I'm just a busy wife and mom who loves to cook (and hates to clean up afterward), balancing the many hats I wear and trying to look cool, calm, and collected while doing it...

Oh, and I rarely measure anything when I cook, so consider yourself warned. Love good food. Try new things. Eat to your heart's content.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Harvest Dump Cake

Harvest Dump Cake
Dump cake.
That's, like, the worst name for a dessert ever.
Or maybe I should just get out of the 3rd grade frame of mind. I blame my almost-8-year-old daughter... whom I love and adore, and thinks the word "duty" is hilarious.
But really, for this kind of dessert, that's pretty much all you have to do. Dump it all in a pan, without even having to stir, and bake away.
This particular cake combines two of the best Fall flavors: Apples and Pumpkin. It's Autumn on a plate! And is especially yummy served warm, with vanilla ice cream.
Now if only this So. Cal. weather would get the hint that it's Fall and cool down so I could wear sweaters and boots already...

Harvest Dump Cake

1 box (15 oz) Spice Cake Mix

1 can  (21 oz)Apple Pie Filling

1 can (15 oz) Pumpkin Pie Filling (Not Puree)

3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

Pinch of Salt

1 envelope Spiced Apple Cider Drink Mix (optional)

1 1/2 sticks Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350, and grease or butter a 9x13 pan.
Combine apple pie filling, pumpkin pie filling, brown sugar, and salt.
Spread evenly in greased pan. Sprinkle package of apple cider mix over the apple/pumpkin filling.
Top evenly with the dry spice cake mix.
Pour the melted butter evenly over the cake mix. (There will be some dry spots. Don't stir it though!)
Bake for 45-60 minutes, until the top is golden and the sides are bubbly.
Golden top...
Bubbly sides...
Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream.

And PS you should really smell my house right now. AMAZING!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bananananana Bread Pancakes

There is something really comforting about fresh, homemade-from-scratch banana bread, especially when it's hot out of the oven.
And it's perfectly alright to eat it for breakfast. Just ask Bill Cosby's #1 Fan, AKA my mom, who is a firm believer in cake, of any kind, for breakfast.
But for those of you who are not firm believers in Bill Cosby's Cake For Breakfast Belief (It's a thing. Really. My mom said so.), these pancakes are a pretty close second to actual cake-for-breakfast, and they're pretty easy too.
Banana Bread Pancakes
2 cups Bisquick Mix
2 tsp. Baking Powder
3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
3 large, very ripe bananas, pureed (or mashed really, super well)
2 Tbsp. Oil
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
About 1 tsp. Cinnamon (more or less if it's your thing...)
1 cup Milk
Heat a non-sick griddle over medium heat while preparing the batter.
Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, and whisk until everything is well incorporated.
Make sure your griddle is hot enough by flicking a couple drops of water on it. If it sizzles and evaporates right away, it's ready. If not, just wait a few more minutes. DO NOT put your batter on a griddle that's not hot enough, you'll be left with no pancakes and a big mess.
Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, pour out the batter onto the hot griddle. When the pancakes bubble on the top an the bubbles don't fill back in, and the sides don't look as "wet", flip those babies. Repeat until all batter is used up.
Makes up to 18 pancakes, which will last in your fridge for a few days after you make them... perfect for those school/work mornings that you want hot breakfast but don't have time!
I like these topped with a little butter and maple syrup (I'm a purist, what can I say?!)
BUT for a real kick, try them "Elvis Style", topped with warmed peanut butter and crumbled, fresh cooked bacon.




Thursday, October 10, 2013

That Pumpkin Time of Year...

It's that time of year...

Pumpkin everything !

I'm not complaining at all. I LOVE me some pumpkin stuff, and look forward to this time of year when it's socially acceptable to make everything I eat with this favorite orange squash. A couple years ago I even tried it in a Penne Pasta dish. YUM!

But sometimes it's hard to find a really good recipe for pumpkin bread or muffins, because, lets face it, these recipes are about a dime a dozen right now, and you never know which are tried and true. It can be overwhelming, to say the least.

This recipe is one I came up with a couple years ago and have made many times. It works as both bread and muffins. I am also including the variations I've used, in case you want something a little different (or you're like me, you didn't have everything for the original recipe so I made this one to satisfy my pumpkin bread craving!)

This makes 2 dozen regular sized muffins, 4-5 mini loaves (depending on how big you want 'em), or 2 regular loaves.

I don't like chunks of fruit and stuff in mine usually, but you can definitely add cranberries, raisins, white or regular semi-sweet chocolate chips, and/or whatever nuts or seeds you want.

Pumpkin Spice Bread

3 cups Self Rising Flour (Or 3 cups All Purpose Flour + 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder)

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 Tbsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves (Variation: 1 tsp Ground Allspice)

1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg (Variation: 1 Tbsp. Fresh Grated Ginger, but add it to the wet ingredients)

1 Stick of Butter, Softened

1 can Pumpkin Puree (NOT the pie mix!)

1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk (Variation: 1/3 cup Pure Maple Syrup + 1/3 cup Milk)

1/2 cup Oil

4 Eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup Packed Brown Sugar

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Optional* 1/2-1 cup craisins, raisins, chocolate/white chocolate chips, nuts, etc... whatever combination you want, if you're into chunks of stuff in your bread...

Preheat oven to 350 and grease the loaf pans or muffin tins.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves or allspice, and nutmeg.
With an electric mixer, combine butter, pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk (or maple syrup+milk), oil, eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. (Also fresh ginger, if you're using it.) Beat until well combined.
Slowly add the flour mixture, until combined, scraping down the sides of your bowl as needed.
Beat on medium-high speed for another minute or so.

Pour into your loaf pans/muffin tins.

For 2 dozen muffins, bake 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.
For 4 mini loaf pans, bake 47-53 minutes, until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.
For 2 regular sized loaf pans, bake 55-65 minutes, until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Coconut Red Curry Chicken and Bean Thread Noodles

Coconut Red Curry Chicken and Bean Thread Noodles
Ok, so this coconut-Thai-red-curry-chicken-noodle-dish started out as my version of this soup that I came across thanks to Pinterest.
Only, as a mom, I had other things to do at the same time as dinner (like check Facebook and Instagram, yo!), and therefore I let it cook a little longer than I maybe should have and the noodles soaked up most of the broth.
... It was a great mistake, because this ended up a super yummy, saucy, Thai-ish noodley dish instead!
I even went back for seconds. And almost thirds, but I refrained, since Imma be havin' it for lunch tomorrow too.
 Boo. Ya.
(PS This would be super easy to make vegan/vegetarian, and is also gluten free!)

Most of the ingredients...
Coconut Red Curry Chicken and Bean Thread Noodles
3-4 Tbsp. Thai Red Curry Paste (more or less depending on your preference)
2 14 oz cans Light Coconut Milk
1 26 oz box (or a little over 3 cups) Chicken Stock
1 overflowing tsp. Fish Sauce
Juice of 1 Lime
1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into bite size chunks
1 cup Frozen Peas
1 cup Snow Peas, cut in to bite size pieces
1 package Bean Thread Noodles (3pack tray... in the Asian section of the grocery store)
2 cups Cooked Shredded Chicken (Thank you Costco, for your rotisserie goodness!)
1/4 tsp. White Pepper
Fresh Grated Ginger (Probably about 2 tsp... like usual I didn't measure, but it was about an inch of the root)
1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
Sriracha Hotness for garnish, if desired
In a large pot over medium heat, whisk together the red curry paste and about 1/2 cup of the coconut milk.
Once combined, add the rest of the coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, soy sauce, and lime.
When it's getting hot, add the red peppers, frozen and snow peas, ginger, and cilantro.
Bring to a boil.
Add the noodles and shredded chicken, and cook until the noodles are soft and see-through, and until the desired consistency is reached.
Dish it up and garnish with more chopped cilantro and as much sriracha as you like.

In its soup form...

Mmm...  fresh cilantro!
Saucy noodle form...