Saturday, January 25, 2014

Queso Chili

Queso Chili

     January has proven to be a month that just isn't going to budge on the idea of warmer weather. It doesn't seem to matter where one lives in the U.S. it is cold. Not just a little cold, but a deep freeze cold. The wind chill here has been in the -40's. Not fun!

     School has already been cancelled 3 days because of the extreme wind chills. I'm wondering if we will be closed again on Monday and Tuesday too. The wind chills are suppose to be worse than the last few days when school was cancelled. At this rate we'll be making time up in June. Something I'm not too happy about.

     Since it's been so cold out I've had to make some chili to warm us up some. In fact I've made this particular chili 2 times now.  My husband says that it tasted better the second time I made it, but I didn't do anything different from the first time. I guess it just must have been that he was more in the mood for chili the second time I made it. My son absolutely loved it both times. I like it because it's a little different from your average chili and you just throw everything in the crockpot. So simple.

     So make yourself a big pot of chili tonight. I know that the old month of January will cooperate with giving us cold winds and temperatures and this dish will warm you up . Enjoy!

Queso Chii
1 lb of Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 lb ground beef, browned
1 C frozen corn
1-15 oz can of kidney beans, undrained
2-14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1- 4oz can of green chilies
1 package of taco seasoning mix
Corn chips

Combine Velveeta cheese, ground beef, corn, beans, diced tomatoes, green chilies and taco mix in a crockpot.
Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.
Serve in a bowl with crushed corn chips on top if desired.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Frozen Mocha Smoothie

Frozen Mocha Smoothie
     Today I'm up early and ready for work way too early. So now I'm stuck here waiting to leave for work. Now it's not that I wanted to get up at 5:30 this morning. My dog had a little to do with that. You see she was crying by my bedside this morning to go outside. It's kind of hard to ignore when she's right next to your head wimpering.

     I knew letting the dogs sleep at 7:00 last night was a mistake. I get that when we are home they don't take a nap in the middle of the day like usual, but they can't go to sleep that early or they will wake up early or in the middle of the night. Of course now they are both lounging in their favorite spot right now. No worries for them, they get to sleep today.

     Since this would be a great day to have a little extra energy I decided that I should share my recipe for Frozen Mocha Smoothie. It is similar to the one I get at the gym. I had to kind of play with the ingredients a bit to get it just right. I use my little drink mixer to make it. It is like the bullet drink mixer, but you could use a regular blender too.

     I put protein powder in my smoothie, but you wouldn't have to necessarily do that. You could opt for a little yogurt if you wanted. I just happen to have protein powder on hand. I also use almond milk, but regular milk is fine too. I think you'll like this especially if you like coffee.

Frozen Mocha Smoothie
4-6 ice cubes
1/4 C cold coffee
1/4 C almond milk, more if it seems too stiff
2T protein powder
2T mocha flavored instant coffee

Mix in drink mixer or blender until well blended. Add more almond milk if it seems too thick.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chocolate Cheesecake Turtle Cupcakes

Chocolate Cheesecake Turtle Cupcakes
     Over the weekend I was a super busy girl. I was either making something in the kitchen or working in my sewing room. A lot of the time I had something cooking or baking in the kitchen while I was sewing down in my sewing room.

     One of the treats that I made was these delectable cupcakes. When I first saw the post for this recipe I knew I had to make these. How could I pass this up? I mean look at that picture. They just say YUM!

     These cupcakes are very easy to make, which is a plus in my book. One never knows how difficult some of these luscious goodies can be to make and I know that I don't want to toil too long in the kitchen. God knows I love to bake and cook, but I don't want to be in the kitchen forever. It needs to be quick and easy, plus taste good.

     These little cupcakes meet all my expectations and more. I am definitely going to make these babies again. They took very little time and they made a great little dessert. In fact I'm taking some of these into work for my friends to sample. I'm sure they are going to love them.

Chocolate Cheesecake Turtle Cupcakes
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 C sugar
1/4 C cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/3 C vegetable oil
1 C water
1 T vinegar
1 t vanilla

For the Cheesecake
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 C sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 F and line 18 cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt & baking soda. Mix well until combined.
In a small bowl mix oil, water, vinegar and vanilla. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquid mixture. Stir mixture until it is well combined. Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full with chocolate mixture.

In a small bowl mix cream cheese, sugar and egg with an electric mixer. Blend until smooth and creamy. Use a small cookie scoop to put a dollop of the cream cheese mixture on top of the chocolate mixture.

Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes or until cream cheese is firm.
Let cupcakes cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove and cool on a cooling rack.

Turtle Topping
14 caramels
6 T half and half
1/2 C milk chocolate chips
1/2 C chopped pecans

Unwrap the caramels and put in a microwavable bowl. Add 3 T half and half. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes or until melted. Stir until smooth and let cool slightly.
Place chocolate chips and 3 T half and half in another bowl and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes or until melted. Stir until smooth and let cool slightly.
Using a spoon drizzle the caramel and chocolate on top of the cupcakes and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Makes 18 cupcakes  

Recipe from


Monday, January 6, 2014

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bite
     Well I've been home alone for the day and I've got nothing better to do than cook and sew. And as you can see by the picture I of course had to make something sweet to nibble on in between my sewing escapades.

     These goodies are similar to the famous Peanut Butter Balls that some of us know and love. These have a little bit of a twist though. They have crushed pretzels in them. It gives them a nice crunch, a little more body. One doesn't feel as if they are eating a spoonful of peanut butter when you eat these (but it's real close).

     I started out trying to figure out what I could do with this bag of pretzels that I had in the cupboard. Now it seems that my family is not big on eating plain pretzels. Not even if they have a beverage (if you know what I mean). These pretzels are even low fat and they taste good. So I looked through a few recipes and what do you know, I found a recipe that uses pretzels in it.

     These are fairly simple to make. However, they are a bit messy when rolling the peanut butter mixture into balls and let's not forget the dunking in chocolate. They are good though and require very few ingredients. Hope you enjoy them.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites
1C creamy peanut butter
10 T powdered sugar
2 T room temperature butter
2 C crushed pretzels
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, and butter. Add crushed pretzels and mix together.
Roll into 1inch balls or smaller and put them on a tray. Freeze for 1 hour.
Melt chocolate chips in microwave. (Microwave on high 1 minute. Take out an stir. Then microwave about 10-15 seconds stirring each time until melted).
Dip balls into chocolate and then put onto a parchment lined tray. Refrigerate until set. Keep refrigerated when storing.

Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Homestyle Goulash

Homestyle Goulash
     As we prepare to hunker down at home for these next couple days I've had to start thinking about some good home cooked meals that will warm a persons soul. With the temps dropping and businesses potentially closing, it looks like most of us will be staying home getting some good quality family time together.

     Last night for dinner I made goulash. This is a quick, hearty meal that warms one up and just feels like home. It's the stuff my mom would have made for a quick family dinner. Add a salad and rolls/biscuits and you've got a great satisfying meal.

     One nice thing about goulash is you can add practically anything to it and you can't mess it up. I could have added some canned mushrooms to this if I wanted to. Or if you like a little spice, add some red pepper flakes or some Italian seasoning. Substitute a little jarred spaghetti sauce for the tomato sauce to give it a little Italian flare. You just can't go wrong with this recipe.

     If you happen to have leftovers just put them in the fridge and heat them up in the microwave for a take to work lunch or just a quick lunch at home.

Homestyle Goulash
1 lb of lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper diced
1- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1- 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 C dry macaroni, cook according to package directions
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni. It should boil about 8-10 minutes. As the macaroni cooks brown the beef, with the onion, pepper and garlic. Drain the beef mixture and set aside. Once the macaroni has cooked drain it in a colander. Return macaroni to the pot and add the beef mixture. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt and pepper (if you're doing any add ins now is the time to put those ingredients in). Mix well. Heat on low heat and then add the cheese and stir to melt the cheese. Now serve and enjoy!

Adapted from Lynda's Recipe Box

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Chicken And Wild Rice Soup
     Happy New Year!!!
     Well another year is behind us and we are looking at a new year. Time to reevaluate our life and try and make some changes that are for the better. Some of us want to make changes to exercise more, or to just exercise period. Some of us want to save more money and spend less, simplifying our lives. And then some of us want to eat better. So many resolutions. Hopefully some of the things we want to change will become a reality.

     I really want to eat better and save some money so I can go on a trip somewhere. Not that I haven't done these things before, but I just want to make a point of really watching what I eat and making sure I put money aside every paycheck so I can afford to go on a nice trip this year. 

     As far as exercise goes, I'm going to make sure that I go to the gym 3 times a week and really work out. No more wimpy exercising. I'm going to make sure I work out for at least 30 minutes when I do go to the gym. Plus I'm going to make sure I do yoga once a week. It's so easy to get out of the habit of regular exercise.

    So to start my better eating I've made a Chicken and Wild Rice soup recipe that I think you're going to love. It is made in the crockpot, which makes it super easy. I wasn't so sure how the wild rice would cook, but it was very easy. It doesn't take much to whip this soup up and my family liked it better than my usual wild rice soup.

So here's to a New Year! Hope you all have a wonderful 2014!

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
8 C of chicken broth
1 C uncooked wild rice
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 rods of celery, sliced
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 t pepper
2 C cooked, diced chicken
1 stick of butter, melted
1/2 C flour
2 C half and half
2 t parsley 
Siracha sauce, if desired

Add chicken broth and rice to crockpot and turn on high. In a frying pan add olive oil and heat on medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrots and saute until cooked. Add the pepper to the vegetables.  Add to the rice and broth mixture. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
Cook the chicken. ( I took 3 chicken breasts and boiled them until done. About 20-30 minutes). Cut chicken up into bite size pieces and put in the refrigerator for later.
In a small sauce pan melt butter. Add the flour and stir completely in. Then slowly add the half and half, mixing well. Add this to the crockpot mixture along with the chicken and the parsley. Mix well.
Let soup cook for another 20-30 minutes and serve.
Add Siracha sauce to individual bowls if desired.

Adapted from Simply This and that