Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seriously. No, Seriously .



i sat in the walmart checkout line and pretty much just drooled all over the place. i had picked up the new taste of home's fall baking magazine and when i opened it my eyes danced across this page. orange pumpkin cake it is called and after weeks of saying i was going to make it, i finally did and it was heaven in my mouth.

but first, let me just tell you about the fight that would have ensued if i would have spent the $12.99 taste of home was asking for this magazine. my husband would have been all "what the hell" and "save money save money save money" and i would have been all "but it is fall" and then he would shake his head at me and not talk to me for 2 hours, in which time i would come to my senses and remember all about the student loan debt we have up to our eyeballs and totally agree with him and then panic a little because what was i thinking?! we just want to get this crap paid off.

but that day was a good day and i remembered before i bought it and if memory serves me, we had a great night that night because of my good decision that he didn't even know about. (hi, honey.) and when i got home from the store i googled the recipe and what do you know? you don't have to spend $12.99 after all because every single recipe i wanted to try i just looked up and it is FREE on the internets. what a novel idea, yes?

so as i gathered all the ingredients yet another novel idea came to me: this cake would be even better as a cupcake. so i found pumpkin orange cupcake liners and invited one of my besties over and we made good cupcakes over good laughs over funny emails, watched a few inspiring videos, and filled up on cake.

it was a good day.

and then my kids came home and devoured them without even the slightest appreciation that these were orange pumpkin cupcakes with fancy pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting. cupcakes they were appreciative of, but yeah. i'm thinking the boys will probably never apprieciate the fall and fall baking like i do. it's a woman thing, yes? and i am glad they ate them so i didn't. seriously. i could have.

*here is the recipe. and as a bonus: the cupcakes are even better refrigerated overnight.

seriously. they are awesome.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

a concoction: whole wheat pumpkin chocolate chip! muffins


it's not often i come up with a recipe all of my own. i'm not the original type, you know. and this recipe isn't completely my own either because i did follow a guide that instructed me how to make my own recipe. but i am calling it a success.

whole wheat pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. b. soda
1/4 t. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 c. canned pumpkin
3/4 c. milk
2 T. melted butter
1/2  bag of chocolate chips

i mixed all my wet stuff + the sugar. in a seperate bowl i mixed all the dry ingredients and combined the two just a little at a time. the batter was a little stiff. mix in the chocolate chips and fill baking cups to the rim with batter. bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes.

next time i am going to add some oats. what is it about oats in the fall? is it just me? it totally might be me.

anyway, they are best served warm with a glass of icy-cold milk

now let's get to the good stuff.

HOW CUTE IS THAT BABY?!

my mother-in-law took this picture of nash on friday while she was babysitting for us. i am in love with this picture and i am in love with that face.

this role i have been gifted with, mothering, wow. well, it's a hard one. some days i don't feel fit enough to be a mother at all. but these boys. sometimes i get these little flashes and can envision them as the young men they will become. it is a sacred thing, i think. little glimpses that the lord provides to help guide us, as parents. or maybe it is to prepare us. either way, i am grateful. and am looking forward to the glimpses of what that little face will become, too.

ps. i am reading the help and i am in love with that book, too.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

review: 50 simple soups for the slow cooker


a book appeared in my mailbox that i didn't know was coming, which is alright by me because i love books, especially cookbooks and this one is titled, 50 simple soups for the slow cooker by lynn alley. score.

just a couple of weeks ago travis and i were discussing my weird prejudice about cooking soup during the summer months. i suppose it comes from my mom, that prejudice, because only 1 day after that discussion i heard her say, " i can't wait for fall....to cook soup". it's true. to me, fall is all about football games, chilly weather, crunchy leaves, fat orange pumpkins, big hardy mums sitting on my front porch, halloween...i could go on, but what i was leading up to is the culmination of the season: fall food. more particularly, fall baking & soups.

i've got my eye on the new taste of home fall baking edition as we speak, so it was only fitting that a soup cookbook show up at my door, too. and for the slow cooker?! yes, please.

what i like most about this book, as silly as it seems, is the format. it's a binder-type cookbook with beautiful pictures of...well, soup. out of the 50 recipes, there are at least 20 photos. that is something i really like in a cookbook.

now on to the important stuff. the author combines some interesting flavors to come up with some bold recipes for this book. take spiced apple pie soup or eggplant soup with cumin, yogurt, and dill. these don't sound particularly appetizing to me, but i can appreciate the endeavor. and maybe one day i will get an itch for something different and i will all ready know where to go.

what does sound appetizing, though, is the corn chowder with potatoes, poblanos, and smoked gouda. and the blue cheese potato soup. and the french onion soup. ...and there are quite a few more. the author chose quite a few ethnicities in her soup selections: hot and sour, minestrone, swedish rhubarb raspberry soup, spiced spinach dal with coconut milk, and many others. and all 50-recipes are vegan or vegetarian.

and i keep forgetting these are SLOW COOKER recipes. that means you do very little and you can leave and come home to a  yummy dinner and a yummy smell wafting through the air. i love slow cookers.

see for yourself. i believe this book will be a wonderful addition to my cookbook collection. it is being carried by select walmarts. or online here.

and just as a sneak peak, here is a recipe i want to try.

potato, broccoli, and cheese soup

2 T. ghee or butter (butter for me)
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1 lg. potato, quartered
6 c. water
1 small head of broccoli, quartered
1 c. grated sharp cheddar
salt
1/2 c. cream or sour cream

in a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the onion until lightly browned. transfer the onion to a slow cooker and add the potato and water. cover and cook on LOW about 6 hours or until the potato is tender. add the broccoli during the last 30 minutes or cooking.

using a handheld immersion blender, puree the ingredients to the desired texture. stir in the cheese and add salt to taste.

ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cream.

Monday, September 12, 2011

the 9/11 post i just couldn't write on 9/11.

i think it is interesting that when something traumatic happens, people can remember their surroundings in great detail. i've read countless stories of "where were you on 9/11" magnitude and of course, i can remember the day well for me, too.

i was in my first semester of college. i didn't have class on tuesday so i stayed home and had planned to study for my first psych test that was scheduled for the following day. obviously, no studying took place and our kind professor actually moved the test to the following week.

my mom came downstairs and told me to turn on the tv, that a plane had hit the wtc. we watched in horror on live tv as the second plane hit. when i remember it, it is almost like there was background music during a horrific part in a movie....i'd never seen anything like it. well, most of us hadn't.

we watched the whole day and it was probably the first time i can remember of feeling that "bubble" of the world is a happy place everywhere...not POP, but just sort of...deflate. it was then that i gained perspective on politics and patriotism - two things that i still to this day have an interest and love for. it was also at that time that i became aware that people don't always have the best of intentions - something of which i have flip-flopped on because i do believe that people are inherently good and for the most part, want to have the best of intentions. but it led me to be cautious, in any case.

before we went to our local 9/11 memorial ceremony, i fought back tears as i explained to the boys what happened 10 years ago. in re-telling it to someone who had never been touched by that much animosity, it was hard to watch them struggle to understand how people can plan and carry out an attack on innocent people. but, i think it is important for them to know what happened. for history's sake, to honor the duty of first responders, and to honor our unity as americans. there are also thing to celebrate from that day.  because out of the saddest day in modern american history, there are wonderful stories of hope, kindness, and amazing acts of service - the american spirit at its best.

we will never forget.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

bbq chicken pizzz-SUHHHHH


that is totally to be said like how oprah talks when she gets really excited. got it? well, i suppose this isn't really diet food as i talked about it my last post, but here's the thing about diets - if you just don't eat a lot of whatever you are eating, you are okay.

wow. that's it? i wish i could remember that!

anyway, a couple of months ago i was laboring over the decision to make pizza or not. i usually make a whole-wheat crust which gets mixed reviews from my guys and with the whole dough rising thing...i just really wasn't into it.

but what i was in to was a powdery pizza dough mix that i only needed to add hot water to! on one of my healthy days i would have balked at such an idea, but that on that day, i probably had swiss cake rolls in my cart, too.

so i got the mix, which is made by great value and among all the pizza-type stuff and is only 47 cents per package, and it was really good. really good and simple = a keeper at my house.

i mixed the stuff, let it set for 5 minutes and then stretched it out and then i suppose you could bake it on anything you wanted. i like to make it in my stoneware casserole dish where everything is all snuggled together and the dough is thick and chewy. yes, please!

after stretching out my dough, i slathered bbq sauce all over, leaving a half-inch or so around the edges untouched for a thick crust.

then freshly minced garlic.

chopped purple onion.

chopped up tyson grilled and ready chicken

and mozzerella cheese.

on one half, i placed freshly sliced jalapenos...which is awesome if you like spicy food.

baked for 20 minutes and it was probably the best pizza i've made to date.

your welcome.

ps. nash starts baby food this week! and triston thanked me for being his mom because "firefighters rescue people, police officers make sure we obey laws, and moms, well...they just do everything else." love that kid.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Diet Food

okay, so i am on a diet. a real live freaking diet. i went and bought an actual scale and spent 50 bones on food just for me. i even cleaned out my own little drawer in the refrigerator...this is mostly because little hands will snag my goods and in one of our daily hectic moments,  i will get all crazy and stuff my face with chocolate chips. ...baby steps.

anyway, some of the things i bought included fresh arugula and spinach leaves and pre-cooked chicken. by tyson. i actually kind of love it. i've bought it a few times since mr. nash-man has been born and it is really great for quick salads, quesadillas, throw-together pizza, ect.

so i made this really good salad by accident. i tossed arugula and spinach leaves together and served the above chicken on top, sprinkled with shredded parmesan, salt and pepper, and drizzled with a salad dressing i just made up on the spot. guess what? that salad dressing rocked and my simple salad turned into an awesome salad, just. like. that.

i poured a little olive oil in my dressing shaker, smashed up a clove of garlic, squeezed lemon juice in and seasoned with salt and pepper. i mixed it all together and ate that mother up!

now, if only i can stay away from those chocolate chips...

ps. my sis-in-law, danielle, started a cake blog! she lives in st. louis and is the most talented cake decorator i know. all her cakes are amazing and taste unbelievably good. check her out...




Sunday, September 4, 2011

i totally pulled a macgyver




v i a

my parents came in town to hang out with the little clowers' boys last night. before they could get here, though, i made a last minute decision to hit the mall. hell-o, jcpenney's 80% off sale. but that turned out to be a total bust.

anyway, after over-staying our welcome in the mall (which is the easiest thing to do ever with four man-cubs in tow) we high-tailed it to the nearest eatery. nash must have smelled the prime rib, too, because he started yelping for his dinner. a few short minutes later he was grunting and red in the face. everyone knows what that means, yes?

i got up to change him and started digging in my diaper bag for the goods. except, the goods were no where to be found. read: i forgot to pack diapers.

i freaking forgot to pack diapers!

so i did the only thing i could do...i asked for linens.

now maybe it was because little nash-man is my fourth child, making me an experienced kind of mom (yeah right). or maybe it was because i feel a little ownership in that logan's roadhouse on the westside because i labored in that very store for over a year while in college and i feel like i know the ins and outs of that place. and travis and i met there. true story.

in either case, i wasn't worried. i asked for linens because the napkins that they wrap the silverware in are pretty big and would be perfect for a make-shift diaper. so that is what i asked for, but evidently, they don't call the linens "linens" anymore because when i asked for a few, the dear waiter brought me lemons, bless his heart, and then i had to ask for "napkins" to which he brought me little bitty paper napkins. not going to work.

so i hauled that baby to the front of the store and since the hostess was pregnant and i figured she could use a few pointers, i straight up told her what happened and that i needed the l-i-n-e-n-s from the back. and some tape, too.

nash and i headed to the bathroom and after i got him all cleaned up i started to feel a little silly. there were like 50 women in the bathroom at the exact same time as me and they were going to witness me wrapping my baby in huge cloth-like napkins. and to make matters worse they didn't seem as big as i once thought they were. a product of company downsizing? i will never know.

but the heavens parted for a few seconds and i found myself alone in the bathroom with a giggly baby so i quickly turned those square-shaped napkins around so that nash was laying on a diamond and then i did some tucking and pulling and holding it down with one hand while i ripped tape off the roll with my teeth. after it was all said and done i snapped up his onesis, slipped his shorts on, and no one ever even knew.

except when he peed and it came through.

but only a little bit and it was right when we were leaving so i just let him go bare-bottomed all the way home. and i'm pretty sure he loved it.

the point is: i rock.

no, just kidding. the point is...well, there really isn't a point except for to make sure you pack all the necessities for your baby before leaving the house. that would be a good rule to follow.

ps. a little while ago i posted about the kodak point and shoot that i wanted.  it has turned out to be...just crappy. the camera has malfunctioned and i am getting the run around from kodak and walmart about replacing it. and i even bought an extended warranty. tsk tsk. anyway, any good reccomendations on a not hugely expensive pocket-size camera? you know, it would have been good to take a picture of nash's linen-diaper at logan's roadhouse just for memory's sake....but yeah. no camera.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Taco Friday, Revisited


a few months ago, i posted about taco friday. you know, my good friend mentioned the other day that when you have kids (and you stay home 24/7) friday is just friday. it's true! friday doesn't have the same excitement that it once had, say, when i was in college or high school. (even though we have been remedying it with friday night football games, which i adore. after 10 years and living in a bazillion different places, i don't even feel like a hatchet anymore. besides, maroon and gray look better on me, anyway. ;) )

ANYway, taco friday has been a hit with our family. i think i am the only one who actually remembers it, though, so maybe this is just a sad last effort to keep friday nights exciting. for me? i don't know. but what i do know is that instead of just tacos every friday, we have been branching out.

last week, we did a southwest chipotle salad. i put each ingredient in little bowls on the table and the boys, plus their father and i, got to choose what they wanted. and this serves a double purpose as i wasn't in the kitchen making everyone's plate. that italics included travis, which sometimes i am happy to do and other times i am like, "wth, husband, you are a grown person". this is a whole other post, though.


we started with the basics: chopped romaine and spinach. and we added on from there: black beans, stir-fry corn, tomatoes, cheese, purple onion, chopped egg, and fritos as a garnish. we topped it with this:


which i am actually not a fan of. the walmart was out of the regular chipotle dressing....uh, i think it is like farmview or something like that. kind of a bummer. but this wasn't terrible.

so there you go. another addition to taco friday. go make friday exciting again...because surely i am not the only, RIGHT???


ps. i started painting the boys' rooms and can i just say....i hate painting!?

pictures to come...of course, if i ever get it done.





Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Killing at the Dollar Tree


can you BELIEVE it is september already? i can not. but it is september 1st and that is as good as the official first day of fall. i spent the last two days pulling fall decor out of the basement and pulling most of it out of my dog's teeth. have to love that little lily-pie. or not. we have a love-hate relationship, her and i.



anyway, in honor of almost-fall i took myself to the dollar tree and killed it. even though party city hails itself as 'halloween central', i beg to differ. the dollar tree has the cutest stuff for fall and halloween and it is only a buck. my cart was full of pumpkins, tombstones, crows, halloween ribbon, stuff for homemade halloween costumes, ect. it's my first halloween in a house that i actually own, and with a fire place mantel, no less....so you know it is going down come october.

and fyi, if you are looking for good lip gloss (courtney owens), get it at the dollar tree. it is home to my most favorite lip gloss ever, which is a big deal. i am kind of a lip gloss connoisseur. if you've known me at all anytime in the last 15 years, you will know this. anyway, the lip gloss is called kiss and the best flavor is cherry love. who knew awesome lip gloss would be $1 at the dollar tree? take my word for it. (and i got a smokin leopard print headband there today, too. i know, right?)

so then we headed to walmart where i drooled over all the holiday magazines. especially the taste of home fall baking. fall baking! i'm going to kick it off with these. and yes, i know. i post them every year.

happy fall!

almost!



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