Archive for March, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Overnight Steel Cut Oats

I love breakfast foods! Since I’m not a morning person, I find it difficult to make anything more than a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. I’m usually just too tired and too hungry to make anything more than that…..that was, until I discovered this recipe for overnight steel cut oats! You mix the ingredients for the oatmeal the night before, store it in the refrigerator overnight, toss it on the stove when you wake up, and you have a delicious breakfast with very little work. Definitely a win-win situation for me!

The recipe supposedly yields two servings, but I think it makes enough for at least 3 (maybe even 4) people. Steel cut oats are very filling so keep that in mind when serving this. This recipe is just the bare bones so feel free to add your favorite mix-ins. I added bananas and walnuts and it was delicious! I’m already thinking about what I want to add the next time I make this….maybe apples and cranberries. Mmmmmm.

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

Yields: 3

1 cup steel cut oats
1 3/4 cups fat free milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 ounces all-natural applesauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of salt


In a nonmetal bowl combine oats, brown sugar, applesauce, cinnamon and salt. Stir in milk; cover and chill for 8 to 24 hours.

To serve, transfer oatmeal mixture to a medium saucepan. Heat just to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until oatmeal is done, adding additional milk if desired and stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Add your favorite mix-ins. Spoon into 3 (or 4) bowls. Serve with additional milk, if desired.

Source: The Novice Chef, originally from Good Life Eats


PostHeaderIcon Crock Pot Burrito Soup

I want to try as many crock pot recipes as I can before I have my little girl in July. July is still months away but I know time is going to fly by (as it already has). I would like to accumulate a bunch of go-to tried and true crock pot recipes so I can have them easily accessible on my blog for my upcoming sleep deprived months. In June/July I will also be making and posting some great freezer-friendly recipes as well! I want to make sure our freezer is stocked with plenty of pre-made meals so my husband and I can enjoy our little one as much as possible.

Most of the traditional crock pot recipes use either chicken or pork so I was intrigued when I found this recipe. Since this recipe does contain beef, you do need to brown it on the stove before putting it in the crock pot but that was probably the hardest part of this recipe. You may either put the uncooked rice in the crock pot and let it cook in the crock pot or cook the rice on the stove and serve it with the soup. I did the latter of the two and it worked out perfectly.

I just scooped some cooked rice in a bowl…

poured some soup over the rice…

and garnished it with sour cream and shredded cheese.


Crock Pot Burrito Soup

Serves 6


2 tsp. canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
5 cups beef broth
2 Tbsp.  chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2/3 cup corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup uncooked rice (or, cook rice separately)


Heat a large  heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and add oil. Cook the onions for a couple minutes before adding the beef. Brown the beef with the onion and drain if necessary. Put  back on the heat and stir in the garlic, just until fragrant.

Pour the beef mixture into the crock pot and then add the tomato sauce, beef broth, spices, corn and black beans. Cook on low for…however long you’re gone.

Increase temp to high and add the rice, just until cooked. Alternatively you can put the cooked rice in bowls and ladle the soup over it. Garnish with your favorite toppings.

Source: Elly Says Opa!


PostHeaderIcon Number 3 Birthday Sugar Cookies

I made these cookies for my nephew’s 3rd birthday party this past weekend. I was very excited to make these since he truly appreciates my sugar cookies. Whenever I make them you can always count on seeing my nephew, Carson, holding at least two (or three!) cookies at a time. :) I know everyone says this about their child (or in my case, nephew) but he really has grown up in a blink of an eye! I still vividly remember holding him when he was only a few days old – I can’t believe he’s already 3!

Back to the cookies…..

People thought they were too pretty to eat but they were still devoured by the end of the party. Even though they are pretty they definitely taste twice as delicious as they look! The sugar cookies have a slight vanilla and almond taste that is just perfect.

Here’s a picture of the birthday boy on his new John Deere bike!

If you’re interested in ordering decorated sugar cookies you can contact me here.

Here’s my sugar cookie photo gallery as well. :)


PostHeaderIcon Old-Fashioned Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I love my cookbooks. I love looking through them and admiring the delicious recipes and beautiful pictures. Since I have so many cookbooks I like to check new ones out from the library instead of buying them. Well, the fact is, I usually end up buying half of the darn cookbooks I check out because I like them so much! So……now I try not to check them out from the library since I don’t need to buy more cookbooks.

I still give in every so often and check one out from the library. Hey, an addict can’t quit cold turkey! So, yes, this amazing banana cake recipe is from a cookbook I got from the library. This banana cake is probably the only recipe I will make from this cookbook so I’m glad I did not purchase it. I usually like Ina Garten’s cookbooks but this particular one didn’t do it for me. However, I’m definitely glad I found this recipe before returning it to the library! It is such an easy and delicious cake to make, perfect if you’re in need of a quick dessert! I love how the ingredients are all staples you usually have on hand. The cake tastes similar to banana bread – only better since it’s topped with delicious cream cheese frosting!

One last thing, make sure you wait until the cake has completely cooled to frost it. As you can tell from the picture, I didn’t wait. Since I frosted the cake too early, the frosting started to sag down over the edges of the cake. It was still delicious – it just didn’t look as pretty as I would have liked. :)


Old-Fashioned Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves 8


3 very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)
Walnut halves, for decorating


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan.

Mix bananas, granulated sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed until combined. With the mixer still on low, add the oil, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.

In a sepearte bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in the chopped walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, turn out onto cooling rack, and cool completely.

Spread the frosting thickly on top of cake and decorate with walnut halves.

Cream Cheese Frosting:


6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar


Mix cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on low speed until just combined. Don’t whip! Add sugar and mix until smooth.

Source: How Easy is That? by Ina Garten



PostHeaderIcon Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you gave up sweets for Lent do not look at these pictures. You have been warned.

I haven’t really been craving sweets lately (weird, I know!) but the instant I saw this recipe I was smitten. Anything with cake batter is truly amazing so the combination of cake batter and chocolate chip cookies is almost too good to be true. Don’t worry, it’s true! These chocolate chip cookies are delicious and I love their slight cake batter flavor.

You do need to purchase a box of yellow cake mix when the recipe only calls for 1 cup. But save the rest of the cake mix, I’ll be posting more cake batter recipes in the upcoming months!

I made half of this recipe and it still made a ton of cookies so expect a lot of delicious cookies if you make the entire recipe. Whenever I make chocolate chip cookies I usually freeze some of the cookies. Just roll the raw cookie dough in balls and freeze them in a tupperware container. That way you can pop one or more in the oven whenever you get a craving for a fresh chocolate chip cookie (I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing). ;)

Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup flour
1 cup yellow boxed cake mix
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, and slightly cooled
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
3 tablespoons colored sprinkles

In a large bowl sift together the flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside. In a bowl, beat together the melted butter, egg yolk, egg, and vanilla until slightly creamy. Add the sugars and stir well.

Add the flour mixture, stir until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and sprinkles.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes (the dough may be a little runny).

Preheat oven to 350.

Once dough is chilled, scoop heaping tablespoons worth of dough onto greased cookie sheets. The dough should be slightly smaller than a golf ball. Keep dough cool until it goes in the oven.

Bake 12-15 minutes, until the edges are golden and the center sets.

Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet, then place on a cooling rack to cool.

Source: adapted from Stephanie Cooks


PostHeaderIcon Chicken Lo Mein

I love going out to eat at Chinese Restaurants but my waistline and wallet do not like it as much. Since I love trying new recipes I figured it was worth it to try some good copycat Chinese recipes at home. My two top dishes so far have been this amazing sweet and sour chicken and now this chicken lo mein. I love both recipes but if I had to pick my favorite I think it would be this chicken lo mein dish. I crave this dish all the time (pregnant or not)!

The most challenging part of this recipe is probably finding lo mein noodles. I would not recommend using spaghetti noodles or any other type of noodle – the lo mein noodles truly complete this dish. I searched high and low trying to find these dang noodles and I finally found them at Whole Foods! Most larger cities have Whole Foods but if you don’t I would look at a specialty store in your area.

Now go find some lo mein noodles and make this awesome dish!

Chicken Lo Mein

Serves 3 – 4


8 oz. lo mein noodles
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium chicken breast, cut into strips or bite sized pieces
1/2 small onion, sliced or diced
1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
1 large celery stalk, sliced
1 cup snow peas
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add lo mein noodles and cook, then drain and rinse under cold water. In a bowl, make your sauce by combining the oyster sauce, soy sauce, chicken broth and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Bring canola oil to just under a smoking point in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until done.

Add the vegetables, each a minute or so apart, starting with the onions and ending with the snow peas. Add the minced garlic.

Add the sauce, and then add the noodles. Mix everything together well. If the veggies need to cook longer, cover and steam until done. Drizzle with toasted sesame oil.

Source: adapted from Elly Says Opa!


PostHeaderIcon Tortellini Soup

As I’ve mentioned before, I try to make vegetarian dinners 2-3 times a week, especially on Mondays. Meatless Mondays. I’ve heard that phrase many times and I’ve taken it to heart. This past Monday I searched through my cookbooks and favorite cooking blogs to find a new vegetarian dinner. When I found this recipe for tortellini soup I knew it would be a gem. Who doesn’t love cheese stuffed tortellini!?

This soup did not disappoint. It literally took me 20 minutes to whip up and it tasted like it took me the entire day to make. Don’t you love those kind of meals? It was a hearty and delicious meal and I will definitely be making this soup again. I think this would be great with a few extra vegetables added in and next time I may experiment with that a bit.

Tortellini Soup

Yield: 3-4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juices
4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
9 oz. tortellini, any variety (fresh or frozen)
3 cups fresh baby spinach, loosely packed
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan, for serving

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions to the pan and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add in the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, just until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Mix in the oregano and diced tomatoes.  Add the broth to the pot.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Add the tortellini to the pot and cook according to the package directions.  One minute before the tortellini is fully cooked, stir in the spinach.  Remove from the heat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm with grated Parmesan as desired.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from The Well-Fed Newlyweds


PostHeaderIcon Banana Crumb Muffins

I am ashamed of myself. I truly am. I haven’t posted a sweet/dessert recipe in two weeks! Since I usually blame everything on my pregnancy I’m going to blame this on my pregnancy as well. ;) Before I was pregnant I always craved chocolate. Always. But now I rarely crave chocolate, I now crave salty foods and a non-chocolate sweet here and there. Well, this particular recipe was one of my non-chocolate cravings and it did not let me down.

If you’re ever trying to think of a new way to use up those brown bananas on your counter this is the recipe to try! I love making banana bread but a gal can only make it so many times. I have made these muffins several times and they never disappoint. The muffin is deliciously moist and the streusel topping really takes this muffin to a new level. I love eating these for a snack but I think they’re especially perfect for breakfast! One of these muffins and a cup of coffee or milk and you’re good to go!

Banana Crumb Muffins


For the muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted

For the topping:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter


Preheat oven to 375°.  Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 ½ cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg, cinnamon and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Source: All Recipes