.

Anyone know how to put a stamp on my published pictures for copy right issues? I should know how to do this however I am stumped. I do have photoscape so if anyone knows how to do it, please let me know! Help is very much appreciated!

Broccoli Casserole

My Step-Mom made this casserole for us all the time while growing up. It went with us to every family function and if we were lucky enough to bring home leftovers, I would have it for breakfast. I love this stuff and with the exception of the processed cheese, it is pretty healthy for you! It goes great with BBQ chicken!

Broccoli Casserole~
2 cups cooked white rice
2 cans cream of celery soup
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 boxes broccoli*
1 jar of Cheez Whiz spread

1.) Cook rice according to package.
2.) In a food processor pulverize your broccoli and onion.
3.) In a casserole dish add your rice, broccoli and onion mix, mix until incorporated.
4.) Add soup and then stir in cheese.
5.) Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes or until the casserole is heated through and golden on top.

Now for the hints...I use the broccoli that comes in the box with the stems still on. If you get the already chopped broccoli it tends to contain more of the stem than the florets. Also, my Step-Mom never made this in the oven, she just ran it through the microwave until it was hot, stirring every few minutes to make sure the cheese got evenly mixed. You can make it however you want. Also, if you like it really cheesy like I do, use a jar and a half of the cheese mixture and save the rest to top on crackers.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Anniversary

I will be taking a leave of absence today while I celebrate my 2nd wedding anniversary with the love of my life. Two years ago when our journey into matrimony began I think we both had doubts about whether we had done the right thing...first year of marriage can be a tough one, add financial strains, sickness, a house that needed work our inspector failed to mention, and two very different people and you have yourself a rocky start.

Daniel is a go getter not sitting for one second while I am content sitting back and relaxing. It has been an adjustment for both of us, he learning to just sit around and be content with his surroundings, no matter how boring, while I have learned to get up and go conquer the world with him no matter how badly I would just prefer to sit around with our dogs.

Two years ago I promised that I would love him more today than yesterday, and that I would love him more tomorrow that what I did today. I have kept my promise, falling more in love with him with each passing day. He is my best friend and the man I can't see spending my life without. I am not sure what the future holds for us, good...more than likely some bad, but I know that as long as I have him, we will make it through everything.
Thank you Sweetie for loving me as I am! For dealing with my constant health battle to the best of your ability and learning to adjust to my constant anxiety issues. For not rolling your eyes too badly when I mention I screwed up another food dish by impatiently scanning through a recipe instead of carefully studying it. For slowly learning to just keep your mouth shut when I am driving like Mario Andretti. For standing in the middle of Wal-Mart holding my make-up and female items so that I can run to the bathroom, even though every man that walks by you just shakes their head in shame. For answering my five calls in a two hour time period when Lennon was sick with "garbage gut" causing me to not get a single thing done at work until I heard those magic words "he pooped". For helping me to deal with the fact children will come when God is ready for us to have them and knowing that we will be all right if they don't. For dealing with the large extended family that went from just being mine to now being ours. For understanding that that large extended family is my life and that they come before all things. And for allowing me to love yours like they were my own. Because of my husband I have nieces and nephews that are older than me, I thought that issue was just on my Dad's side of the family.

I love you and I can't wait for our dinner, as well as many more years together!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Beef, it's whats for dinner...

It's a Monday evening and guess who I get to share my dinner Hubby!!! Yay for me for getting to have human contact during an evening meal. The boys don't talk much, they just watch your fork move from your plate to your mouth.

Tomorrow is a special day in our house, you will have to stop by the blog in the morning to find out why. Anyway, because of this "special" day we are both taking vacation days off of work and because Daniel needed a break, he also took one today! You know you don't see your husband enough during the week when planning a meal and eating at the table while watching the evening news excites you about as much as winning a million dollars. I had originally planned on whipping up a new casserole but Daniel doesn't enjoy participating in my experiments so I figured I better hold off for that one until Wednesday. I also figured since I needed to run to the store anyway, I would allow him to pick something for us to make for dinner. For once he gave me something to work with...hamburgers. Not exactly fancy or necessarily blog worthy, but hey, at least he didn't say hot dogs again. I can work with hamburgers, put a little spin on them and make them worth your viewing pleasure. So here we go...

Big D's Triple Threat (I named them after my special guy!)

2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 md. onion, finely chopped
mushrooms, right out of the jar, roughly chopped
red pepper flakes, a dash or so
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 tbsp. steak sauce

1.) Allow your meat to come to room temperature, Rachel Ray says it's good to do that so why argue. Also, get your grill going!

2.) In the microwave cook about six or so slices of bacon until done. Allow to cool and then crumble, set aside.

3.) Pre-heat a skillet to medium heat and add a tablespoon of butter and then add your onion. Sprinkle in your red pepper flakes and add your mushrooms, you can use as little or as much as you prefer. Take off heat once onions are translucent. Allow mixture to begin cooling.

4.) In a separate bowl throw in your ground beef. Add your steak sauce, crumbled bacon, and onion and mushroom mixture. Lastly, add about a cup of shredded cheese, mix until all ingredients are incorporated.

5.) Form into patties about 1 inch thick, 3-4 inches in diameter. Or into whatever shape you would prefer. I should have gotten my heart cookie cutter out :).
6.) Add to your grill! Do not move your patties once you have settled them on the grill. Allow them to cook for about 5 minutes until you flip them. If you flip them before they are ready they will stick to the grill, especially with the cheese being mixed into the patty. If you really want to prevent sticking you can either oil up your grill, or you can cook your hamburgers on top of a piece of aluminum foil nestled on top of the grill grate.

Now, Daniel is a fan of the Angry Whopper at Burger King, so I also bought him some jalapenos to top his burger off with. There is no way on God's green earth that I was going to be adding those to my burger, although, with a Doctor's appointment tomorrow maybe I should just so he can hear what my stomach does when it's upset. I don't think the man believes I have an alien life growing inside of me. That's what the ladies at work call my stomach noises. Where was I, oh yeah, if your family likes the kick adding jalapenos to the mix would do, then by all means throw some chopped up in with your onions and mushrooms. You can also exclude the shredded cheddar to the mix and just top your hamburger off with a slice of american cheese or even pepper jack once they are ready to come off of the grill. Or you can do what Daniel did and eat the burger with the shredded cheese in the mix and with a piece of cheese on top. The wonderful thing about hamburgers is you can't really go wrong when it comes to making one.

*I would also like to make note that yes I mentioned Rachel Ray up in step one, but please make another note, even though I mentioned her does not mean I watch her. I used to religiously but then the hand movements and silly catch phrases started to get the best of me, and please don't get me started on the giggle. I can only take so much of the giggle! Daniel on the other hand enjoys her, as he does Giada. He likes Giada for another reason than why he likes Rachel and I am pretty sure I probably don't have to tell everyone what that reason is. Men! I sometimes I wonder if I should be worried that he has a thing for all of these brunettes and I am a blond. Did he settle for less or something?

Hope you enjoy!!

Sunday Dinner

Here is a short posts for everyone, I am up early thanks to a particular blind/deaf Great Dane who thought it would be funny to wake Mom and Dad up at the butt crack of dawn by knocking several glass dishes off of the kitchen counter that hadn't yet reached the dishwasher. As you all are already aware, Sunday dinner is a big thing in our house for me and the hubby. It's the only day of the week that we get to eat dinner together so we try to do something special. We bought a slab of ribs to do on the grill and they were really good, but a really poor cut of meat so we didn't get much meat off of them. My hubby knows what he is doing on the grill so they were good no matter how much work we had to put into eating them. He made them by rubbing them down with our favorite rub and then once they hit the grill he basted them with a mix of beer and applesauce, heavenly. No pictures but I did make two new sides, marinated tomatoes and green peppers and a homemade garlic butter to put on our french bread that Daniel toasted up on the grill.

Katie's Marinated Tomatoes and Green Peppers~
Tuscan Italian Dressing
Green Peppers
Fine Sea Salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1.) Begin by slicing your tomatoes, not too thin, not too thick. I used tomatoes that were about a week old so they were really soft, please use a tomato that is still fairly firm as it will hold up better during the roasting process. Mine looked more like soup when I dished them up.

2.) Layer tomatoes on a baking dish and top with a teaspoon of your dressing.

3.) Slice your green peppers into slivers, and coat with about a tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle on about a dash or so of your fine sea salt.

4.) Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until they have wilted down. I was outside helping Daniel grill up the bread so I wasn't exactly paying attention to the time. You will know when they need pulled out.

Garlic Butter~
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped


1.) I think this is pretty self explanatory but you finely chop your garlic, finely people, you don't want to bite down on a piece of garlic. Add to your butter and mix well.

We used ours on french bread. I sliced the bread into slices, brushed some extra virgin olive oil on each side and Daniel grilled them until golden brown on each side. Right after pulling them off of the grill I spooned the butter on to one side. They were really good, but I will pulverize the garlic next time.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Apple Cake with Caramel Icing

German Apple Cake~
2 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups apples - peeled, cored and diced

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch cake pan.

2.) In a mixing bowl; beat oil and eggs with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat well.

3.) Combine the flour salt, baking soda, and ground cinnamon together in a bowl. Slowly add this mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined. The batter will be very thick. Fold in the apples by hand using a wooden spoon. Spread batter into the prepared pan.

4.) Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes or until cake tests done. Let cake cool on a wire rack. Once cake is cool serve with a dusting of confectioners' sugar or with a Cream Cheese Frosting.

Caramel Icing~
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons milk
3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1.) Melt butter in a saucepan, stir in the brown sugar and the salt. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the milk, stirring all the while.

2.) Return to heat and bring to a boil again. Remove from heat and allow to cool until lukewarm (approximately 20 to 25 minutes).

3.) Stir in the confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth and cool enough to spread. You might need to add a few drops of milk if frosting gets too stiff.

All I can say is that there is very little left of this cake. It was so good! I didn't wait the full 20 to 25 minutes before adding the powdered sugar to the caramel icing so it was still warm when I put it on the cake, OH MY GOSH. If you have never tried this dessert I beg you to give it a shot. I didn't have a full cup of oil so I added apple sauce to get a cup and it turned out just fine.