Sunday, April 08, 2012

happy easter: bamsey cake!

Happy Easter! We had a great time. Eliza understood her Easter egg hunts pretty well this year! On Saturday we went to visit Ryan's grandma and then went to Mike & Joyce's house for dinner. It was a great day. The Easter bunny had made an early visit to Grandma and Grandpa's house and Eliza had a great time running around outside to collect all of the eggs.

Today we went to my parent's house for lunch and I made Bamsey cake. I first had it when I was on NET and our host mom made it for breakfast for us. It's really just like monkey bread, but I'd never had it before. Our host mom (Mrs. Bamsey) gave us the recipe, but when we asked her what she called it, and she said she didn't have a name for it. So we named it Bamsey cake. But more on Bamsey cake later....

The Easter bunny also visited my parents' house. Unfortunately, Eliza's Easter basket hadn't arrived yet, so we had to improvise with her Halloween pumpkin. :)

But Eliza got the idea right away. As soon as she saw the pumpkin, she remembered that candy was supposed to go in there and was very excited to go find some eggies!

Mike & Joyce came over to my family's house for Easter dinner. We had some great food and great times! It was a lovely day.

And now back to Bamsey cake!

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a bundt pan. You can sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped nuts into the bottom of the pan if you like. Place 2 packages of Pillsbury grands cinnamon rolls inside standing up (see below).

In a medium saucepan, melt 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup white sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Boil these ingredients together for 1 minute and then pour them over the cinnamon rolls.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 1 minute. Then place a plate over the top of the pan and flip the cake over.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes longer and enjoy! So-freaking-yummy!



Friday, March 30, 2012

friday: recycled crayons

Happy Friday! No cooking today, sorry! You'll have to settle for our (non-edible) afternoon activity instead!

Eliza's crayon collection has gotten a little shabby looking. She doesn't break crayons on purpose (most of the time), but she does like to press hard with them. So you can guess how quickly we go through the normal slender crayons. :)

When I went to Virginia to visit my family earlier this month, we stopped at IKEA. I had been wanting to get some of their silicon ice cube trays for a while now to make recycled crayons. So $1.99 later, I was in possession of a very nice fishy ice cube tray. (Don't think that's all I bought, though...)

Today I decided to peel the papers from the broken crayons (hardest part of the whole process, trust me) and start making crayons.

First I preheated the oven to 250F. Then I broke the crayons into small pieces, sorted them out by color, and then placed the broken bits into the fishy tray. Eliza really enjoyed helping me sort them.

I was a little nervous about the ice cube tray melting, as I'd heard happened to some people who tried this, so I placed the filled tray onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper just in case. Then I baked the crayons at 250F for about 15 minutes. By about 8 minutes, they were about half melted, so I recommend heating checking on them every couple of minutes while the crayons are melting.

After they were melted, I put the ice cube tray in the freezer for 20 minutes and they were hard enough to remove from the tray at that time.

And in case you're wondering, this is what the tray looked like when I was done removing them. I expected the tray to be ruined (or possibly melted), but after soaking it in warm soapy water most of the crayon scrubbed off. I still won't use it for ice, but it is a fun shape for crayons.

They popped out pretty easily for the most part, but some of them had little pieces that broke off. Eliza also loved helping take them out of the tray. She was really excited about them! It was a fun afternoon activity.

Love, K&E

Friday, March 23, 2012

friday: crab linguine

My baby sister is turning 25 on the 30th and we were celebrating her birthday tonight. She requested I make Reese's cheesecake brownies from Pip & Ebby (a-mazing), Red Lobster copycat biscuits, and my crab linguine. My crab linguine is my usual Lenten Friday fallback because it's easy and super delicious, but I hadn't made it yet because I've been posting my Friday meals and don't want to seem lame. :)

I made half of the brownies while Eliza was taking a nap. Then I got all of the ingredients packed up and headed to my parent's house to finish the meal. As you can see we were in for a very rich meal.

We had a nice celebration and a wonderful meal. I'm pretty sure we all felt like unbuttoning our pants after dinner, though. I know I sure did.

Crab Linguine
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 16 oz imitation crab meat, chopped
  • 1 cup thawed frozen peas
  • 1 lb linguine pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions.
After beginning to boil pasta, melt butter, half & half, and cheese in a large skillet until bubbly and thickened. About 10 minutes.
Add imitation crab and peas to the sauce until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Serve sauce over cooked linguine.

Red Lobster Copycat Biscuits
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
Preheat over to 350F.
Mix Bisquick, water, and cheese together until a dough is formed.
Roll dough on a lightly floured surface until 1" thick and cut into 8-10 biscuits.
Melt butter and mix with spices.
Place cut out biscuits on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and brush with butter/spice mixture.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Enjoy warm.

Ok I'm getting tired now, so I'll just let you go to Pip & Ebby's site to get the brownie recipe. Fair warning: these are super rich! Cut yourself a small square!

Here are my pictures of making the brownie delight. You can see what it is. Candy + Brownie + Cheesecake + Fudge + more Candy! Yep. Genius.

The glorious finished product.

Ready to dig in!


Happy Birthday Emmy! Thanks for being a great sister!

Love, K

Friday, March 16, 2012

friday: aloo gobi

I loved eating aloo gobi and chicken tikka masala when I was in India. The aloo gobi I've had back home isn't quite the same, especially when I make it myself. Still good, but not quite the same. In my memory, aloo gobi was more like chicken tikka masala sauce but with vegetables instead.

So I tried recreating it this Friday. It isn't my finest creation, but it's not bad. I made it in the slow cooker to make sure the potatoes got nice and tender.

I also tried a new butter naan recipe that I found from The Novice Chef. The naan was softer than what I've tried to make before, but it was missing the buttery flavor that I love so much. Next time I think I'll make it with 1/4 cup melted butter instead of oil.

Hope you enjoy it!

Aloo Gobi

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
3 russet potatoes, diced
28oz can crushed tomatoes
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
1" cube ginger, minced
2 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cups jasmine or basmati rice, prepared according to directions
1 cup frozen peas, steamed

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Heat until potatoes and caulifower are tender (7-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high).
30 minutes before serving, prepare rice according to directions.
Serve over rice and top with steamed peas.
Enjoy with butter naan.

Butter Naan from The Novice Chef

2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2.5-3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 melted butter
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1 large egg

Combine yeast, sugar and water in a bowl. Allow to set until frothy, about 5 minutes.
Add flour, salt, oil, yogurt and egg. Stir/knead until well combined. Then knead dough 3-5 minutes until a soft, not sticky, dough is formed.
Cover with a towel and rest for 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Begin heating a large, heavy skillet on medium heat.
Divide into 8 pieces. Roll each section into a ball. Roll each ball into a thin circle and brush each side with a small amount of melted butter.
Cook the naan in the heated skillet until large bubbles are seen in the dough (about 3 minutes). Then flip the naan and cook until the bubbles are browned on the other side (about 2 minutes).
Brush with more melted butter and enjoy warm.


Love, K

Friday, March 09, 2012

friday: mushroom alfredo

Ok, so this is a cheater post because I made this on Tuesday for lunch, but it is meatless and delicious! Tonight, if you must know, we had Pizza Hut cheese pizza. Not as exciting. :)

Eliza and I had this for lunch because she wanted noodles and mushrooms. (Not that she ate the mushrooms, but I can't say I denied her wishes!) It was really good and super easy. I made it all in the time it took me to boil the noodles. (Nine minutes if you want to be exact about it.)

Hope you enjoy it!

Mushroom Alfredo for Two

4 oz dried pasta
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup half & half
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Heat oil in a skillet and sautee mushrooms, garlic, and parsley until mushrooms are browned and tender.
Add butter, half & half, and cheese, stirring until melted.
Serve over cooked noodles and sprinkle with parsley to garnish.
Enjoy with garlic bread!

Super Easy Yummy Garlic Bread

1 loaf French bread
4 tbsp butter at room temperature
Garlic salt
Italian seasoning
Shredded Italian cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to broil setting.
Slice french bread and spread with butter. Top with cheese if desired.
Sprinkle garlic salt and Italian seasoning on top for your buttered bread.
Arrange on a baking sheet and broil on the top rack for 30 seconds or until browned.

See...easy meal and you won't be disappointed! Eliza loved it. (Minus the mushrooms, but she has never given them a chance....don't worry...I gladly ate the mushrooms for her!)


Love, K

Sunday, March 04, 2012

big mac pizza

My sister mentioned that she had made a Big Mac pizza a few weeks ago, and I've been thinking about it ever since! I usually am not a Big Mac fan, but it just sounded really good to me, so I decided to give it a try!

It was delicious, even for a non Big Mac lover! Tasted just like the real thing, only less greasy. (Plus!)

Here it is! Enjoy!

First, I sauteed 1 lb lean ground beef with 1/2 cup chopped onions until the beef was browned and the onions were tender. I also diced about 1/4 cup pickles and 1/2 cup roma tomatoes.

I made my favorite pizza dough and baked it according to directions. Eliza, of course, was a big helper and measured the flour for me! I was glad I'd thought to put her little apron on! The pizza dough covered our 18" x 12" baking sheet.

Then I covered the crust with 12 oz of light thousand islands dressing and topped that with the beef and onions. Then I sprinkled the pickles and tomatoes over the beef and drizzled some yellow mustard over the toppings.

I topped the pizza with 2 cups of Italian style cheese and 2 cups of cheddar cheese and baked the pizza at 425F for 10 minutes. Bake your pizza according to your crust directions.

When it was out of the oven, I sprinkled some chopped lettuce over the top of Ryan's pizza. He likes lettuce on pizza, but I don't care for it. It was so good! Just like a Big Mac only better!


Love, K

Saturday, March 03, 2012


Today Ryan and I went to a Focolore marriage retreat. It was really nice to spend the day talking about love and communication. The idea behind Focolore is to love everyone as Christ loves. (Something I need to work on!)

The other couples there were all wonderful, and we had a lot of fun talking when them throughout the day. Ryan, proud papa that he is, was showing off pictures of Eliza all day. The picture he was showing everyone was a picture I took of Eliza in was the day she discovered that she had pockets.

One of the women at the retreat said "Make sure you remember that moment because nothing else in her life will ever be as exciting or make her that again!"

Isn't it amazing how little kids get so happy over the smallest things? Eliza was thrilled that day. When she first found the pockets, she ran over to me saying "Whas 'is?" I told her it was a pocket and showed her how to put her hands in her pockets. For the next 10 minutes, she proudly strutted around the house with her little hands in her pockets saying "Po-ket! Po-ket!"

A-dorable! Love her!

What an example to follow! I wish I could love people like Eliza does, not being judgmental, but being open and caring. I wish I could love everyone as she does. I wish I could find joy in the little things in life as easily as she does.

Good thing I have such a good example, and a good God to teach me to how to do it!

Love, K

Friday, March 02, 2012

friday: lentil tacos

Happy second Friday in Lent! Tonight's dinner wasn't quite as hard for me to dream up because we've had lentil tacos before and loved them! Good old HyVee! Our daily shopping trips there always bring more good than just groceries! Ryan went shopping about a month before Lent and the dietitian had made up these tacos and was giving away samples plus the recipe, originally from They are super yummy, cheap to make, and you won't miss the meat at all! Even Eliza loved them!

I followed the recipe, except it called for chicken broth. I'm not sure if that counts as "meat" on Fridays, so I opted to use vegetable broth and it was just as good!

Saute 1 cup finely chopped onion and 1 clove minced garlic in 1 tsp canola oil until onion is tender. Add 1 cup dried, rinsed lentils, 1 tbsp chili powder, 2 tsp ground cumin and 1 tsp oregano to the skillet and stir until fragrant.

Add 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until lentils are tender. Cook uncovered 6-8 more minutes, until thickened.

Stir in 1 cup salsa and remove from heat. Serve in tortilla shells topped with lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and tomatoes.

Happy Friday!

Love, K

Friday, February 24, 2012

friday: pad thai

Happy first Friday of Lent! I decided I would post what we've been having for dinner on Fridays this year for a little inspiration! (Heaven knows I need all of the inspiration I can get when it comes to deciding what to cook for dinner!)

So it's around 3pm on Friday and I have no ideas. At all! In fact, all I can think about are Chef Chole's vegan chocolate cupcakes! Oh dear... This is the result of giving up dessert for Lent! ;)

Then I remember, oh duh! Chef Chole is vegan and I bet she has some wonderful ideas! So I went to her website and made this delicious vegan pad thai! So yummy! The only thing I changed is I added 1 lb of shrimp (because I am not vegan and I could)!

So good! Enjoy!

Love, K

Thursday, February 23, 2012

uh oh mama!

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Last year Eliza didn't even notice when the priest placed the ash cross on her forehead, but this year was a different story! When we got up to the priest for ashes, he tried to place them on Eliza, but she swatted his hand away. (Congregation began to chuckle.) Then he put them on me and made a quick dot on Eliza's forehead. As soon as she saw my ashes she started saying "Uh oh, Mama!" (loudly) over and over and over again, trying to rub the ashes off of my forehead. The congregation was laughing loudly at this point and Eliza and I took a trip to the hallway.

Oh those babies!

Love, K