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Becca’s Belly Busters

19 Aug

Last night was…you guessed it…Girls Night In! Its been awhile since we’ve had a GNI, and I was so excited to kick back with a glass of wine and enjoy the “cooler” weather we’ve been having.  After work I headed over to my friend Alison’s house, and the lovely hostess had some wine ready — just in time!

The other day I cornered Chef Becca and I convinced her to do a recipe tutorial for the blog! She graciously obliged to my begging; and on the menu for the night was….(drumroll please)..Beef Enchiladas a.k.a. Becca’s Belly Busters.  Or if  you ask my sister, they are “cheesy roll-up thingys.”  Becca’s Mexican food is a staple on Girls Night – its something I always look forward to!  Even though the recipe is easy peesy (and cheesy, ha!), until now i’ve never known how to make enchiladas.

Here’s what she did:

1lb ground beef

1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chili peppers)

1 packet taco seasoning

1 bag shredded cheese

1 can red enchilada sauce

1 pkg Large Tortillas

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 375

2. Brown the ground beef and drain well

3.  In a bowl: mix beef, taco seasoning and Rotel (un-drained)

4.  In a casserole dish: pour a small amount of enchilada sauce to lightly coat the bottom of the dish

5.  Spread the beef mixture on the tortillas and sprinkle with cheese

A generous sprinkle

6.  Wrap up (burrito style) and place in the casserole dish

7. After preparing enough to fill your casserole dish, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the rolls and top with cheese (Becca makes ours extra cheesy)

8.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Cheese should be completely melted.

Voila!  It’s called “Amazing in your mouth!”

For those of you that don’t know, Chef Becca moonlights as a bartender.  See? She made us dessert!

Ay Ay! Tequila!

Two nights in a row I have stuffed my face, looks like the gym will be seeing me this weekend after all!!

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Frozen Dog Treats

16 Aug

Thank goodness gracious that this heat is starting to slow down because, phew, i’m so done with it;  and as a matter of fact i’m 100% sure the dogs are done with it too! Brock and Sully usually love being outside and playing around – but not lately.  What was the run? 2 weeks? Two freaking weeks of temperatures over 100 degrees, what are we coming to people!?

I’ve been downing smoothies and frozen yogurt like its my job (this heat is the perfect excuse).  I have even stooped to taking a cold shower on the weekends just to cool off.  My poor little pups have had to grin and bear it.

Jake figured out that they love it when you fill their water bowl outside with ice cubes.  They go crazy and try to catch the ice like they are bobbing for apples.  Seeing them do this reminded me of the Puppy Party we had for Brock at a local pet shop earlier this year.  All of the canines were served “Doggy Ice Cream”, and they loved it so much that the owner was kind enough to give me her recipe!

It’s simple really, kind of reminds me of the way I make my dog biscuits (just throw in what you’ve got).

Here’s what I did:

1 large sweet potato

1/2 cup water

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt (use less if your dog has a weak stomach)

1 small banana

1. Peel and chop the sweet potato into large chunks.  Boil the sweet potatoes for 10 minutes or until soft

Bubble and Boil!

2. Combine the boiled sweet potatoes and 1/2 cup of water in a blender (or food processor) and mix until smooth.  It should look like baby food at this point.

Baby Food Mush

3. Add yogurt and banana split into chunks.  Hit that magical “liquefy” button and viola!

Mmmm..Looks Like Dessert

I poured my mix into silicone ice trays left over from the Fourth of July and stuck them with straws before freezing.  This will make it easier to pull the treats out of the tray.

Two Hours, and We're Ready to Go!

After about 2 hours I let the pups try the frozen treats with every intention of snapping some cute pics.  Yeah, that didn’t work out so well – Sully took hers in one bite and Brock grabbed his and ran.  This is all that was left:

Little Brats!

After a little research online, I noticed that some people add peanut butter or beef bouillon. Brock and Sully would go freaking nuts for that!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

24 Jul

It was really great to be able to enjoy a standard Saturday for a change.  Due to all of the events we have had lately, most of my weekends have been dedicated to planning this and doing that.

With our move coming up very quickly, Jake and I spent most of the day packing and cleaning.  Late in the afternoon, when our efforts were exhausted, I headed to the kitchen to get cookin’.  Earlier in the week one of my friends, Heather, asked if I would bring a dish to Tyler’s Cookout.  Of course I was happy to do so, and she specifically requested my Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Sure, everyone and their mother has this recipe; but I like to think mine is a little something special for all my favorite people.  The dip is pretty basic, recipe-wise, however I end up making it a little differently every time.  This is one of those things that you really just have to make your own.

Here’s what I did:

2 Cans Chicken (yes, cans)

2 Cups Cheddar Cheese (shredded)

2 Packages Cream Cheese (cubed)

2 Cups Ranch Dressing (I used Fat Free)

2 Cups Buffalo Wing Sauce (I used Texas Pete Wing Sauce)

1. On Medium, heat the hot sauce in a large saucepan until warm.

Hot Hot Heat

2.  Add chicken and stir until chicken is broken up and completely shredded.  Allow to warm until the mix begins to bubble.

3.  Add chunks of cream cheese and allow to melt.  Stir mix until there are no more chunks in the pan.

Packing in the Calories

4.  Fold in Ranch dressing and warm until mix begins to bubble.

Ranch-a-holic

5.  Add Cheddar and allow to melt before folding in.

I keep my dip in a crock pot when serving, to keep it warm.  However, it is still delicious when eaten cold.  Sidenote:  this dip is obviously in no way healthy at all. Whoops!

Not to toot my own horn, but this dip was delish! I made sure to put some aside for the Honorary Guests for their long drive.

Gift for the Road

I think everyone had a great time at the cookout.  It was wonderful to be able to spend time with all of our friends in a laid back environment (even though it was 108 degrees outside).  This was perfect for all of us to be able to spend one last fun night with Tyler and Biff before they ride off into the New Hampshire sunset.

Tyler & Biff

While this was surely bittersweet, I know these two enjoyed being with their loved ones.  We stayed up late and all avoided the “goodbyes” for as long as we could; I was able to escape without tears.  The evening ended on a happy note, and we all took some memories with us for sure.

T & B will be back as soon as possible (they better be), because football season is right around the corner, and I know they cannot miss a little Gamecock action! In Tyler’s Facebook words: “This is not goodbye South Carolina, its see ya later!”

Kinda Mango Salsa

25 Jun

Okay, okay, we have one more recipe post.  Do you remember that Corn Salad I made earlier this week after Mr. Jake brought home all that fresh white corn?  Well, true to my word, I used the rest to make a Mango Salsa for the Bachelorette Party tonight!  I guess it is only “kinda” Mango Salsa, since there is only a little bit of mango – but i’m gonna go with it.  Since the theme for the party is fiesta, I thought this would be a perfect (and healthy) contribution. 

Here’s what I did:

3 Ears fresh white corn

1 Large red pepper

1 Large green pepper

1/2 a sweet onion (left over from the corn salad)

1 Can black beans

1 Medium size mango

1 Large tomato (with the insides scooped out)

1/8 cup vegetable oil

1/8 cup white vinegar

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

Lime Juice

1. Boil corn for 10 minutes and cut kernels off when finished.  (sidenote:  I have made this recipe with a bag of frozen corn the night before I needed it.  I just poured the frozen corn in the bowl and let it defrost on its own)

2.  Chop onion, peppers, tomato and mango and add to bowl with corn.  Drain and rinse the black beans before adding to the mix (I always pat down the beans before putting them in too, the salsa is not supposed to be soggy).

3.  Add cumin, chili powder, salt, oil and vinegar.  Mix everything and distribute evenly. Add a few squirts of lime juice into the bowl before serving.

Scrum-diddly-umtious!

Sugar Coma Heaven

25 Jun

I have been busy-busy all day today! As usual, I put off most of my errands until the last minute, so have been on the move until just now.  Tonight is expected to be another fun and exciting night! We will be celebrating Jake’s cousin, Sophie, at her Bachelorette party.  Jake’s two sister’s have planned a fun fiesta-style party to help Sophie begin to celebrate her upcoming wedding and the following honeymoon in Cancun.  Arriba! This girl is ready to hit the town.

For tonights event, I received a request from the bride-to-be for my sinfully delicious cake-bites.  I made these little nuggets of heaven for one of Sophie’s bridal showers, and of course now she is addicted.  My cake bites are a revised version of other delicious treats like “cake-pops”, or “cake balls”.  There are a lot of recipes for these out on the web, but I had to do a little tweaking to get them just right.  This dessert is pretty time consuming, and since i’m short on time, I distributed the work over a few days.

Here’s what I did:

1 cake, baked (I used a vanilla boxed mix)

1/2 can cream cheese frosting

2 bags of melting chips – 1 chocolate, 1 vanilla (found at Hobby Lobby)

variety of colored sugar sprinkles.

Two Nights Before:  Bake your cake.  Let cool and keep in pan (covered) overnight.  It is really important that the cake is completely cool, or the consistency will feel more like play-dough than a treat.

The Night Before: Smash up the baked cake and transfer into a giant bowl.  Add the 1/2 can of cream cheese frosting to the bowl.  Using a mixer, blend the icing into the cake until the consistency is close to a dough.  Wrap the cake-dough in plastic wrap and let cool overnight.

The Morning Of:  Remove dough from the fridge and roll into one-inch balls. (sidenote: I would love to make these suckers bite-size, but I’m a lazy son of a gun at 8am on a Saturday, so I settled for big ones – teehee) The dough I made gave me about 40 bites total. Freeze for one hour.

The Afternoon Of:  Follow the directions on the package of the melting chips and make sure the result is a nice smooth mixture.  I started with the White Chocolate and moved onto the Milk Chocolate later.  Using a toothpick, drag the bites one at a time through the chocolate.  Set (carefully – these things are slippery) each dipped bite on a tray and allow to dry.  Once dried, dip one side of the bite into a little more chocolate, and then into a bowl of sprinkles and repeat.

These not only look fun, but taste amazing.  Beware: a sugar coma awaits you!

Fresh Corn Salad

23 Jun

I woke up this morning and already I was done-son.  I sat down last night to figure out what will be going on in upcoming months and lets just say that it will be out of control!  I cannot wait for November, because until then life will be non-stop.  Which is exactly why I plan on devoting tonight to a little R&R.  I know for a fact that my life is booked for the entire weekend, so I need to get a little ahead on some gym time and lazy time (how does that work?).

I have a confession to make…I have been a bad, very bad, gym member this week.  I made it to the gym only one day! Don’t judge me!  I have been doing some Bob Harper workouts at home, but nothing is quite as satisfying as sweating it out with 100 other people.  I made up for it today, believe me.  I took a cue from Julie over at PB Fingers (a blog I have been obsessing over reading for the last few weeks), and did an interval workout I found on Shape.com. It was KIL-LER, but invigorating none the less.

In other news, Mr. Jake brought home a huge bag full of fresh corn ears yesterday! Random? Not really.  Some of you may already know, but Jake works for a John Deere Distributor and luckily has a great relationship with a lot of their clients. 

Last month, we got the most amazing peaches I have ever eaten.  I really wanted to make good use of all of this corn, so what else would be more delish than a Fresh, Summery Corn Salad!?  I found a recipe online but I had to adjust it to my liking (who really needs 6-ears worth of corn salad?).

It turned out great, because of my little secret! Oh you want to know what it is? Alright – before I put everything together, I scooped out the insides of the tomatoes.  Please don’t be mad at me!  There is just something about ooey-gooey-tomato guts that turns me off.  Plus, without the insides, the salad won’t get soggy and will probably last a few days longer than normal.

Here is what I did:

4 Ears of corn, cleaned (can also use canned or frozen – doesn’t matter)

2 Roma tomatoes  (chopped) with insides scooped out

1/2 a Sweet Onion (chopped)

two pinches of dried Basil

1/4 cup Olive Oil (extra virgin)

2 tbsp white vinegar (can use cider vinegar)

1.  Boil ears of corn for 10 minutes (allows the corn to stay crunchy).

2.  Saw corn off of the ear and mix all ingredients together.

Easy as pie! Actually easier than pie.  I usually eat this for a snack, but it would be equally as good on a burger, or some kind of fish, or even shrimp. I still have half of it left..maybe a corn salsa this weekend?