Archive for July, 2011

Is it bad that I am enjoying the fact that my husband is out of town for work tonight? I’ve gotten so much accomplished and it’s been so nice and peaceful. I think I might be an awful wife for thinking this thought. Please…oh please….tell me I’m not.

I’m a rather independent person and I have to admit getting married was quite the adjustment for me. We are coming up on our one year anniversary and I can’t say there haven’t been a few bumps in the road. I love my husband dearly but sometimes two people just have differences. I’m hoping a few of you can relate to this. I lived alone for three years before getting married. We did not live together before we got married. I’m not on a soapbox about this subject but we just decided we were not going to. I’m glad we didn’t because we were excited about this aspect and it was truely a treat to get married and be able to live together. Well a treat most of the time that is. I had a big adjustment factor. I was used to coming home and the house was clean, just as I had left it. The cupboards were stocked, just as I had stocked them. The bathroom was neat and tidy, just as I had left it. Boy was my world rocked when I came home and nothing was as I had left it. There were a few, or a lot, of not so pretty moments as I learned to try to relax, something I admit I’m not great it, and let the small things slide. We’ve come a long ways but I’ll admit sometimes I need some me time to relax and get things accomplished.

The hubby is actually building a cabin about an hour away and will be gone during the week for the next month for sure and I’m thinking it might be good to have time to miss each other and look forward to seeing each other just like we used to when we lived an hour apart. It might be like dating again. I think when we get married we lose a little bit of something special. I miss that excitement and thrill of looking forward to seeing each other and spending time together. The hubby being gone a bit just might be a positive thing in our relationship…I’m going to say that I miss my hubby already even though I did get a lot done. There’s no one here to give me that hug when I get frustrated or tease me about something stupid I did (not that it happens often at all!).

Whoa…I think I got off on a tangent there! Now for the recipe I’m going to share with you. It’s blueberry season and I had to pick up a few cartons of blueberries when they were on sale at the grocery store. The hubby isn’t a blueberry fan so the coworkers got treated to this recipe. It’s a very delicous coffee cake and I would describedthe texture more like a pound cake than light and fluffy. The hubby did try a piece and he said it was pretty good for being blueberry. He thought that maybe I could subsitute strawberries because he really liked the plain part of the cake. The coworkers were dashing into the kitchen to grab a piece after I let them know it was in there. One even emailed me while she was eating it to tell me how good it was! Enjoy!

Fresh Blueberry Coffee Cake
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1 1/4 c. fresh blueberries
1 1/3 c. white sugar, divided
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1/2 c. pecans (optional)

3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp warm water
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease tube pan.

2. In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, 1/3 cup sugar and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes, or until thick. Stir constantly and set aside.

3. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.

4. Combine flour, salt and baking powder. Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Add flavoring.

5. Spoon half of mixture into prepared pan. Spoon half of blueberry mixture into pan. Add remaining batter, then blueberries. Swirl with a knife gently. Sprinkle with pecans, if using.

6. Bake 50 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before removing from pan. Place on a serving dish.

7. Prepare glaze: Mix glaze ingredients well. Drizzle over top of cake.

Recipe From: Recipe Girl

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Lemon Crumb Bars

I never realize how many people actually read my blog. It simply amazes me. Last night I had two incidents like that. To me I just write and post and never think that people that are my friends, neighbors and relatives are waiting for the next recipe.

First incident last night – Now you have to realize in both cases I live in a small town in west central Minnesota. Pretty much everyone is related or knows each other. For example going to the grocery store is a social event. I’m not joking. You should typically expect to spend no less than a 45 minutes if you go in to get a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk. Last night I stopped there after work, well actually twice but the second time was actually a quick affair i.e. I put my head down and dashed in and out! The first time I ran into my high school classmate who was actually my prom date too. I love the kid. He’s seriously awesome and knows how to make my day just by saying hi. I was going from aisle to aisle when I hear him say Hey Julie I love your blog! I was like whoa you actually read it? He goes on to tell me when his girlfriend and aren’t sure what to make they go to my blog and look for ideas. He reported he made both the Taco Pie and the Pizza Paninis and they were great! Now that’s how you put a smile on this girl’s face! I was on cloud nine and ever called my mom afterwards to tell her. She’s loves him too. He just went up a few more notches in both our books!

Second incident last night – My hubby and I were at a visitation last night for his relative that passed away. As we exited the funeral home his best friend’s mom yells Hey it’s Julie’s Eats & Treats! I was like oh my goodness she reads my blog? I never knew! Woohoo do a little dance for finding out about TWO new readers tonight.

Moral of the story is I LOVE hearing about you guys and what you think of my recipes so don’t stop commenting and telling me about it.

Now I bet you are wondering about these Lemon Crumb Bars so I’ll get off my soapbox and give you the recipe. They aren’t the typical gooey lemon bar. They have a nice thick lemon crust with a little gooey then a nice crumb topping on top. I think they are just wonderful, but you already know that because I’m sharing them with you. So if you are looking for a bit of a different twist on the typical lemon bar you are in luck. Enjoy!

Lemon Crumb Bars
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1 package (18 1/4 ounces) lemon cake mix
1/2 c. cold butter
1 egg
2 c. crushed saltines (about 60 crackers)
3 egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. lemon juice

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat cake mix, butter and egg until crumbly. Stir in cracker crumbs; set aside 2 cups of the mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture into a 9 x 13 in cake pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until edges are browned.

2. In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks; milk and lemon juice. Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake at 20-25 minutes longer or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.

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Monster Cookies

I have a confession to make…I’ve been holding out on you. Yes, yes I really have been, but I didn’t even know it. I can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe with you yet.
It’s these magnificent Monster Cookies that I’ve been holding out. They are out of this world in the way that you might have to tell your significant other to remove them from your reach or maybe even hide them. They are that good. I’m not lying. They are chewy, soft and utterly perfect. Personally I hate cookies that crunch and are not soft, so you will rarely if ever find one of those on here. Plus they stay soft for several days. BONUS!
This recipe is from my dear friend Derek, who I went to high school and college with. He introduced it to me after high school when we decided one summer to bake/cook together weekly. Yes we might have been dorks, but we were ok with it and our friends loved it! After we made this Monster Cookie recipe I have never ever even thought of looking for another one. It would be like cheating on it. I’m not that type of girl. I just won’t go there! Once again I adapted this recipe to be chocolate free by using Reese’s Piece and peanut butter chips but you can substitute the M&M’s and chocolate chips if you prefer it that way. Enjoy!

Monster Cookies
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1 stick butter
1 1/2 c. peanut butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
4 1/2 c. quick oatmeal
1 c. peanut butter or chocolate chips
1 c. Reese’s Pieces or M&M’s

1. Mix all together and let stand 1/2 hour

2. Baked at 325 degrees for 12 minutes

3. Take out before they look done. Let sit on the cookie sheet 5 minutes. They will continue to cook on the cookie sheet. Remove to wire rack and let cool.

Shared on Hugs & Cookies 7/26/11

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It’s another blog hop! I picked this topic because it seems like all my friends are preggers and having babies. I love to treat them with a meal after they come home with their loved one, but I’m running out of ideas. My favorite ones to share are Spasagna and Scalloped Potatoes with Ham & Cheese.

Now it’s your turn to join in on the Food for Friends fun! Link up your fave recipe for sharing (or two or even three!) so we can all drool over them and try them out. Follow the directions below. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

1. Please share a link back to your actual recipe post, not to your main blog page.
2. Please visit two links and leave a comment on the recipe letting them know I sent you over.

And that’s it! The party will be over on Monday night, July 25th. Just link up now!

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I actually didn’t even plan on making this recipe. Sometimes things are just meant to be. I went to make Simple & Creamy Chicken Tortilla Casserole and realized I was out of sour cream. Don’t you just hate when that happens? I already had the chicken cubed and cooking so my brain started thinking. I had pulled this recipe out of the recipe box a few weeks ago because I’ve had a few requests for healthy recipes so this is what we had for supper! I know I don’t do many healthy recipes, but when I make recipes I try to use light or fat free ingredients as much as possible. Although I’ll warn you fat-free cheese just doesn’t melt right! I believe that you can eat everything in moderation and this is what I go by. I don’t deprive myself of things I enjoy, but I try to limit things I shouldn’t have. And no this does not always work (like the three or maybe even four cookies I ate last night…recipe coming soon!). I wasl definitely at the gym this morning at 5:45 am. I was not blessed with good genes where I can eat anything I want unfortunately. Dang you Dad for not passing that gene down! Seriously. The man upsets me. He stills weighs what he did when he graduated high school. He told me his belly is a bit larger now though. He called it “settling”. Gotta love his honesty at least. I took a “healthified” Alfredo sauce recipe and then added the chicken and peas to it. I personally like a little substance in my pasta so I added the chicken. You can leave this out if you would like. As for the peas they were added because my hubby won’t eat broccoli. I would have added broccoli otherwise but this was the only way to sneak in some veggies. Once again feel free to substitute broccoli for the peas. So here is my healthified Alfredo recipe. Enjoy!

Smarter Chicken Alfredo & Peas
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8 oz fettuccine, uncooked
1 1/4 c. fat free chicken broth
4 tsp flour
4 oz fat free cream cheese
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 c. peas, cooked
1 lb chicken breasts, cubed and cooked

1. Cook pasta as direct on package. Cook peas as directed on package. Cubed and cook chicken in skillet over medium heat.

2. Combine broth and flour in a saucepan. Stir in cream cheese; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly until mixtures boils and thickens. Stir in chicken and peas. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and the parsley.

3. Toss pasta with sauce, 2 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese and nutmeg.

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Skillet Lasagna

The words definitely are not coming to me tonight. Sometimes I can sit down and I have so much to tell you, but tonight is definitely not one of those nights. It could be because work has fried my brain this week. We had an amazing lightening storm on Sunday night. It was the most ridiculous lightening I have ever saw. It reminded me of dud fireworks. You know those ones that have a bright flash and then a loud boom. It was just like that only about five times as loud. A few times it even shook the house. I could feel the walls vibrate. It was wicked. I said this several times throughout the night followed by this. “Oh hubby this is going to make for a fun day at work tomorrow.” I work at a telecommunications company and I’m the Service Coordinator, so when things go wrong I’m the person they go to. Along with several other people! Let’s just say I put in a thirteen hour day on Monday if that tells you how crazy it was. I keep on thinking the next day will be better but so far it hasn’t been so I’m praying for a good day tomorrow. This lightening was so bad that one of our customers told us the lightening hit his house somewhere and blew out his tv, computer, blew his phone jack cover right off the wall and screwed up the computers on his brand new SUV. Now that is nuts! As much as you love hearing about my lightening stories I bet you want to hear about this recipe that I’m going to share with you. The hubby loves lasagna but I hate the time it takes to prepare it. This one cuts down on time and makes it super simple but still yummy. Plus you don’t even have to turn on the oven in this heat! Trust me you’ll enjoy it!

Skillet Lasagna
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1 lb ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic, undrained
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
2/3 c. condensed cream of onion soup, undiluted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 c. 1% cottage cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
9 no-cook lasagna noodles
1/2 c. shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. In a skillet, brown beef and garlic over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomatoes and spaghetti sauce, heat through. Transfer to large bowl.

2. In a small bowl, combine the soup, eggs, cottage cheese and Italian seasoning.

3. Return 1 cup meat sauce to the skillet; spread evenly. Layer with 1 c. cottage cheese mixture, 1 1/2 cups meat sauce and half of the noodles, breaking to fit. Repeat layers of cottage cheese mixture, meat sauce and noodles. Top with remaining meat sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-17 minutes. Cook another 10 minutes with lid off to let the sauce thicken.

4. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with shredded cheeses. Let stand for 5 minutes to let it thicken.

Adapted from: Taste of Home

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I made this recipe with my niece the other night. I had it “pinned” on Pinterest and she had full control over what recipe we were going to try out. When she comes to visit life usually gets put on hold and we do whatever she likes to do. This weekend she was my “assistant” in the kitchen. I was amazed at how well she can bake! She knew how to scrape the bowls, level off the baking powder and flour etc. She proudly said my grandma taught me that. Good thing Grandma is so smart because that’s where I got all my “mad” skills from too! This is a very kid friendly recipe that they are sure to love. I didn’t use homemade dough but it would be excellent with it. I had a few frozen bread dough loaves in the freezer and pulled those out and they worked great. I made it by the recipe the first time, but with the leftovers I spiced it up a bit with Italian Seasoning and Garlic Salt brushed on it. They were “ok” without and amazing with the extra seasonings. The hubby loved it and it’s a great twist to the typical pizza. There is only so much pizza I can consume, which in hindsight is a lot! Enjoy!

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread
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2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp butter
2 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
2 lb frozen bread dough or pizza dough
6 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed
48 Turkey Pepperoni
2-3 c. marinara sauce

1. Heat garlic and butter over medium heat until garlic just beings to brown. Remove from heat and add garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Spray inside of bundt pan with non stick spray.

2. Pull off marble sized pieces of dough and flatten. Top with a slice of pepperoni and a cube of mozzarella cheese and seal well. Very lightly brush pizza ball with butter mixture. I did this after I had made all the pizza dough balls because buttery hands = not being able to seal dough well. Put the dough balls in the bundt pan. Top them with the remaining butter mixture.

3. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 35 minutes until the top is very brown. Turn onto a platter and served with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

Adapted From: Confections of a Foodie Bride

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