Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Velvety Sweet Potato Soup

Sorry in advance,
I made this collage on my phone, and apparently my phone and blogger hate each other.

This Soup was pretty darn good, especially if you have some of these ingredients already around the house, it calls for fresh thyme, but dried would be just fine. I really enjoyed it, I thought it tastes like something you'd eat at a bistro, James, my husband, wasn't in love with it like me.

Compliments of eMeals

Velvety Sweet Potato Soup

2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in to 2-inch pieces
5 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 TBS chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 TBS butter
3/4 TEA Salt 3/4 TEA Pepper
3 Green Onions

 Combine, potatoes, broth, onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf in 5 - 7 qt slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours
Mash with potato masher until smooth
strain mixture though a strainer over a bowl, pressing with a spatula to release all the liquid
(this sound weird, but work with me here)
discard solids
stir in cheese, sour cream, butter and S & P
Stir until butter melts
sprinkle with green onions and serve 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

18 months

Tru is 18 months old!

Here's a little video of our latest "outside" pics. <3 br="">

Sunday, January 26, 2014

1 for 2 Crock Pot Meals: Pork Roast with Citrus Salsa & Chipotle Pork Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce

First things first: These pictures do not do these dishes ANY justice, I took them with my phone, on Instagram, really fast, quick and in a hurry because we were hungry!!
The next time I prepare these meals I will:
1. take better pictures.
2. double BOTH recipes
3. invite friends over to enjoy one or both of these because it's been my favorite eMeals recipes so far!!

I gave this recipe set to my coworker a few months ago and she actually hugged me and told me how much she and her picky husband loved them after they'd prepared them both.

"Thank you thank you for giving us something new, different and healthy for us to try, we BOTH loved it!"

My husband kind of turned his nose up to the idea of pork with a citrus salsa, but after every bite he ate he'd say "Mmm! Mmm!"
So there you have it!

I may have to put these items on my grocery list stat!


Pork Roast With Citrus Salsa
Spinach Vegetable dinner salad

Pork Roast With Citrus Salsa
Spinach Vegetable dinner salad

8 hours in crock pot, 15 minutes prep.
This Serves TWO, so adjust accordingly! 

Main dish ingredients:
1 TBS Canola Oil
1 1/2 pork shoulder, trimmed
1/2 TEA Salt 1/2 TEA Pepper
1 TEA paprika
1 Cup chopped onion
1 Cup chicken broth
1/4 Cup grapefruit sections, chopped
1/4 Cup orange sections, choppede
2 TBS finely chopped red onion
1 TBS seeded, chopped, jalapeno
1/8 TEA Salt
(optional: add some pineapple to this mammer jammer!)

Main Dish Instructions:
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle Pork with salt and pepper
add to skillet
cook 8 minutes, or until browned on all sides.
Transfer pork to a 5-7 qt slow cooker
sprinkle with paprika 
add onion and broth to cooker
cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours
(reserve 1/2 of slow cooker mixture for the next meal) 
Combine grapefruit, orange, red onion and jalapeno and the remaining 1/8 TEA salt in a medium bowl.
Serve over pork.

Side Dish Ingredients
3 Cup spinach leaves 
1/4 Cup thinly sliced cucumber  
1/4 Cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 Cup thinly sliced carrot
1 TBS Olive Oil
1 1/2 TEA white wine vinegar
1/2 Dijon mustard
1/8 TEA Sugar
1/4 TEA Salt and Pepper 

Side Dish Instructions: 
combine spinach, onion, cucumber and carrot in a large bowl
combine oil, cinegar, mustard, sugar, S & P in a small bowl
stir with a whisk
drizzle oil mixture over spinach mixture, toss to coat.
And now for the next day's goodies:
Chipotle Pork Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce 
with a sweet potato arugula salad 
** serves 2 so adjust accordingly!  

Main Dish ~ 20 minutes to prepare and cook
Side Dish ~ 40 minutes to prepare and cook  

Chipotle Pork Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce 
with a sweet potato arugula salad 

Main dish Ingredients:
4 corn tortillas
reserved pork from above meal, shredded
1 TBS adobo sauce from canned chipotle chile en adeobo sauce :: this can be found in your Mexican/Asian section of your grocery store. 
1/4 Cup chicken broth
1 avocado, pitted and chopped
2 medium tomatillos, finely chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
2 TBS finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS fresh lime juice
1/4 TEA Salt
1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro

Main Dish Instructions: 
Heat tortillas according to package directions
combine pork, adobo sauce and broth in a saucepan
bring to a simmer and heat thoroughly
divide pork mixture among tortillas
top with avocado
combind tomatillos, tomato, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice and salt in a medium bowl
Top tortillas with tomatillo mixture and cilantro.

Side Dish Ingredients
1.2 Sweet potatoesm peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 TBS sour cream
2 TBS thinly sliced green onions
1 TEA cider vinegar
1/2 TEA salt 1/4 TEA pepper 
2 Cups arugula 

Side Dish Instructions: 
Place sweet potatoes in a sauce pan, add water to cover.
bring to a boil
boil 14 minutes or until potatoes are tender, drain.
cool 15 minutes
stir in sour cream, green onions, vinegar, salt and pepper
add arugula, and toss well.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Derby Pie

To say I have a relationship with food would be an understatement-It seems every recipe I've shared on here, I've also shared a memory. In this case it's the memory of my best friend, Ashley's grandmothers Derby Pie.
Spring semester, freshmen year 2004 in State Hall- two "pop punk" kiddos come back for the weekend and Ashley brings back her Nanny Mathis's Derby Pie. It was solely for me right?? right? I remember her telling me about it, and how it was one of her favorites (if not THE favorite) pie that her Nanny makes. So we dug in, and I've remembered it in the back of my head ever since then!
Flash forward 9 years later, my coworker Tina makes pies here at the store to sale... she makes the yummy, different looking- chocolate chip style pie, guess WHAT, Derby Pie!!! SCORE!!
So this Christmas, I bought some pre-made pie shells to do "whatever" with, and I found my recipe box (very dusty might I add) and found inspiration in a memory.
I've always been a bit intimated in baking, but mostly intimidated with cakes and pies. Folks, this was my first pie to ever make and let me tell you, it was "easy as pie". Definitely a good one to start off on. I hope you give it a shot if you're a novice baker as well. 


Derby Pie
From : Juanita Mathis

1 unbaked pie shell
1 cup white sugar
1/2 all purpose flour
1 stick butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 TEA vanilla extract 
1 cup chopped pecans (optional) 
6 oz chocolate chips (1/2 a bag)

Preheat oven to 325 F. 
Bake pie shell for 5-6 min until it starts to bubble. Remove from oven.
Mix sugar & flour, set aside. 
Melt butter and let it cool for a bit, then stir in slightly beaten eggs into butter. Then add egg/butter mixture into sugar/ flour mixture. Add vanilla, nuts and chips; stir together.
Add mixture to pie shell and bake 40-45 minutes at 325 F.
Start checking around 30-35 min as cooking time may vary.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Play Dates and Wine Induced Art

Fun times picture update!

Momma let loose!!! I got to go have sushi, and some red wine, and some fancy coffee that I enjoyed still warm with my buddy Emma! It was a BLAST a much needed blast!!
Em's and I went to Painting with a Twist in Bentonville and created some art... mine is probably the most breath taking things you've ever seen. It's okay to stare. I know you can't help it!
I know it's awful, but here's what I see when I look at it: Good Times.

Weekend play date with our buddies Braden, Quentin and Carlie.
We had so much fun! Everyone came out to our house and we had Turkey Chili and all kinds of goodies. It has been so long since we'd seen Braden and his folks, so it was wonderful to catch up and watch the boys interact with one another! 

And what kind of weekend post would this be if I didn't add some insta-lovelies:

It's obvious, both of the boys love their doggies... so much so that I believe they're a bit confused!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Toddler Bars

I couldn't think of a neat name for these toddler bars other than "stupid easy toddler bars" or "the good, the bad and the berry toddler bars" so I present to you: Toddler Bars
I will say though everyone from ages 1 to 31 enjoyed these bars!
Give it a shot, you won't be disappointed!

Toddler Bars 
adapted from

1/2 cup of peanut butter 1/2 cup of honey 1 1/2 cups of uncooked, old-fashioned oatmeal

Optional Ingredients:
Ground flax seeds, chia seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, peanuts, or chocolate chips, added to taste.

Combine the peanut butter and honey into a large saucepan, and cook over low heat until the ingredients combine to reach a smooth consistency. Add in the oatmeal (and whichever optional ingredients you choose), and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into a loaf pan, pressing down so that it forms one large bar.
When this has completely cooled, slice into squares and serve!

If you need more double the above and put it in an 8 x 8 pan.

A Picture Testimonial: ;)

Also!! Round Two alert-
Got a mini muffin pan? Use it! It's toddler palm sized! (Might cut it in half so they don't shove the whole thing in their mouth.) 

Saturday, January 18, 2014


 Since all the major networks are merging the month January into fun names, I decided to do the same.
This January has been packed full of fun! Between the snow, late Christmas parties and 56 degree weather, it's been a trip. This time is so much different than Jan 2013 when little man was just learning to sit up, and took lots of trips in the Ergo.
Tru has really gotten into coloring, cows/horses,tractors/cars and making car sounds, and he loves his Peg Buddy family, even though sadly daddy peg has gone MIA.

Also emotionally, err developmentally I'm seeing lots of interesting progress: Tru is much more affectionate now giving long sweet hugs and kisses, and in that same breath he's also pretty physical. We went to a birthday party a few weekends ago, and he hit a sweet, innocent, wonderful seven-month old upside the head because he was in the car he wanted. Here I was surrounded by other families of youngsters and I panicked, what to do? what not to do? yell? brush it off? I didn't want to be disrespectful and I don't want Tru to be either, so in this situation I immediately checked on the poor seven month old who was un-phased by it (thank the sweet lord) and removed my munchkin from the situation and told him no hitting, we don't do that.

I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook as you may know, and the other night I found myself scrolling through my news feed to come across a similar situation and lo and behold the commenter's submitted links for this mother to read, and I read a couple of them too! So now when Tru attempts to be physical to James and I, I say things like "hands are for hugging not for hitting" and maybe it's the cut tooth/ getting over virus/ moon phase but the physicality episodes have extremely decreased.

I know one thing for sure, what my dad has harped in my head all my life is proving to be true: "Lead by example". So I'm doing my absolute BEST to turn: Yelling at Hank (the dog) situations into {Calmly walking over to the door and saying "Outside"} and trying to keep Tru out of things he's not suppose to be in into: {let's go upstairs and play in your room, or lets draw!} good ol diversion.
I'm learning people, I'm learning. 
I can also say with absolute certainty: Being a take to work momma is a lot of work! Very difficult to find a balance, every day is new, every day is different. I'm still trying hard every. single. day.

See, it's not all happiness and sunshine as so many people want you to believe their lives are.
I pretty much only stop to sleep, and even still I'm night nursing my little dove, or checking for fevers at four AM (lately :-/ )
*High fives self, and gives E for effort*

Here are some insta-lovlies from the past 17 days of 2014

| 1. lots of hide and seek, peek a-boo and drawing!!! 2. Jech Christmas, checkin out the ponies. 3. Jech Christmas, hanging with Bee and 4. Headed to work with a little sickling. | 

 Fun times indoors! 1. I love the top picture, my childhood neighbor, Mary Jo made Tru a Raggedy Andy she went on and on about how "this was messed up and so was that" but I think he's perfect, and a real charmer. Note: she did make the doll for baby, not for momma. ;) 
2. Lots of hugging on Luigi, a little froggie I got at our local florist, Pigmint in Fayetteville back in the fall. I thought he looked so familiar and as it turns out, he's a Bla Bla Doll that I've seen on Instagram/ this gal's feed
3. I have lots and lots of help in the kitchen! 
4. Someone has taken over the tri-pod mommy got for Christmas and 5. Meme's reading glasses, entertainment for "hours" in toddler world-- two minutes tops in our time. 

Lastly our 55 degree plus escapade this past weekend, I love watching him be a boy, I grabbed my big ol lens, gave him his space and let him go. 
We walked all the way over to the neighbors horse field, but they weren't impressed with our kissie noises and our "here horsie, horsie, horsie" 's.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

1 for 2 Crock Pot Meals: Fresh Tomato Sauce over Penne Pasta and Cozy Tomato Bisque

Tis The Season for Comfort Food!

I'm so excited to share some of these eMeals recipes with you all!
I'm sure there's a much more clever way phrase for these type meals, but I've been calling them my One for Two meals! Because you cook one meal, then reserve said amount for the next night for a different use! I love it!!! I've always wanted to be one of those innovative ladies with her $#!+ together, and now thanks to eMeals, and these "One for Two Meals"... I. AM. (!!!!)
And you can be too... but you probably already were.
I've got quite a few of these I want to share, but today we'll start out with:

Fresh Tomato Sauce over Penne Pasta and Cozy Tomato Bisque  
With accommodating sides of yumminess. 

Let's Start With The Tomato Sauce

(I make Tru take his shirt off when he eats sauces or soups, daddy decided to join him in the fight against tomato stains too.)

Fresh Tomato Sauce over Penne Pasta  
with Pan-Roasted Asparagus and Onions
 Slow Cooker Meal: 8 hours and ~ 10 minutes 
Main Dish Ingredients:
1 TBS Olive Oil
2 C. Chopped Onion
8 Cloves Garlic, Minced
5 lbs Plum Tomatoes, stemmed and quartered
1 Bay Leaf
2 TBS chopped Fresh Thyme
1 1/2 TEA Salt
1 TEA Pepper
2 C. Chicken Broth
1 C. Chopped Fresh Basil
1 Lb uncooked Penne Pasta
2 TBS Chopped Fresh Parsley
1/4 C. Grated Parmesan Cheese
Note: We didn't have any fresh thyme or basil at the grocery store so I used dried.

Main Dish Instructions:
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet
Add Onion and Garlic, cool 6 minutes, or until crisp-tender.
Transfer Onion mixture to 5-7 Qt Slow-Cooker
Add tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, salt, pepper and broth
Cover and cook on LOW for 8 Hours
Reserve 3 Cups for the next meal in this post
Stir basil into remaining sauce
Cook Pasta according to package directions
Serve tomato sauce over pasta, sprinkle with parsley and cheese. 

Pan-Roasted Asparagus and Onions
1 lb asparagus, trimmed
2 C. thinly sliced red onion
2 TBS Olive oil
1/2 TEA salt 1/4 TEA pepper
1 TBS chopped Parsley 

Side Dish Instructions 
Place asparagus, onion, oil, S & P in a large bowl.
Toss to Combine
heat large skillet over medium-high heat
add asparagus mixture 
cook 6 minutes, or until asparagus is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally
Sprinkle with parsley 

And now for dinner two-

 Cozy Tomato Bisque with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Super Fast Meal: 20 minutes 

Main Dish Ingredients:
Reserved tomato mixture 
1 C Chicken Broth
3/4 C Heavy Cream
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley
1 TEA chopped fresh thyme leaves

Main Dish Instructions:
Combine tomato mixture and broth in large sauce pan
bring to a simmer
stir in cream, parsley and thyme
simmer for 10 minutes 

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches   (this makes like six sandwiches so adjust accordingly)
12 Slices whole wheat bread
4 TBS butter, divided
12 TBS cream cheese, divided
3/4 C Shredded Cheese 

Side Dish Instructions
Spread one side of each bread slice with one teaspoon of butter and one table spoon of cream cheese
Divide Cheddar cheese evenly among six bread slices 
Top with remaining bread slices to make 6 sandwiches 
heat a large skillet over medium-high heat 
lightly coat with cooking spray 
add sandwiches in batches to skillet 
cook 5 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted and cheese melts 

Best sous-chef around :

Try out eMeals for yourself, I'm sure you'll love it!


Homemade Chocolate Gravy

Mary's Chocolate Gravy-

I can remember the first time I had chocolate gravy: I was in fourth grade and we got to have breakfast in the classroom. From that point on I've been hooked!!

As you can see, it didn't take long for a little one to get his hands in the gravy!

Mary's chocolate gravy-
(also my friend Diann's too!)

3 TBS flour
2 1/2 TBS cocoa 
3/4 C. Sugar
2 C. Milk
1/4 C. Butter
Vanilla extract

Whisk everything BUT the vanilla and butter together over the stove on medium heat, let thicken then remove from heat, add butter and vanilla extract.

This is great with any type of biscuit, but I can imaging it being even more phenomenal with The Pioneer Woman's Drop Biscuits!  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

This cake was a lot of fun to make! The hubs said he loved it! 
I really liked it too, but thought it a bit dry, so that's why I added below in the ingredients pineapples, undrained!! 
This cake would be a lot of fun to add variety too by maybe adding carrot or coconut. Paula Dean has a neat sounding Hummingbird Cake & Icing as well. 
Ive had this before, and couldn't for the life of me remember who made it, come to find out my Aunt Vick has made it for years! I found her recipe in my 1982 edition of my hometown cookbook, makes me so happy!! 

 I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

From The Kinfolk Table Cookbook

Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Serves 10 to 12

For the cake:
2 tablespoons (0.6 ounce/28 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3¼ cups (16¼ ounces/460 grams) all-purpose flour
3 bananas
2 cups (14 ounces/400 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (3 grams) baking soda
1 teaspoon (3 grams) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (6 grams) salt
3 large eggs, beaten and at room temperature
1½ cups (12 ounces/360 milliliters) vegetable oil
One 8-ounce (227-gram)
can crushed pineapple, undrained
1½ teaspoons (7.5 milliliters) vanilla extract
2¼ cups (9 ounces/255 grams) pecans, chopped

For the frosting:
Two 8-ounce (454 grams) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2 sticks (8 ounces/227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 pounds (908 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) vanilla extract

For the cake:
  • 1. Position two racks in the upper third and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C. Grease three 9-inch/23-centimeter round cake pans with the butter. Dust the pans with ¼ cup/35 grams flour and knock out any excess; set aside.
  • 2. Finely chop the bananas and measure out 2 cups/340 grams; reserve any leftovers for a different use. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 cups/425 grams flour, the sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the eggs and oil and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in the pineapple, vanilla, and half of the pecans.
  • 3. Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans. Set two pans on the top rack and one on the bottom. Bake, rotating and alternating the cakes halfway through the baking time, for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to racks and cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert them directly onto the racks and cool completely, about 1 hour.
For the frosting and assembly:
  • 1. While the cake cools, beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Decrease the speed to low and add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • 2. To assemble, spread the frosting between the layers, scattering some of the remaining pecans in between. Continue spreading the frosting on the top and sides of the cake and sprinkle the remaining pecans on top. Serve.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Mocha Brownies from Heaven

... Or Ree Drummond

If your taste buds had trumpets they would sound off whilst indulging on these bad boys!! With the icing as high (or higher) than the brownie, you will want to holler out "yahoo!" as well! Enjoy <3 

Aprils note: beat those eggs before you add them to your mixture! I believe that helps the brownies from falling (as mine did) right after taking them out of the oven.

Mocha Brownies
By Ree Drummond
(Hail to the queen!) 

Nonstick baking spray

Four 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate

2 sticks butter

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 

Mae's Mocha Icing:

2 sticks butter, softened

5 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 to 3/4 cup brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick baking spray. For the brownie batter: Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second increments, being careful not to let it burn. Set it aside to cool slightly. In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and granulated sugar. Beat in the eggs. With the mixer on low speed, drizzle in the melted chocolate. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Add the flour to the bowl and mix just until combined; do not over mix. Pour the batter in the prepared baking pan. Spread it to even out the surface. Bake until the center is no longer soft, 40 to 45 minutes. Set the brownies aside to cool completely before icing. For the icing: In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla. Mix until slightly combined, then add 1/2 cup of the coffee. Whip until the icing is light and fluffy. If the icing is overly thick, add 1/4 cup more coffee. It should be very light and fluffy. Ice the cooled brownies, spreading the icing on thick. Refrigerate until the icing is firm, and then slice the brownies into squares.

Christmas time

Christmas 2013 was a lot of fun!! So much different than last years Christmas when little bear could barely sit up! 

T scored a lot of gabba garb and some other fun things- 
I must admit I didn't take many pictures on actual Christmas. We took a video of T seeing his gifts from Santa for the first time which was a lot of fun. 
The pic of T in the collage below with the red and gray outfit on is really the only pic I took on Christmas Day... Whoopsie! 

Santa arrived! 

Christmas crafts with Bee & Poppa 

Milburn Christmas- we've got a runner people. 
So glad all of his other cousins were on their best behaviors. ;)

How was your Christmas?