Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chocolate Cake (Crock-Pot)

I bought a slow cooker cook book and found a recipe for baking a cake in a crock-pot and wanted to try it...

1 package (about 18 oz.) chocolate cake mix
1 container (8 oz.) sour cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup water
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 package (4-serving size) instant chocolate pudding and pie filling mix

1. Coat Crock-Pot slow cooker with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl; mix well. Transfer to Crock-Pot slow cooker.
3. Cover and cook * the recipe book had a cook time conflict *
          - in the instructions it said cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH 3 to 4 hours.
          - at the top of the page it said cook time: 3 to 4 hours LOW and 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours on HIGH
I tried it on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours and ended up having to keep checking on it after my 4 hours mark was up, because the center was still not done all the way. After a little additional time to let the cake bake I cut into it. The center was very moist and delicious but the sides were a little bit crisp.

I topped it with french vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup! The cake was good, but we had to work our way around the hard outside edges. It was a good learning experiment, but my advice would be to leave the baking to the oven. :)


Saturday, March 12, 2011

for those we love

my mother and grandmother share the same birthday, march 3, 1943 and 1963. these women have been such a blessing and a gift to me...

~through the laughter and the tears, the lessons and the teachings, the arguments and the agreeing, my mother has never left my side. we don't always understand each other, in fact a lot ;), but differences are just ways to learn about the amazing characteristics that each person is built with!~ 

~my grandmother is nothing short of amazing! the woman has more spunk and energy than i do at times! her pure heart and funny comments really keep me on my toes...she's been there to rock me to sleep as a child and she has always been here to listen to me as an adult. what more could anyone want?~

i decided to make these wonderful women their own personal birthday cards and i had a blast doing it! being the first time i've ventured out of the "scrap-booking realm" i felt that these turned out to be a real treat...

~Mom's Card~

~Grama's Card~

although it's a little past due, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mom and Grama!!! You two are beautiful women inside and out and i am truly blessed to have such enriching individuals in my life <3


something fun =)

i enjoy being creative these days with food and decided to try something a little bit more challenging...STUFFED SHELLS with marinara sauce!! i was a little nervous but once i got to mixing, the masterpiece was coming together. the recipe is simple and easy to follow and super good in the end!

*jumbo pasta shells (i made about 7 stuffed shells and that was enough)
*1 tsp of salt
*1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
*2 large eggs
*1 c grated Parmesan cheese
*2 c grated mozzarella cheese
*2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or mint (or 2 tsp dried)
*1 (26 oz) jar Italian pasta sauce

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees while bringing a large pot of water to boil. add 1 tsp salt and pasta shells to the boiling water. boil the shells for about 5 min. only so that they still feel firm (this will assist in the stuffing process). once they are finished run them unto cool water and allow to sit while you make the stuffing.

2. in a large bowl stir together: a) the ricotta cheese, b) eggs, c) Parmesan cheese, d) mozzarella cheese and e) parsley or mint. pour about 1 c of pasta sauce into the casserole dish you plan on using to give the bottom some flavor and prevent the stuffed shells from sticking. 

3. now for the fun part!!! take a spoon and begin to stuff the shells with the mix. place in the casserole dish side by side and spoon the remaining pasta sauce on top of the stuffed shells and bake uncovered for about 30 min. you can freeze some of these and cook again at a different time.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

First furniture re-do

This is the first furniture re-do that I have done that I've actually taken the time to sand, prime and to seal! :) A couple weeks ago I found a link for a free paint sample from Valspar called Sassy Green, so that's the color I used. The hubby used the electric sander and sanded it down for me...and I got started! You can get your free sample here.




Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo

1/2 of 16oz package linguine
1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli flowerets
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 can Campbell's®  Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan chees

10 Easy Steps
1. Prepare the linguine according to the package direction
2. Add the broccoli in the last 4 min. of cooking
3. Drain linguine and broccoli
4. Return pasta to saucepan
5. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat
6. Add the chicken and cook for 10 min. or until well browned (stir often)
7. Stir in soup, milk, black pepper, cheese and linguine w/ broccoli into the skillet
8. Cook and stir until chicken is completely cooked
9. Add additional cheese if desired
10. Serve :)