Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's Ok Thursday

This winter weather totally sucks.  Last week, we had two 2 hour delays because it was so cold.  The last two days were in the high 50s.  It rained ALL DAY yesterday, finishing off the remaining snow.  Overnight, that lovely rain turned back to snow. 

Is it spring yet??  Scott and I are going to Gobbler's Knob (the home all the famous Pennsylvania groundhog "Punxutawney Phil") tomorrow night.  Bright and early (and in the extreme cold) on Saturday morning, he shall tell us if spring is coming sooner rather than later.  (Disclaimer: I actually hate Groundhog Day, and in no way do I think that stupid groundhog can predict the weather.  I am only going because I love my husband.  He doesn't "believe" in all that weather predicting either.  There's drinking involved starting Friday night.  Enough said.)

So anyway...

This week it's ok.... start a Facebook page for your blog.  (Check out my brand-new page here!) hate winter. go to bed early.  I am heading there shortly after the publishing of this post.  I don't know when I'll be sleeping again after tonight....hopefully, I'll be able to catch a nap before watching a groundhog predict the weather. fall in love with blogging.  I have always enjoyed it, but now, I really do love it.  I love the connections I'm making with people I've never met in person!  I have also found such support and encouragement with my blogging goals.  It's all so exciting!

...that this is a short list of things that are "ok". 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Potato Casserole

Today I'm sharing a recipe that I got from my aunt.  It is a requirement to make for family get togethers because everyone LOVES it. My cousin and I have more or less told her that if she doesn't make this (or her delicious taco dip) that she is not necessarily welcome to attend! ;) haha So, I don't know where she got the recipe, but I had to get it from her because she wasn't coming to one of our summer family events, and someone had to make potato casserole....

Potato Casserole

  • 32 oz. bag frozen hashbrowns, thawed, rinsed, drained
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted (save 1/4 cup for topping)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 cups corn flakes (for topping)
  1. Mix all ingredients, except 1/4 cup of the butter and cornflakes in a large bowl and spread in greased casserole dish.
  2. Crush cornflakes and mix with 1/4 cup of butter for topping. Sprinkle on top of casserole.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
Is it THAT easy? Yes, it is THAT easy. The casserole looks very similar coming out as it did going in. Essentially, the cornflakes are browned a bit, and no, I didn't really crush the cornflakes here. I thought I had all the ingredients because I had picked up a couple of things at the store a couple days before. I realized that I forgot the cheese, and I had to run to the store to pick that up. When I got home, I realized that I also needed a can of cream of chicken soup. Went back to the store. Luckily, the grocery store isn't that far away at all.

In closing, it is always easier to make things when you have everything you need......

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dinner Time Tuesday

It's a busy Tuesday for me.  I gave a voice lesson right after work, and I'm heading out soon to do a Celebrating Home party at my aunt's house. 

Thank goodness for leftovers.

Pardon my partially eaten spaghetti with meatsauce and garlic bread.  I had full intentions to take the picture of my meal as soon as I sat down to eat, but...well...apparently, I was either that hungry or my memory dies between kitchen and living room.

Either way...that's what I had for dinner tonight.  How about you?

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Harry Potter Fix: Fashion Edition

It's still Fashion month on the "My Harry Potter Fix" link-up.  I've had fun trying to come up with Harry Potter-inspired outfits.  Check in with Ashley, Kim, Tarole, Erinn, and Logan to see what the hosts & co-host have come up with this week!


This first one is just a tribute to Hogwarts. I particularly like the Sorcerer's Stone necklace

Untitled #6

My next two are tributes to Hogwarts' Houses.  I've already done Gryffindor and Slytherin.  So this week, I've done formal and casual styles for Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff.
Untitled #7


Hufflepuff by rebeckann featuring a chain necklace

I hope you enjoyed my ideas this week!  :)
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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Caramel Popcorn

Because I'm sure you need another sweet treat to help with your New Year's Resolutions and because I needed to move another recipe over from WordPress, here's my post for today! :)

It doesn't actually taste like caramel, just so you know.  It's sweet and delicious, though!  Scott found this recipe on

  • 3 Quarts Popped Popcorn
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Karo light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Sauce pan
  1. Pop the popcorn.  Seperate popped kernels from any unpopped ones.  Salt lightly. (I just realized as I was typing this, that I didn't salt my popped popcorn.  It's still good.  So we can say that the salt here is optional.  Also, we have a popcorn popper that is just a hot air popper.  I used 8 tablespoons of unpopped kernels to make approximately 3 quarts of popcorn.)
  2. Prepare an area to receive the hot coated popcorn.  Layout approximately 24" x 24" area of wax paper.  Butter thoroughly to prevent the caramel from sticking.  (I sprayed my wax paper liberally with Pam.  That worked well.)
  3. In a medium sauce pan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly.  Stop stirring.  Boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.  The mixture will become foamy.  Stirl until the baking soda is completely dissolved.  (Medium heat was taking too long for me.  The dial on my oven is low, 2, 3, 4, medium, 6, 7, 8, high.  I moved my dial to 7 because it was taking a life time to boil on medium.)
  4. Pour mixture over popcorn.  Stir until popcorn is completely coated.  Pour the caramel corn onto the waxed paper.  Allow to cool completely before packing.  (But feel free to sample while it cools because it's really yummy warm!)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pinch Me's

In case you missed it on Ashley's blog on Tuesday, I shared this yummy recipe.  It's really easy and fun to make!  The best part about it is that you really can't mess it up! :)

You may be more familiar with this dessert as "Monkey Bread."  I got the recipe from my mother-in-law, and she and Scott call them Pinch Me's. So, now that we have that cleared up, here's how to make it!

Pinch Me's
  • 2 loaves of frozen bread dough (The package I buy has 5 loaves.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 c.) butter
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 boxes cook & serve vanilla pudding*
  • extra cinnamon & sugar for rolling
*I have also made this with butterscotch pudding.  I honestly don't think it changes the flavor in anyway, though.  Also, make sure the pudding is NOT instant.

1. Thaw bread according to package directions.  (The way I did this with my particular brand was this: I put the entire package in the refridgerator and let it thaw over night.  Then I took the two loaves out and proceded.)
2. Place thawed loaves in a baking pan sprayed liberally with cooking spray.  (We were out of cooking spray.  So I put a little olive oil in the pan and brushed it all over.)  Spray plastic wrap and lay over the top of the pan. 

3. Let dough rise.  (This will take AT LEAST 3 hours.)

4. Put sugar, butter, milk, cinnamon, and pudding mix into a sauce pan, and heat over low to low-medium heat until melted.

5. While the ingredients are melting on the stove, preheat the oven to 170*, and put some cinnamon and sugar into a bowl.

6. Begin to pull apart the bread dough and roll into balls.
7. Take each ball of dough, and roll it in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  (Don't worry if you have extra cinnamon/sugar left over.  Sprinkle the rest over the dough once it's all in the pan.)
8. Lay the dough into a 9 x 13 baking pan. (Notice, that I don't put the dough all the way to the edges. The dough WILL expand.)
9. Pour the melted mixture over the dough.
10. Bake at 170* for 15 minutes.  Then increase the heat to 350*, and bake for 30 minutes more.
11.  Turn pan over onto a cookie sheet.

Enjoy! :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's Ok Thursday 1/24

I am really glad it's Thursday.  In fact, I'm so glad that it's Thursday, it almost seems like Friday.  I don't know why I'm so happy for Thursday.  Maybe it's just because tomorrow definitely IS Friday.
It's be glad it's Thursday! :)
It's be super hungry but not know what you want to eat. 
It's be cranky because you're hungry and don't know what you want to eat. 
It's be a little confused.  I've had a strange couple of weeks. 
It's ok...if you actually want to read the book that was assigned for the next teacher in-service day.  (The author of the book is coming to speak at our school in February.  The book isn't a boring, text-book kind of book.  It's actually a memoir.  So far, it's really good!)
It's hate winter.  It's SO cold here.  Supposedly the fact that it's 23* today should feel "warm" since it was 10* yesterday.  (In case you're wondering, it does NOT feel warm.)
It's hate winter, but to love 2 hour delays.  Because of the insane cold we've had here, we had a 2 hour delay on Tuesday AND Wednesday.  Thanks, below zero windchills.  (P.S.  I'm a much happier teacher at 10:30 AM than I am at 8:30 AM.)
What's ok with you this week?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Harry Potter Fix Week 15

Ashley, Tarole, Kim, & Erinn decided to continue this month with Harry Potter fashion!  SO fun!  :)

Last week, I made a Slytherin outfit because that's where Pottermore said I belonged.  I decided to start this week with my favorite house:  Gryffindor.


Molly Weasley


I'll stop there before I run out of ideas for next week.  :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dinner Time Tuesday

So first things, first.  One of the lovely ladies I'm sponsoring invited me over to her blog to guest post.  Hop on over to Simply, Ashley, and say hi! :)

Tonight for dinner, I had one of my all-time favorite meals: chicken strips and Velveeta Shells & Cheese.  It's at the top of my list of comfort foods.

The chicken strips are a restaurant style brand that we get from Sam's Club.  I love them.  They're crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.  I'm pretty sure Velveeta speaks for itself.  :)
Anything good on your dinner table tonight?

Monday, January 21, 2013

It's time for Chili

I was going to post "My Harry Potter Fix: Fashion Edition" link-up post today, but Polyvore is being difficult. I create an outfit, save, and publish, and then it disappears. Can anyone offer some advice?? My first outfit was actually there, and I had it inserted into my post. Then it vanished. It still said it was in my set, and I can click edit and the outfit appears. Weird??'s FREEZING here in Pennsylvania.  According to, it's 20* right now, but we're expected to drop to single digits with -10 windchills over night.  Windchills are expected to be -15 with highs in the single digits during the DAY tomorrow.  Awesome.

In other words, I need to share my Chili recipe with you.  I don't make mine super spicy or anything, but if it's cold where you live, too, this should help to warm you up!

Chili & Corn Bread
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 heaping T chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1. Brown beef with garlic and onion over medium heat, drain.

2. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the beans.

3. Heat to boiling. Then turn the heat to simmer and add the beans
4. Cover and let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, grab your favorite corn bread recipe or mix and get that ready. I use Jiffy corn bread mix because it's good, and it's super cheap.


This one uses a box of the mix, 1 egg, and 1/3 cup of milk. Heat the oven to 400*F. Mix up the ingredients with a spoon. Let sit 3-4 minutes and restir before filling cups. This makes 6-8 regular size muffins. I made minis. :)

Spray the pan with Pam, and then fill each cup. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

I never eat chili without making corn bread. I don't know if this is how everyone eats chili or not. I didn't like chili when I was a kid (or teenager) because I didn't like beans. I had beanless chili once, and I loved it. When I started making it for Scott and me, I thought I could just pick out the beans but....turns out, they're pretty good! :) ANYWAY, in the "pre-crazy Lindsay Lohan" version of The Parent Trap there is mention of chili and corn bread. I think this is where my idea that they go together came from.

Either way, it's delicious!

Enjoy. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stuffed Pepper Soup

I LOVE Stuffed Pepper Soup.  I think I actually like this way better than regular stuffed peppers for a couple of reasons.  1) It's quicker.  2) I always break up the full pepper when I eat stuffed peppers anway.

I've shared this recipe on WordPress, but today, I share it in an updated way.  I made this soup in my Bean Pot today.  If you don't know, a Bean Pot is an item from Celebrating Home.  It is made of stoneware, and you can make way more than beans in it, as the name might suggest.  :)  Don't have a Bean Pot?  No problem.  You can make this soup in a Crock Pot or on the stove.  That's the beauty of it!

Stuffed Pepper Soup
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 medium green bell peppers
  • 1 serving minute rice*
  • 1 4oz. can mushrooms
  • 2 cans condensed tomato soup
*One serving of the minute rice I use is made with 1 c. boiling water, and 1 c. rice.
**We had half of a small onion left from our dinner yesterday, so I chopped it up and tossed it in, too.

  1. Preheat oven to 350*. 
  2. Brown ground beef and drain.
  3. Cook rice according to package directions.
  4. Chop up green peppers.
  5. Put all ingredients into the Bean Pot.  Add 1 can of water.  (You can adjust this depending on the consistency you would like your soup to have.  For thinner, more "soupy" soup, add 2 cans.)

     6. Bake at 350* for one hour or until peppers are tender.
     7. Serve over mashed potatoes.  (I always do! :) )

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hot Crab Dip

So the Super Bowl is coming up.  I pretty much don't care this year because two of the teams I hate the most in the NFL are playing each other for one of the spots in this year's Super Bowl.  Patriots?  Hate 'em.  Ravens?  Hate 'em more.  It's a lose-lose situation here in my book.  Am I bitter?  Maybe a little, but as a tried and true Steelers fan, it is my duty to be incredibly unhappy about this.  :(

Anyway, in honor of the upcoming biggest game of the year, you may need some sort of yummy snack to share.  So it's a good time to move over this post from December 2010.  I promise it's worth sharing again.

Today, I ask you to embark with me on a journey into The Betty Crocker Cookbook. (YES, again. I LOVE that cookbook!) Hubby and I are borderline obessed with anything that involves crab. After having tried a few delicious crab dips at restaurants, we were excited to discover that good ol' Betty Crocker had a crab dip recipe ready and waiting for us to try. Before I give you the recipe, I have to tell you that I don't make my crab dip like Betty says I should. *gasp* When Hubby and I first tried this recipe, we were eager to use our Cuisinart Fondue set that I had recieved at my bridal shower. I always use the Fondue pot to make this now. SO I'll tell you how I do that, but I'll also give you Betty's directions for how to bake this yummy dip.

Hot Crab Dip (Courtesy of Betty case you somehow missed that from the intro....)

Ingredients (Oh, you also should know that since Hubby and I are pigs, we double this recipe. SO in regular font, I will list Betty's ingredients. In italics, I will kindly double it for you.)
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened [2 packages (16 oz)]
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese [1/2 cup]
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing [1/2 cup]
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or apple juice [1/2 cup (I use apple juice)]
  • 2 teaspoons sugar [4 teaspoons]
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard [2 teaspoons]
  • 4 medium green onions, thinly sliced (1/4 cup) [I don't usually use 8 green onions. I either keep it at 4 or use what is in the bundle. Today, I had 6.]
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped [2 cloves, but I use garlic powder. According to the garlic powder I use 1/4 tsp. = 1 clove. In other words, I used 1/2 tsp. for my doubled recipe.]
  • 1 can (6 oz) crabmeat, drained cartilage removed and flaked [2 cans (12 oz) You can buy the crabmeat so that it's already flaked with cartilage removed.]
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted [I don't use almonds, or any nuts at all in this dip.]
To make this in a fondue pot, add all ingredients to the fondue pot in the order listed. I set the heat setting on mine to 1 or 2 to soften the cream cheese. Keep the heat settings on until dip is heated through. Serve with crackers, bread, or raw veggies.

To bake like Betty Crocker:
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In medium bowl, stir all ingredients except crabmeat and almonds until well blended. Stir in crabmeat.
  3. Spread crabmeat mixture in ungreased 9-inch pie plate or shallow 1-quart casserole. Sprinkle with almonds. IF you're using them, of course.
  4. Bake uncovered 15 to 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with crackers, bread, or raw veggies.
I'm sure that the texture of the baked dip and the dip made in the fondue pot will be different. Ours is very soft and very creamy, and of course, incredibly yummy!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quick Pasta Carbonara

Anyone who knows me that I love just about anything that includes pasta. Half....actually, probably 3/4 of my meals in college were from the pasta bar. Some of this had to do with the lack of other edible options offered by the cafeteria. Some of it also had to do with the fact that each portion of pasta was made right in front of you, which is perhaps the other reason why is was SOOOO good. But no matter what, I love pasta, and I love making it for dinner. The dish I'm going to share with you is not something new that I've tried. I found this recipe within the last year, I believe, and it's something both Scott and I really like. (I LOVE it, but I don't want to put words in his mouth!) Since I mentioned SU's pasta bar, this is similar to one of my favorite pasta dishes that I used to get in college. I don't remember what THEY called it, but it involved some of the same ingredients. This dish is easy and delicious, and by it's name, you will see that it doesn't take long to make!
Quick Pasta Carbonara
This recipe comes from a recipe book given out at Sam's Club put together by Kraft. It features brand-name items that one could purchase at Sam's Club, but really feel free to use whatever brands you fact, I won't even tell you what brands it says! (I don't use all brand-names, so why should you?? ;)).

1/2 lb. medium-size pasta*
4 slices bacon, chopped
4 oz. (1/2 8-oz. pkg) cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup grated parmesean cheese
3/4 cup milk
1 cup frozen or canned peas**
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
*I like bow-tie pasta. This pasta really makes me think of the dish they used to serve at my college. Plus, it's just fun!
**Having made this a few times, I have tried both canned and frozen peas. In my opinion, frozen peas kick canned peas rear-ends. In fact, using canned peas is almost down right nasty, but again, that's just MY opinion....
1. Cook pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove to paper towels, reserving 2 Tablespoons of drippings in skillet. I am not particularly picky with making sure I have exactly 2 Tbsp. Just use your best judgement.
2. Add remaining ingredients to drippings; cook on low heat until cream cheese is melted and mixture is well blended and heated through.
3. Drain pasta; place in large bowl. I put it back in the pot that I used to boil it. Add cream cheese sauce and bacon. Mix lightly.
See? I told you it was quick and easy. I made garlic bread tonight. I buy whatever is on sale or what they have in the store. I always use the kind that cooks in 5-7 minutes. :) One other suggestion. Tonight, I doubled the cream cheese, milk, parmesean, and garlic powder to make more sauce. Scott & I are sauce people, and while he liked the dish as it is, he seemed to prefer it tonight with more sauce. I also added slightly more than 1 cup of peas. It was more like 1.5 cups. AND I used 5 slices of bacon tonight. Really, it's up to you. If you're sauce people, double it. If you prefer a sauce that simply coats the pasta without excess, make as is. Ultimately, have fun!

I have arrived!

Hi there everyone! 

So I've officially decided to move from WordPress to Blogger.  I thought it would be a good idea to get a post up to let you know that I'm going to be moving many of my recipe posts from my old blog to this new blog! 

Over the next couple of days, I will be posting a lot, I hope.  Don't be bothered by the fact that there are some posts you may have seen before!

In fact, you may catch a post you haven't read, and maybe you'll discover something new to make for dinner!

Until then, thanks for stopping by, and if you really need a recipe, hop over to WordPress and investigate while this blog is under construction!  :)
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