Bonus Post! I made this!!

This is not a food post – I know, I know, but I am so proud of this bag that I made, I just had to share it with you all!!

I made it from an old jacket that I never wore

Then I took some pieces from the jacket and attached them on the inside.  I have plans for this to be a gym bag, so there is a loop for my heart rate monitor, heart rate monitor chest strap, keys when I am in the gym and the lock when I am not, a pocket for my water bottle and just another pocket from the jacket itself, cause…..why not?  😀

Here’s a view looking in

It’s my first big project that I finished.  I didn’t think I ever would and I don’t think my mom did either – lol.  She said she was surprised it turned out so well since I kept calling and complaining.  Next, I want to take some cardboard and cover it with fabric to support the bottom and make it flatter.

Who knows – maybe I will make more stuff to show you 🙂

English Muffin Bread

I made this bread recipe twice before. The first time, fantastic. Second time, crappy (my fault). This time, it was good again. I am still trying to use the whole wheat flour, so I threw a cup of that in instead of using all white flour. It seemed like the only difference is that there weren’t as many nooks and crannies that I remember from the first time.  Although, I wonder if I am imagining all the nooks and crannies.  It’s been so long since I first made it

Ingredients

First mixing

Final mixing

In the pan for the rise

Picture where the risen bread was supposed to be (facepalm)

Baked

The addition of the whole wheat flour wasn’t bad at all. The bread tasted good. When I toasted it, the edges were wonderfully crunchy and the inside soft. It didn’t have any bitter flavor like the other whole wheat loaf I made. It is probably because I didn’t use ALL whole wheat flour. I don’t remember where I got the recipe from, but it was good enough to go in my hand written cookbook. Yea, I’m old – lol 😉

English Muffin Bread
Makes 1 loaf

3 cups flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
1.5 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
¼ cup water
Cornmeal

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda. In a sauce pan, heat water and milk to 130 degrees. Add to dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining flour – batter will be stiff. Grease a loaf pan and sprinkle with cornmeal. Spoon batter into pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled – about 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan to wire rack and let cool.

Chicken Spaghetti…..or something

From the famous kitchen of the Pioneer Woman, I give you Chicken Spaghetti. I have been a fan of Pioneer Woman for a long time. I was so excited when her first cookbook came out. I read through it all and realized that a majority, if not all, of the recipes were on the website. I was so disappointed. I was so mad that I spent the money to buy something that was online for free. It helped now, though, since I have iffy internet access. It has made me a bit gun shy about buying cookbooks from online writers.

I made this once before with spaghetti as the original recipe instructed. This time, though, I used rotini since I had a couple boxes open already. Plus, I used my spaghetti for the Baked Stuffed Pasta recipe 🙂

Ingredients (of course I forgot the cheese) – I used dehydrated peppers and shallots instead of fresh peppers and onions because it was convenient for this recipe. I just put some in a bowl of water and let it rehydrate while the pasta was cooking.  Also, no pimentos.  I don’t know what they really are, but I associate them with olives and I HATE them.  I also ended up using some other rotini in addition to what is pictured – so if you see weird green or other colored chunks in later pictures, that’s why 😀

I tried to take a picture of all the ingredients in the bowl, but it kept coming out freaky

Mix it all up and put it in a casserole dish.

Cover with cheese

And bake

I got 6 servings out of this. It was actually about half the recipe in the link above. I don’t know how big their servings are, but I have a feeling I would be eating it for weeks if I made the full recipe. I suppose it is because it’s for a family who works on a cattle ranch :). I like this recipe. If you have leftover cooked chicken, it really doesn’t take much time at all. The rotini worked just as well as the spaghetti, so I think any short pasta would work just as well. I baked it the same amount of time as the full recipe. My last few experiences with cooking a half a recipe is that it still cooks the same time. It may not be true with all the recipes, but seems to be working out here 🙂

Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole

I am always on the lookout for new breakfast recipes. The same old over and over gets, well, old. I saw the recipe on Iowa Girl Eats. I love her page and her recipes are always so healthy. Don’t even get me started on the tuna casserole recipe – YUM! http://iowagirleats.com/2012/11/13/crock-pot-breakfast-casserole/

Ingredients

I cut the recipe in half, but I still managed to get two layers similar to the original recipe. I also only used 2 ounces of each cheese instead of 4. Seemed like plenty to me. I realized after that I probably should have put the cheddar on top for a better picture.

Six eggs mixed together and poured on top.

I thought that since it was the half recipe, the cook time would also be half. I tried it and it was definitely not done. I waited about 2 and a half NCIS episodes before checking. They were on DVD, so maybe 45 minutes each? Since it was so raw, I turned it back on and waited another two episodes and hoped it would be done. I think it took a total of about 4 hours to completely cook on low.

I scooped some out and went to town. It is missing a little something. Maybe the green onions make a differene that big? I an not sure. I got another small scoop and put some ketchup on. I am not a fan of eggs and ketchup, but it was good with the potatoes. It also gave me an idea of adding garlic and onions to the potatoes. I got 5 really good servings out of half a recipe. I could have made it into 6, but I really wasn’t very concerned about it. It is something I would make again so I could have it for breakfast during the work week. Another winner from Iowa 😉

Fleishmann’s Homestyle Bread Review

My very first product review. Are you as excited as I am? Well, I was excited about the product, but it didn’t turn out as good as I had hoped.

It came with a packet of sugar a packet of yeast and a bag of bread mix. I put it all together and made a round loaf to go with some chili a friend made. It was true to the box that it only took about an hour start to finish. I was disappointed in the size of the finished loaf. The box said that it wouldn’t double in size, but it didn’t seem to rise at all.

Before Rise

After Rise

The box suggested slicing the top of the list, but I think it should have been a requirement. I ended up with a weird mushroom type thing going on. I was so not happy when I saw that. I routinely checked the temp in the oven, so I know that it didn’t over bake it and cause this.

It was ok tasting, but I could probably make a loaf for less money. These cost about 3-4 dollars (I forget exactly) I had a coupon which is why I gave it a whirl. I don’t think that I would buy it again without a coupon, but there was one inside the box for a dollar off. I may try one of their other loaves, but I am trying to decide if it is worth it or if I should just make my own.

There is one thing that I bought recently that I would wholeheartedly endorse to anyone who likes peppermint patties. I found these at my local Big Lots and decided to grab them. I am so glad that I did. They were SOOO good. I actually have already emptied the bag 😮 I may have to run up there and buy several more bags. I don’t think I have ever seen them before, but since they were at Big Lots, I am worried that they are on their way out.

Thanksgiving

As you all know (if you are in the states), this week is Thanksgiving.  I have gone home or had one or two people over every year I have been in the south.  This year, though, I am not celebrating it.  I cannot afford to fly home and I don’t think my car would make the drive :o.  Instead, I will be going over a friend’s house and watching a Resident Evil movie marathon ending on Black Friday with the newest one in theaters.  I am really excited, but slightly….disappointed?  Regardless, there won’t be the traditional food blogger posts with all the recipes and freshly cooked turkey food porn.

I do plan on posting, just not the expected recipes.  I don’t want to spoil it though 😉  Because of the lack of internet access, I won’t be posting until Friday at the earliest.  That depends on the craziness, though.  I hate Black Friday and try to avoid it at all costs.  But, if everything goes as planned, it will be my first product review – WOOHOO!  😆

 

Whatever it is you are doing tomorrow, be it a traditional gathering or as far away from that as possible, I wish you a happy day 😀

Baked Stuffed Pasta

I had a whole nice meal planned out this weekend, but I never made it to the store.  Instead, I whipped up a baked pasta dish.  I make baked pasta a lot.  It’s easy, cheap, filling and diverse.  I have made it flavored like pizza even.  This time, I had some leftover sausage and ricotta, so I made more of a lasagna type thing.

Ingredients:

The sausage isn’t included, because, quite honestly, it looked gross.  It was in the freezer and still partially frozen.  I mixed the ricotta, sausage, egg white and some mozzarella for the filling.  You may want to throw some salt in here, too.  I found mine lacking.  I think it was because I didn’t think to add Parmesan cheese, too

I wanted something different, so I used spaghetti.  Honestly, it wasn’t quite enough.  I made two batches because I underestimated what I needed.  Then, the second half wasn’t cooked much so it kept breaking.  I just don’t have much patience when it comes to my stove and boiling water.  It takes FOREVER to get anything boiling on the damn thing.  Hopefully, it will be better when I move 🙂

Mix the sauce and pasta together.  Then, put half in the bottom of the casserole dish.  Spread the cheese mixture on top of the pasta.  Top with the rest of the pasta.  Finally, top off with shredded mozzarella.  The cheese you see below should be at least doubled.

Bake it at around 350-375 until it looks good 🙂  I think mine was in for about 40 minutes.

There was a lot of cheese in the middle and not enough on top – lol.  It definitely needed more cheese on top.  While I like some crunchy pasta, this was just a little too crunchy for me.  It was almost like eating it raw  More sauce would have helped this problem.  The spaghetti was a fun experiment, but I think I will stick to the other pasta shapes for baking.  It seems like they hold up a little better.  It’s to the point that I rarely eat spaghetti, so I wanted to get it a try.

 

EDIT TO ADD:

I can’t believe I forgot to post my dinner picture!! Forgive me?  The toast with it is actually not burnt, it is whole wheat garlic toast.  I was trying to get a side view so you could see the filling.  It did not work – lol