The Kitchen

Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE being in the kitchen.

I love to cook.

I love to bake.

I love to create.

Sometimes it all comes together, and a masterpiece is made. ....  Other times, not so much!

I'll share my success....and!

"Lemon Whippersnap" Cookies

Tuesday was a bit of a rough day.  We were getting back into our "normal" routine...but nothing was going right.  I finally blew the whistle for a time out, and the boys and I gathered in the kitchen.

We made cookies.  Everything is better with cookies.

It'd been a long time since we'd thrown together this recipe, so we brought it back out.  It's incredibly easy and the kids can help with the messy part : rolling dough in powdered sugar. 

Anywho, you should check this recipe out!

1 box lemon cake mix (any brand will do)
1 cup cool whip - the tub kind
2 eggs

Mix all ingredients together - it'll take some work, but they will all come together into a thick dough.  Roll this into small balls and let the kiddos roll the balls into a shallow plate of powdered sugar.

Bake at 350ยบ for 12 minutes.  Let cool on the pan for about a minute, and then move to a cooling rack. 

Eat and enjoy!

Breakfast Skillet - using up the leftover Christmas ham

2 potatoes
1 small onion
1 green pepper
about 1 cup of chopped cooked ham (can do more, can do less, depending on how much you have)
3 tbsp butter (separated)
1 clove garlic

Dice potatoes into bite-sized pieces.  Doesn't matter if they're peeled or not - I didn't because I wanted to save time.  (I'm not a morning person..haha)

Drop potatoes into a large pot of boiling water.  Boil for about 5 minutes.  Mine stayed in for 7, because I got distracted by a kiddo.  They were fine, but a bit mushy.

Drain potatoes and put aside.  In a large pan, melt 1 tbsp of the butter.  Add potatoes, and cook on medium heat for 7 minutes.  Stir occasionally, but you want them golden brown, so don't stir more than necessary, or they'll be mushy.

Add 2 tbsp of butter, and then the onions and green peppers.  Cook for another 7 minutes, until veggies are soft and onions are transluscent.  Add ham, and cook until meat is heated through.  Turn burner down to low.

In another pan, fry the eggs to an over-easy point.  (note:  I cooked the kiddos until the yolks were cooked through and solid.  Mine and Mike's I left runny).

Serve eggs over the potato mixture.  Tastes great with either salsa, hot sauce, or ketchup!


It's getting to be that time of year again - time for holiday cooking and baking!

We did a little of both today, making the ultimate cranberry sauce (a family recipe), and some very yummy banana bread, recipe courtesy of a dear friend.  If you're looking for some new goodies to make this holiday season - try one of these out!

First up:  Ultimate (easy!!) Cranberry Sauce

This may be the world's easiest cranberry sauce recipe, but it is FABULOUS, and an impressive addition to any holiday table.  If you haven't yet "claimed" a dish to make for your family get-together, I suggest making a batch of this!
2 cups red wine (the drier, the better - I tend to use merlot, because we then drink what's left, and that's about as dry of a red wine as I can stomach)
2 cups sugar (I've found it "gels" better with cane sugar, NOT granulated sugar)
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 tsp each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves

In a large saucepan, stir together the sugar and red wine.  Slowly bring the mixture to a boil, and let it boil for about 5 minutes.  

Add the cranberries.  They will "pop" as they cook, so make sure you're not wearing a shirt that you absolutely love.  You'll probably get splattered at least once.  Bring the cranberry mixture to a boil, and allow to boil gently for another 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in all spices.  Let cool and refrigerate until it is time to serve.

This lasts a good week in the fridge, and freezes really well.  Any leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner are delicious when spooned over vanilla ice cream (just a friendly tip).

Moist Whole Wheat Banana Bread (quick AND kid-friendly)

We thoroughly enjoyed this recipe - most WW banana bread recipes that we'd found seemed to be extremely crumbly and "dry" in texture.  This one is not - it's moist, yummy goodness, just like Mom used to make!

4-5 mashed bananas (use ripe ones) 
1 cup sugar (you can use less) 
2 large eggs 
1/2 cup shortening or vegetable oil
 2 cups whole wheat flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
 1/2 teaspoon salt 
 1 teaspoon vanilla 
 1/2 cup nuts (this is just an option, you can also add cinnamon or chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 F (180C) and grease your loaf pan.
 Take a large bowl and add sugar, shortening (or oil), and eggs. Mix for a while and then add mashed bananas and mix some more.  Add all the remaining ingredients - flour, salt, vanilla, baking powder and baking soda and mix some more. You should get a nice and very thick batter.
 Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for around one hour. When you stick a toothpick in your banana bread and it comes out clean, you are finished. 

Let cool and enjoy!