Too Long… Taco Creation

So it has been WAY too long since I have posted on here. I also haven’t been cooking as much lately.😦 We are currently in the process of moving, where is the unanswered question. I absolutely hate moving. It gives my anxiety a wake up call and makes me a little crazy and depressed. When I am depressed, I have no motivation for anything, including cooking and baking. Which is sad, because honestly cooking is one of my stress relievers. Anyways.. A few weeks ago I had most of the ingredients for tacos. I was sort of sick of tacos so I decided to change it up a bit. And I thought the end result was delicious.. no name for this creation, I’ll take any suggestions:

 1. Brown the beef with onions

2. Drain off any fat

3. Add taco seasoning

4. Add one whole can of diced tomatoes (juice as well)

5. Add a half can of corn  (or use fresh or frozen)

6. Several cloves of garlic, minced or chopped however you prefer

7. Several squirts of Siracha (to your liking)

Salt and Pepper

8Bring to boil, then simmer and stir frequently. Cook until heated throughout and sauce thickens.

Serve with your favorite taco toppings, on a tortilla or shell or as a salad.

 

I tried to go on a diet Monday. TRIED is the key word here. I suck at dieting. I have the worst will power ever when it comes to food. My constant battle in life is loving food and not wanting to be fat. unfortunately the loving food part always seems to win. I am sick of being fat, but I am so lazy, and I LOVE food. I failed miserably Monday. I got home from work and ate at least 6 cookies and 2 hot pockets. Then kept going.. its awful. So I decided instead of depriving myself of everything I love, I am just going to eat more conscientiously. Its hard. I am also writing down everything I am eating which makes me think twice about what I am putting into my mouth! Hopefully I can shed a few of these pounds, but until then, I’ll be fat and happy🙂 I am going to try to be better at blogging also! More cooking to come!!

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles

The weather in northwest PA is definitely taking the turn for fall. It’s cooling way down and it’s time to bust out the jeans and sweatshirts. Last week I was able to go with Sam for work to Newport News, VA. They had beautiful summer weather still. However, the pool was closed ‘for the season’. If its 90+ degrees outside, keep your damn pool open. Thanks. While down there I had the opportunity to explore while Sam was working all day. I located a World Market rather quickly. My first experience was with my cousin in Wilmington, North Carolina last year. She introduced me to Voges Chocolate Bacon Bar. It is seriously one of the best things I have ever had. Bacon makes everything better, of course, but this was truly amazing. So it’s worth the 7.00 and it was worth my walking my less than little butt in the 90+ degree heat to find the delicious, sumptuous, can’t live without bacon chocolate bar. I tried to make it last a few days to savor the greatness. That however did not work. I did make it last a whole day and a half though!!🙂 I suggest anyone who loves bacon and likes chocolate (even just a little) try this bar. it’s SO good and will change your life!!

One of my favorite parts of fall/winter is being able to make soup. Making soup can be done in the summer of course, but without a/c sometimes it’s just not worth it. So yesterday I made the first batch of chicken noodle. It took me just about all day with the grocery shopping and then making the broth, then the soup itself and the homemade noodles. I feel like homemade noodles are the best ever and one shouldn’t have to buy noodles (especially for chicken noodle soup!!) But the wait was well worth it! Keep in mind, I don’t really measure anything, you can add or subtract any of the ingredients to your liking. We over-garlic, and (usually) add more hot spice than most.Also you can add basically whatever vegetables you have in the house, anything works in soup!

Also, please excuse my terrible pictures, my camera was in Sam’s truck so I had to use my phone camera🙂

Chicken Noodle Soup

Stock (Broth):

One whole fryer Chicken 3-5 lbs. (or roasting, I always use fryer chicken because they are cheaper)
2-4 Carrots
2-4 Celery Stalks (and the leaves! People really underestimate the flavor of the celery leaves!)
1-2 Big Onions
1 Bay leaf
Salt & Pepper
2-4 Whole Garlic Cloves, Minced
Splash of Siracha Hot Sauce
Splash of Red Hot Sauce
Water
1-2 Chicken bouillon cubes

Wash chicken inside and out and pat dry. (Be sure to remove giblets) add to stock pot or dutch oven. Chop up vegetables add to pot, add enough water to cover the chicken and then another cup or so. Add salt, pepper, bay leaf, garlic, hot sauces, and bouillon. Bring to a slow boil, then cover and simmer for about 45-65 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Strain broth through a colander and save the liquid but discard the celery, carrots, onion, bay leaf or any other veggies you have added. Set chicken aside to cool. Skim off any fat from the broth. Once chicken is cooled cut up for soup. I basically rip it apart.

Soup:

Chicken broth
3-6 Carrots
2-6 Celery stocks (with leaves!)
1-2 large onions
Salt
Pepper
1-4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
Olive Oil
2 Cans of College Inn Chicken broth
1-3 cubes Chicken Bouillon
Fresh Basil

If you are making the soup on the same day you have prepared the broth, use the same pan to get the same flavors. Add just a swirl of olive oil to the bottom of the pan, add chopped veggies and garlic. Saute just a few minutes until veggies are tender and garlic is fragrant. Make sure you do not burn or overcook the veggies, add a cup of broth if necessary. Once veggies are tender add prepared broth, canned broth (you can omit this if your broth is super delicious, but I feel it adds an extra kick of flavor) and rest of the ingredients. Lower heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes. While your soup is simmering, rip up the chicken once you have removed all the bones and chicken is in bite size sections add to soup. You’re kitchen should smell amazing at this point…the best part of making soup I think :)  Don’t forget to stir soup occasionally, using your wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan getting all the goodies moving about in the soup. Now it’s time to prepare your noodles!

 
Homemade Noodles:
2-2/1 All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Eggs
1 Tablespoon cold water

Add 2 cups flour to mixer, add salt and make a well in center. Add eggs. Using mixing attachment, blend until well mixed. Change to the dough mixer attachment and knead for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove and form into a ball. Place dough ball on a floured surface and let sit for 20 minutes. Separate dough into four equal ( or almost equal) sections. Run each section through the pasta roller. Sorry I couldn’t get any pictures, I needed both hands! I used setting number 2 for thick noodles, but you can use whichever you prefer. Cut the noodles to the length you prefer. I have to shout out to my Aunt Jodie, thanks for the recipe the first time I made them and if your reading this I still need that meatloaf recipe :)!

Add fresh pasta to soup!

Add fresh basil to soup and let cook another 5-8 minutes until noodles are tender and soft. Enjoy!!!

This recipe makes A LOT. You can either eat the leftovers all week (typically this is what we do!) or you can freeze half of it for later🙂

Substitutions and Variations

  • If your soup is rather bland or your broth hasn’t turned out very flavorful, you can always cheat and add a can of prepared chicken soup. But be careful not to add any with noodles otherwise it will give you away!! Get the chicken and rice kind.
  • You can add rice either white or wild (Or both)!
  • Corn
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Use grilled, roasted, or any other kind of leftover chicken from dinner prepared earlier. Use either frozen broth, or doctor up canned broth.

Remember, you can basically throw in everything but the kitchen sink into soup. It is honestly one of the easiest things to make. Have fun with it and remember it is just all one big experiment.

Iced Hazelnut Vanilla Coffee

Brr.. it’s getting cold out and I am not super happy about that. Do not get me wrong, I love Fall. I love all things fall, decorations, pies, pumpkin… PUMPKIN..I❤ PUMPKIN!!! I bought some pumpkin spice coffee last week. So good. I have a minor addiction to Starbucks Double Shot Energy+Coffee drinks (vanilla flavored to be exact).This particular addiction ( I suppose like any addiction) is becoming a cost issue for me as each can costs around 3.00 and I am up to (at least) two a day. So I decided to try out my own version. It is not quite as good but also this recipe is not finalized. If you have any suggestions let me know!

Iced Hazelnut Vanilla Coffee

I used coffee from yesterday that I refrigerated. It was hazelnut flavored. Not bad but next time I will try original or even french vanilla. Filled my cup up 3/4 full then added a splash of whipping cream, sugar (because I typically drink my sugar with some coffee :)) then two splashes of vanilla syrup flavoring I found at my local grocery store. I added ice and mixed well. Then added a small splash of milk. I must admit it’s not as good as my Starbucks, but it is cheaper and still delicious. I will be tweaking this recipe soon! I am currently cooking up some chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles.. will post recipe later.🙂

Changes, lasagna, comfy beds, and the best ice cream I have ever had…

Hello!

Well a lot has been going on in my world since my last post. I turned 25.. ick.. I also quit my job, on my birthday. I must note, I did put in my two weeks notice on the Monday prior, however, in my defense, I was treated horribly (even accused of stealing pens and stamps). My former employer also told me some pretty awful things. So I decided to run like hell. And I did. I have picked up more shifts at the bar, tonight is my first night shift. Lucky for me I have picked up the boyfriends sinus infection… it is going to be a long evening I can tell already.

What I am happy about is that for a few weeks here while I take a break and re-evaluate what the hell it is I am supposed to be doing with my life, I will have more time for Cooking🙂 Yesterday while staring into my fridge for some sort of inspiration I noticed we had some Ricotta cheese that needed used. I thought of first making stuffed shells but I wanted to do something different because Sam hasn’t really enjoyed them as much in the past. I was google chatting with the wonderful Mrs. Crenshaw from  http://everythingbutthekitchensinktoo.blogspot.com/ and she suggested I try her lasagna. I did, and it was fabulous. I highly suggest you get over there and read this recipe. It was so easy and soooo delicious!! Seriously, Go do it.

I had a coupon for Victoria’s Secret from my birthday and I wanted to use it before it expired, and since my car is unreliable I need rides out of the lovely little town I live in. The friends that came for dinner had to go oven shopping so we all hopped in the car and headed north. I won’t lie, I love Victoria’s Secret. I feel sexy when I am wearing their stuff. but for a newly unemployed girl I had to pass up the $50.00 bra and instead go with a super cute Steeler’s shirt. I have to represent my team, especially when I’ll be slingin’ beers during most games. We then went to H. H. Gregg for our friends to look at ovens. I found mine, it had a duel oven and was oh so pretty. Unfortuantely we live in an apartment and cannot afford a sparkly pretty new oven and I’ll have to stick with my old one. What we desperately need is a new bed. My parents got me my full size bed on my first birthday. The frame is broken so we are sleeping on the floor. It’s way past time for a new bed. But finding the perfect bed (within the perfect price range) is damn near impossible. Alas, I think we found it. The iComfort which is cheaper than the Tempurpedic and, in my opinion, more comfortable. Sam likes it because it is adjustable and you can move it all around and there is a massage feature. Super cool. I really want it.Now we just need to save up because honestly,even though it is cheaper, it is still expensive.

One of my favorite things about our friends is that they love ice cream. Sam doesn’t have a sweet tooth, like at all, so I do not get to indulge very often. We found a little ice cream shop on the way home last night and I have to tell you, it was soooo good. Pumpkin Flavored Ice Cream. YUM!!! It tasted like pumpkin pie, only better🙂 I love all things pumpkin and if I had to pick a favorite pie ( I really can’t please don’t make me) pumpkin would be a serious contender. This ice cream (I had it in a waffle cone) was seriously amazing. I suggest for other pumpkin lovers to try it if you ever encounter it! I am going to attempt to make it if I ever get the opportunity (or an ice cream maker :))

I have a doctor’s appointment today and I am also not feeling super well so tonight’s menu consists of slow cooker pot roast with red potatoes, carrots and onions. Yum… I’ll let you know how it turns out.

First Post and Delicious Cupcakes

Hello Hello! Well this is my first post on my first blog. I should start by saying, I have absolutely NO idea what I am doing. I am fairly computer illiterate which makes this a whole new world for me. Hopefully I will learn as I go.

I am soon going to turn 25, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I am somewhat struggling with that thought. Family and friends are so important to me, and the one thing that is always a central point in our meetings is always, Food. I LOVE FOOD. I love eating it and I love cooking it. I love serving it to those closest to me and love their enjoyment of it. I love shopping for food. Well I happen to love shopping in general, so food shopping is even better. I am somewhat obsessed with food if you have not caught on already. Reading food blogs and recipes (what my cousin and I refer to as “Food Porn”) has consumed many hours of my life, so I thought, why not start my own? So here is to the journey I start today. I hope to share with you some of the silly things happening in my life and with that delicious recipes for you and yours to enjoy. I hope you enjoy.🙂

So my first recipe for you..Friday night I had an urge to do some baking, I called one of the girlfriends and she was interested as well. I gather up all my goods ( Mixer in tow) and head up to her house. We peruse through cookbooks and also on one of my favorite time consumer blog sites: www.foodgawker.com   So we found two that sounded good. One from my Betty Crocker cupcake recipe book and another from What Megan’s Making from  http://www.whatmegansmaking.com/  so we simply combined the parts we liked and created goddess like delicious cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling and Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Ingredient List:

Cupcakes:

I used the recipe for Betty’s Raspberry-Filled Lemon Cupcakes with my own adaptations:

  • 1 box of Betty Crocker© SuperMoist© French vanilla cake mix
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
  • 2 tablespoons of grated lemon zest (approx. 2 lemons)
  • I box of instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of Sour Cream

Filling:

  • 12 oz of fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/2-2 cups Betty Crocker© Whipped Fluffy white frosting (Next time i will probably use the buttercream frosting rather than this) 
  • 2 tablespoons of grated lemon zest (approx. 2 lemons)

Frosting:

 Adapted from What Megan’s cooking with a few changes       http://www.whatmegansmaking.com/2011/07/lemon-raspberry-cupcakes.html

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of shortening
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of clear vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of raspberry extract
  • 1 1/2 pounds of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1-4 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream

1. Heat the oven to 350°. Line your cupcake pan with liners. We used both regular size pans and a batch of mini ones. Make the cake mix as directed on the box, also add in the pudding mix and sour cream. Seriously, do it. It will make your cupcakes so deliciously moist you will never make a cake without using them again! Bake cupcakes between 18-22 minutes or until golden. Remove and place on cooling racks until completely cooled.

2. Cut out little wells in each cupcake ( I used a butter knife) be sure not to cut too far down, just enough for the filling. Mix together your raspberries, frosting, and lemon zest with a  mix until well blended. Mine came out sort of runny so I used a spoon to fill the wells. If they overflow a bit that’s okay too because the frosting will cover the holes.

3. Cream together the butter and shortening using a hand-held mixer or, if you have the greatest boyfriend in the world, a KitchenAid Mixer. Add both extracts and combine until mixed thoroughly together. Add powdered sugar in small increments and mixing well after each addition. Then add your cream 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition until you reach the consistency of your liking.

4. Since I still do not own a decorating kit (hint hint family) I am still mastering the art of plastic bag decorating. If you have a decorating kit pipe the frosting on your cupcakes with whichever tip tickles your fancy and garnish with a fresh raspberry. If you do not have a kit, fill up a gallon sized plastic bag and cut a very small corner off the bag and pipe onto the cupcakes. I had to use two bags for each sized cupcake as the first one was too large of a hole for the mini cupcakes. I also cut the raspberries lengthwise in half for the mini ones.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have. Not only are they so stinkin’ adorable, they are absolutely divine.  🙂