Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Bars

Holy snow-balls, Batman, it's cold here in Texas!  Yesterday, we had power outages from all the ice.  It was weighing down the trees and all the power lines.  Luckily, our guys were on the ball, and had it back on lickity-spit.

There is something about cold weather that makes me want to bake.  Especially, here at the holidays.
Maintenance Man has been wanting begging me to make these for about a month now.  I figured that was long enough to make him wait.

Pumpkin Spice Bars

From the Betty Crocker Cook Book


cups granulated sugar
cup vegetable oil
can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
cups all-purpose flour
teaspoons baking powder
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon salt
teaspoons ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground ginger
teaspoon ground cloves


Heat oven to 350˚, and lightly spray a 15x10x1 pan with cooking spray
In a large bowl, beat eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and oil with a wire whisk.  Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
Spread in pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack until completely cool, about 2 hours. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 brick (3oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Mix cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. 
Gradually beat in the powdered sugar on low speed until smooth and spreadable. 

Spread frosting over bars, cut into rows of 7x7. Store in refrigerator.

Also, in the fridge, as we speak, is dough for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (my all-time favorite cookie) and Snicker-doodles. BTW, my family thinks I'm a little silly at this time of the year because I love to say snicker-doodle dough over and over again.  Go ahead and try's fun. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Crock Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken

If Pinterest were a drug...I'd be in so much trouble. PA trouble....Hi, my name is Dana and I'm addicted to Pinterest.  I find more recipes and diy ideas that way.

I found this one over the weekend:

It is from Picky Palate
(when did Pinterest stop allowing me to add photos?)  Anyway.  I headed to town yesterday to buy the ingredients.

Crock Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken


8 boneless chicken thighs
1 (8oz) jar of pesto sauce
1 pkt of dry Ranch dressing
salt and pepper
chicken broth


Salt and pepper the chicken thighs and toss in your crock pot.  Pour pesto sauce over the chicken and smear it all around.  Sprinkle the Ranch dressing over the chicken.  Pour just enough chicken broth to cover.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

That's it!  You let the crockpot do the work for you. 

I questioned the chicken broth even as I was pouring it in.  You don't need it!  The chicken thighs stay nice and moist.  I served it with Oven Roasted Ranch Potatoes and green beans.  Hope you try it!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

DIY Fabric Softener

I guess, you can do-it-yourself almost anything.  I have always wanted to make DIY laundry detergent for awhile, now, but always forget to get the supplies needed.  I just love her etched glass containers, too, don't you?

So, you know, how they say out of desperation, comes invention? Yup!  You guess it!  I was completely out of Downy and needed to finish the laundry.  And while I didn't invent it, I did find this diy and decided to give it a go.

I used Suave green apple conditioner that I had it left over from my diy detangler try.  (fyi, it works really well, even on boys hair!)  I also halved her recipe since my Downy jug was 2.3L and not a full gallon.

3 cups water
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup hair condition or your choice.

Mix together. (oh yeah, please don't will bubble. Embarrassed to say I didn't listen.)

First load of towels are out.  I used the measuring cap from the Downy bottle in the rinse cycle. They are soft but  I wish they had more scent to them.  I'll finish out the rest of the bottle. Maybe it'll grow on me. I don't know.

What DIY's have you done lately?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

I have to confess, I have never made beef stroganoff on my own.  Oh, sure, I've made hamburger beef stroganoff, but it's just not the same.

I found a great recipe from and decided to try it.

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff


2 pounds stew meat
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jar (6 oz) mushrooms
1 8oz container of sour cream
1 8oz brick of cream cheese, cubed
salt and pepper, to taste
noodles or rice


In your crock pot, mix beef, soups, onion and mushrooms.  Cover and cook on low until beef is tender, around 8 hours.
Stir cream cheese into beef mixture until well melted.  Stir in sour cream.  Serve with hot noodles or rice.  

I absolutely love a recipe I can toss in and forget about.  This was a great one.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Basil Grilled Chicken

I have to apologize for not being around lately.  I am a lazy blogger.  I have been home with the kids again since the beginning of June....and nothing.....
And I have to apologize secondly because this recipe has no pictures.  Partly because of my laziness..see above, and because this did not last long. In fact, the 6 year old told me it tasted better than Chicken McNuggets.  Now THAT is saying something about a recipe that pictures cannot portray.

It's a simple recipe, actually.  Found from my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book:

Grilled Basil Chicken


3 TBS lemon juice
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil 
salt and pepper
8 chicken leg quarters


In a blender, combine the first 3 ingredients until well blended.  With the blender still going (on low) slowly add the olive oil.  
Salt and pepper chicken to taste.
Heat grill.  Place chicken on the grill and mop the basil sauce over it.  Each time you turn the chicken, mop the chicken with the basil.  Grill until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160˚.  Serve with whatever you would like. 

That's it.  Easy Peasy.. 

Note to self...I really need to get my camera out again. :) 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Menu Monday

I cannot get over the weather we are having.  Yesterday, the temperature did not reach 60 degrees.  Today, in the 70's.  Tomorrow?  Back in the 40's.  And the wind...absolutely wild!  Bad hair days everyday.  I have become quite accustomed to wearing a pony tail.

This week, we are pulling out all the tried and true recipes.  I will be using the crock pot a lot to save time.

Menu Monday

Baked beans



Spanish Rice

TBD, bet it will be spent out. It's shopping day.

I hope everyone has a great week!  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mexican Bean Soup

It's been a wild two weeks.  Work is booming.  Too many patients and not enough nurses.  I hate to admit it, but we have been having a lot of frozen pizzas, hot dogs and eating out.

I was in the check-out line at the grocery store and saw a Taste of Home hamburger meat cook book.  I had to buy it.  There are many great recipes in it.  The weather has been a bit cool the past couple of days, so I thought I would try some soup.

This was a super-easy meal!  I had all the ingredients in my cupboard.

Mexican Bean Soup

adapted from Taste of Home


2 pounds ground meat
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups water
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can Rotel tomatoes
2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
1 can Ranch-Style beans
1 can pinto beans, drained
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2-4 teaspoons taco seasoning
1 envelope original dry ranch dressing mix


Brown meat in a large stock pot until no longer pink, rinse and drain. Return to pot, add next 9 ingredients and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer about 30 minutes.  Serve with garnishes of choice.

It is very close to my goulash recipe; without the noodles.

Oh yeah, and, it makes a lot of soup.  I'm going to freeze some for later and take some for work this week.

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