Monday, October 31, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

Now I am going to have to disappoint everybody right off the bat and let you know this isn't my Mother's recipe for cinnamon rolls.
I know, I know I don't mean to disappoint but my Mom's cinnamon rolls are so good I try other recipes just to see how they compare. Mainly because I love bread and sugar. But honestly, who doesn't? 
These cinnamon rolls are good, I really liked them. They have an even amount of bread to cinnamon sugar ratio. I love to ice my cinnamon rolls as soon as them come out cause I the frosting to melt a little bit into the cinnamon roll.
And as usual I eat them right away, that is when they are the best. They are also good though too the next day when you heat them up in the microwave for about 10 seconds. I have been doing that for my breakfasts at work. It's just like having them the day they were made. 

Cinnamon Rolls

2 c. milk
2 cubes butter (1 cup)
2 pkg yeast (4 ½ tsp)
1/3 c. warm water
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp salt
4 beaten eggs
8-9 c. flour

Filling: 1 square softened butter & cinnamon(lots) & sugar

Heat milk and 2 squares of butter together until butter is melted. Cool and set aside. (Or, melt butter separately and add to warmed milk so the mixture is not so hot and doesn't have to cool so long.) Mix yeast and warm water; let stand 5 minutes. Add cooled milk, 1 1/3 c. sugar, 1 tsp salt, 4 beaten eggs. Add 4 c. flour and mix and gradually add 4 additional cups flour. You may have to add extra flour after 8 cups – just add a little at a time if needed to get the right consistency so the dough can be handled. However, you may be fine with 8 cups. Dough should be firm but sticky. Cover with cloth and put in a warm place, and raise 1 ½ to 2 hours. Dough should nearly be doubled in size. Divide dough in half and empty onto floured surface and knead a little. Roll dough into rectangle, about ½ inch thick. (Do not roll it out too thin.) To this half of dough, spread on ½ square of softened butter, completely covering dough. Then sprinkle a coating of sugar over entire piece of dough. Then a layer of cinnamon. Be generous with the cinnamon; this is what makes it tasty. Roll into long roll, pinch edges together and slice with dental floss. Place on a cookie sheet covered with a silpat or parchment paper. Do same thing to second half of dough. Cover with a clean dishtowel (or saran wrap sprayed with cooking spray) and put in warm place, free of drafts, for 2 to 5 hours to raise–just depends-but the should be double in size. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until barely browned. Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes. Drizzle with glaze while still warm. Makes 3-4 dozen.

Butter Cream Glaze:

1 cube softened butter (1/2 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
dash of cream of tarter
1 1/2 lbs powdered sugar
scalded milk or cream

Add all together…adding milk a little at a time, alternately with the powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. For cinnamon rolls, it needs to be a little thinner than regular icing.

Recipe From: The Sister's Cafe

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin Carving

We carved our pumpkins this week!! 
I am actually in the mood for Halloween this year. Most years I don't really get into it, but I am starting to feel like we should do more Halloween themed things. That should make my Hubby happy, he thinks I lack Halloween enthusiasm. 
Our good friends the Glovers came over to carve their pumpkin with us.

Daylon and Shayla working on their pumpkin.

This is my pumpkin, normally I just do a regular jack-o-latern but I decided a spider would be great this time.

The final masterpieces. Dave's is on the left, mine is in the middle, Shayla and Daylons is on the right. Theirs was pretty cool, they had a strobe light to light up their pumpkin. It worked well with the ghost they had carved out.

Our pumpkins are proudly displayed outside our front door!! 

I am not ready for October to end, and it seems that time just keeps going faster and faster.
 I need to get some more fall/Halloween things done before it's too late.
Next up caramel apples!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Good Old Classic Muddy Buddies

Some of you probably know this as "Puppy Chow", it is Rice Chex cereal covered in my two favorite things when it comes to treats. That's right peanut butter and chocolate!! Love it! 
There is also a coating of powdered sugar on them as well. For some reason my coating doesn't of powder sugar doesn't come out nice and evenly coated. I am okay with that though cause they still taste amazing.
This is one of those treats that I make myself sick from eating too much of them. I can't help it! Once I start it is hard to not keep coming back to the bowl. I am acquiring a little bit of a sweet tooth as I am getting older in age. I haven't decided if it is a good thing or not.....
This is a wonderful snack to have around the holidays. It is quick and can easily be stored in the fridge for those times when you need to make something ahead of time.
I will warn you again though, you will need great self control when you are by this bowl. They are just to tasty to say no to.

Muddy Buddies 

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
 1/2 cup peanut butter 
 1/2 cup butter or margarine 
 1 tsp. vanilla
 9 cups Chex cereal 
 1 ½ cups powdered sugar 

In 1 quart microwavable bowl, mix chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter. Microwave uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. In a large bowl, place cereal, pour chocolate mixture over cereal stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2 gallon food-storage plastic bag. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag, shake until well coated. Spread on wax paper to cool. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Recipe From: Rice Chex Cereal Box

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Road Trip to Durant, Oklahoma (Don Williams Concert)

I can cross an item off my bucket list since I was able to attend a Don Williams concert this past weekend! It was amazing!! I am already considering going to see him in concert again.
The hubby, I, and the furball drove to Durant, Oklahoma to attend the concert. Durant is about 5 hours away from Lubbock. We were both ready for a road trip and some quality time together. We noticed that once we got past Crosbyton, TX there was lots of green grass and trees!! I wouldn't mind living out that way.
We also saw the 6666's (4 6's) ranch, that was pretty exciting to me. I have read about them in the Western Horseman Magazines I get. 

Sadly we didn't pick a good place to eat for dinner, we didn't notice they had a Rib Crib until we were on our way to the Choctaw Casino Event Center. We will know for next time though!

I was pretty excited for this concert if you can't tell from this picture.

These tickets were proudly displayed on my fridge since July.

I had to get up during the concert and go in the aisle to get a good picture of this talented man since my camera wasn't cutting it from where I was.

I LOVE his music!!
 If you ever get a chance to go hear him play I would highly suggest it. He is a good old southern boy, who doesn't do a lot of talking during his concerts. He just likes to sit and play, I am so going to go see him again!

Since Durant, Oklahoma is about an hour and a half, give or take, away from Dallas we decided we would drive home through it on Saturday. We stopped at 2 Sears stores and found a Cannon camera body for cheap. That is right folks I am getting a new camera!! HOORAY!! 
It's about time isn't it? They couldn't find the camera lens that went with the body so we are in the process of getting one, so it might be a bit until I can actually use it. I am so excited to use it!!

Can anybody guess what that big dome building is??
That is right, we went to check out Cowboy Stadium.

Dave was pretty excited to be here, he was hoping we would stay another day so he could attend the football game. He wasn't so lucky.
We weren't so lucky to get to go on tour either, apparently they were sold out. Yet it was only 3 and the tours stop at 6! Hmmm.....

We had fun in the pro shop though, don't you think Dave should have bought this Cowboy hat? I think he would of, had it had a Colts symbol in it. :)

Well here we are at the World Series, game 3 was at Ranger Stadium.
Unfortunately.....we didn't have tickets to get in.
This stadium is right across the street from Cowboy Stadium, I think that is why Cowboy Stadium was sold out for tours. All the people that were there for the game were touring the football stadium while they waited for the game to start.

We were lucky to make it the National Cowgirl Museum before it closed for the day.
This museum was awesome!! They have a lot of cool things for kids to do, and is full of cool artifacts and pictures of amazing cowgirls.

We couldn't take pictures of the inside so we took a picture of the statue out front. I highly suggest this museum if you are ever in Fort Worth, Texas.

I need to thank myself for all those countless hours I have wasted watching shows on the Food Network. If I hadn't I never would have heard about Fred's Texas Cafe when it was on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

I was enjoying a delicious blue cheese burger.

Dave is about to bite into his bacon, mushroom burger. Those were some of the best mushrooms I have ever had!

Once again, I would also suggest trying Fred's Texas Cafe, they serve some pretty delicious grub.

We decided not to stay a night in Dallas and drove home that night. We rolled in this morning around midnight. It was a quick trip, but it was much needed time away from home and work. 
We also decided we are never moving to Dallas. Too much traffic for our liking. But we might make a trip back out to Muenster, TX, it looked like a fun little town that might have some good German food for us to try. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quingie's Caramel Corn

I have been craving this popcorn since October started, though I wasn't planning on making it till around December. As luck would have it though when I went home and surprised my parents a couple weekends ago, my Mother must of had one of those Mother intuitions and said, "We should make some caramel corn!" Oh how I love that woman! 
This is my Grandma's recipe, my Dad's Mom, we called her Quingie. In all honesty I am not sure if that is proper way to spell her name, when I was younger and said it it came out more like, "Queenie". But until I am corrected we will use the spelling "Quingie". Uh Dad, now would be a good time to correct me if I am wrong. Just this once. :)
My Mom always makes this caramel popcorn around the holidays, it is highly addicting! It is also better then any caramel corn you can buy in any store.
It has a nice crunchy caramel coating, but you also get those pockets of gooey caramel chunks in between the popped popcorn. So so good!! You must make this caramel corn this holiday season, no if, ands, or buts!

Quingies' Caramel Corn

6 qt. popped popcorn
2 cubes butter
2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil, boil for 5 minutes.
 Take off the burner, add teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Make sure you used a larger sauce pan, when you add the baking soda the caramel will foam up in the pan a little. 
Pour over popcorn. Bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dust Anyone???

Well I can say after today I have enjoyed Lubbock to it's fullest potential!! 
We had a massive dust storm move in, and when I mean move in, it moved in FAST!!! 
Dave and I were busily cooking dinner, and since we don't have a good front window we didn't even noticed the dust cloud, more like dust tidal wave, until it went almost completely dark in our kitchen.
We weren't even quick enough to grab the camera until we were engulfed in it!

We didn't touch up this photo, it was that orange outside!
When Dave came back in he was covered with dirt!
I am sad to say I left my window just barely cracked during all of this, I though I had rolled it up all the way. Our car got a good dust bath, inside and out!

Here are some pictures I downloaded off the internet to show more of the dust storm since we just got the one.

The dust tidal wave on it's way into town.

These football players don't even seem like they know they are about to be engulfed with dust. I hope their mouths weren't open when it hit them!

A great wall of doom!!
I seriously thought we were going to die there for a minute. 

What a fun memory to have about Lubbock!
Now to clean out the dust that came through the cracks in my house, and the dust that so nicely blew through my car!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

So Good To Be Home!!

For the past 2 weeks I have been in Houston for training for my job. I wasn't able to come home to Lubbock during the weekend I was in Houston. There was a Texas Tech game going on and the flights were all booked. 
I did however make it home to Salt Lake City and surprise my folks for the day! I also surprised my Grandma and Dave's parents. This is a huge thing for me, I am not great at keeping my own surprises. 
That is why Dave found out 4 months in advance that we were going to a Don Williams concert this coming weekend, I blame him for ruining it though. :)
Any way, I finally made it back home to Lubbock this past Friday. I have been very homesick for my Husband and the little Furball. It has been nice to get back in to my routine, and to get back to home cooked food!
I think I gained a few pounds from all the take out food and from just having to sit all day. Though I am proud to say I did get a couple work outs in at the hotel gym! Go me! 

I was sad I spend 2 weeks of my fall season in Houston. I have been really excited to do some fall things! One of those was apple picking.
I have been dying to go the apple orchard in Idalou and pick some apples to make homemade apple sauce and apple pie filling.

We were able to pick Red and Golden delicious apples, there were no more Fuji or Pink Ladies. Next year I am going early to get the Pink Ladies!
Sadly I don't think we ever made it over to the apple cannons, it was HOT for the middle of October. I believe it was around 85 degrees. That does not suit for me fall weather! 

Dave with our bucket for the apples.

Marybeth and her cute little family joined in on the apple picking.

Me with a perfect Red Delicious apple!
Well as perfect as we could find, most the apples where on the smaller side, I think all the bigger apples had already been picked over.

Dave found a perfect apple too!

The Bradshaws, they are such a great family!

The Hubby and me.

We didn't get enough apples to be able to make applesauce and apple pie filling, so Marybeth and I decided we would give making the applesauce a try. 

There was a sweet cotton field across the street.
I love the cotton fields when they are ready to harvest, they definitively have a unique beauty about them.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Blackberry Cobbler

I can't believe I haven't posted about this cobbler yet.
It is becoming my favorite cobbler, and it is super simple. It does take an hour to cook, but the ingredients take 5 minutes to throw together.
I am a huge fan of dutch oven cobbler, if it is done right that is. But I'm going to be honest, I would pick this cobbler over dutch oven cobbler any day!
It is the right consistency of cakey for me and has a nice golden crusted top. I don't like cobblers to be all cake and not have that nice golden crusted sugary top to them. For me this cobbler is my idea of a perfect cobbler.
I put blackberries and raspberries in the cobbler this time, I think it was better then just adding blackberries. You could use peaches, cherries, any type of fruit really that you would like to try in a cobbler would probably work in this one.
It is best served with a nice helping of ice cream or whipped cream, both ways are delicious!

Blackberry Cobbler

1 stick Butter
1-1/4 cup Sugar
1 cup Self-Rising Flour
1 cup Milk
2 cups Blackberries (frozen Or Fresh) 
Preparation Instructions

Melt butter in a microwavable dish. Pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk. Mix well. Then, pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together. Butter a baking dish.

Now rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly. If you desire, sprinkle an additional teaspoon of sugar over the cobbler 10 minutes before it’s done.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Frito Chili Pie

It's been a long time since I have had Fritos and chili together! Man, have I been missing out! 
It seems to me that Frito chili pie is a big thing down here too. I love southern comfort foods.
 I really really loved the chili that I made to put on top of the Frito chips! I have tried a couple of different chili recipes over the past couple months and I think this is my favorite so far! 
This would be a perfect meal for a crowd this fall, maybe at a Halloween party! Plus it would be easy clean up, and who doesn't love it when there isn't a ton of dishes waiting to be washed?

Frito Chili Pie
Serves 8

2 pounds Ground Chuck
3 cloves Garlic, Minced (optional)
1 can (12 To 14 Ounce) Tomato Sauce
1 can (10 Ounce) Ro-tel (diced Tomatoes And Chilies)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Oregano
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder (more To Taste)
1 can (14-ounce) Kidney Beans, Drained And Rinsed
1 can (14-ounce) Pinto Beans, Drained And Rinsed
1/4 cup Masa (corn Flour) Or Regular Corn Meal
1/2 cup Warm Water
Individual Bags Of Fritos
Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Diced Red Onion (Optional)
Preparation Instructions

Brown ground chuck with garlic in a pot over medium-high heat. Add tomato sauce, Rotel, salt, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add drained and rinsed beans. Stir to combine, then cover and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Mix masa with water, then add to the chili. Stir to combine and simmer for a final 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

Serve by slicing the Frito bags open lengthwise. Pile in chili and cheese, and diced onion if using. Serve immediately with plastic forks. 

Recipe From: The Pioneer Woman

Thursday, October 6, 2011

An Unexpected Visitor In Houston

I have been in Houston, Texas for training this week for my job. I was sitting in class today when my good friend Ranie text me to say she was stopping in Houston for a layover on her way back from a business trip. She was just telling me that she was going to be in the state of Texas since she thought I was still back home in Lubbock. She was surprised to find out I was in Houston as well!  

How crazy is that, that we randomly happened to be in the same city at the same time?!

 We decided we need to meet up.
After class I took the hotel shuttle bus back to the airport and waited on the other side of security for her, just so she could come out say "Hi", take a picture for photographic evidence, and talk for a little bit. Then she headed back through security to catch her connecting flight. 

I felt like I was home for a few minutes, it was a great feeling!

It was so good to see you Ranie!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats

I have had Rice Krispie cereal in my cupboard for MONTHS, just waiting to made into these delicious treats! I don't think I can ever have just a regular Rice Krispie treat again!
 I am a HUGE fan of peanut butter in treats or desserts. Peanut butter M and M's are my all time favorite candy out of the candy aisle, well it's tied with a Cadbury Caramello candy bar. :)
Any way, Rice Krispies are an awesome quick treat. I think it is a good idea to keep the few simple ingredients on hand in case you are in need of treat last minute. I made these for my Activity Days girls, (it's a wonderful church calling I have) they were a big hit!! 
I doubled the recipe since the recipe just calls for and 8x8 pan, trust me you don't need to double it unless you want GIANT size Rice Krispie treats! Just do the regular recipe and put it in a 9x13 pan instead of the 8x8 and they will be regular size Rice Krispies. I didn't notice the cooks note about that until after I made them.
 Though there is something though about eating a giant Rice Krispie, it's quite the experience. :)

Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats

4 Tablespoons Butter, Unsalted
5 cups Mini Marshmallows
½ cup Creamy Peanut Butter
5-¾ cups Rice Krispies Cereal

Spray an 8×8 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. 
In a 4 quart sauce pan, melt butter on low heat. Do this slowly, you don’t want burnt or brown butter here. Once butter has melted, keep heat on low and add mini marshmallows. Once marshmallows begin to soften and melt, add peanut butter. At this point, you will need to constantly stir the mixture so the peanut butter does not burn and the marshmallows can evenly melt (won’t take too long, about 5 minutes or so). Once, mixture is combined and melted, turn off heat and remove pan from stove. 
Add Rice Krispies cereal to sauce pan and stir until evenly coated with mixture. This is sticky stuff so do your best to get it all combined. Pour mixture into casserole dish (it will look very loose). Spray your hand with some nonstick cooking spray and pat down the mixture until firmly compacted. Allow 30-45 minutes for treats to set up…then enjoy! These bars are so gooey, you're gonna love 'em. 

Cook’s Note: This recipe will fit a 13x9 dish just fine. I prefer a slightly thicker bar so I go with the smaller size. Also, for all you budget-conscious shoppers, I have made this recipe with the store brand cereal, marshmallows, butter and peanut butter and these treats still turn out delicious. And if you’re a Krispies treats purist (like my hubby), just leave out the peanut butter, they’ll still be gooey. As with all Rice Krispies treats, they are best eaten the day they are made. Store in airtight container if you don't eat them all the same day. I like to nuke them in the microwave for about 5-10 seconds when they start getting a little stale.

Recipe From: The Country Cook

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Herbed Tomato Soup

I love homemade tomato soup. Since I have had pounds of tomatoes at my house the past couple weeks I decided it was time to make some.
 This first time I had homemade tomato soup was at Dave's sister's house. Her husband Mike (Hi Mike!!) makes homemade tomato soup, it was divine! It gave me a whole new outlook on tomato soup. I don't think I can ever go back to relying on the canned store bought soup. Its just not as good!
Since I don't have Mike's recipe (AHEM) for tomato soup, I came across one that I had copied from the Desert Newspaper back home a while back. I was hesitant about trying it, I didn't want it to not be as good as Mike's. His is hard to beat. Though I think this one could stand in a running against his. 
It was WONDERFUL!! I was getting spoonfuls of it out of the pot before I was even ready to serve it.
I was trying to hurry and make my grilled cheese sandwich so I could sit down and enjoy my bowl full of tomato soup. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup go hand in hand, you can't have one without the other! 
I froze some tomatoes and bottled some so that I can make this soup again once the chilly weather sets in! Yum!!
I am meant for colder weather, fall is definitely my favorite season!

Herbed Tomato Soup

1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, diced (I used 1)
6-8 peeled and coarsely chopped tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. snipped basil or 1 tsp. dried
2 tsp. snipped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried (I only had ground so I did 1/4 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
2-3 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 pint half and half

Saute diced onions in olive oil until transparent and soft. Put all ingredients in large pot, cover and bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 30-40 minutes. Place soup mixture in blender, or use stick blender to puree. If using a stand blender, leave the jar lid slightly open to avoid steam build-up. Strain, if desired, to eliminate seeds. Pour back into pot. Add the half and half. Ladle soup into serving bowls, garnish with Parmesan cheese.