Monday, March 18, 2013

Orecchiette with Roasted Broccoli & Sauteed Bacon

This recipe is originally from the Kraft website. It's very tasty but I had to tweek it since Ray R.E.F.U.S.E.S to eat anything without meat! I hope you enjoy!

First, start with your broccoli. You'll need 2 crowns the size shown. Cut those into florets and toss with oil.
Those will go into a 450 degree oven and roast for 10-15 minutes.

While your broccoli is roasting, slice up 5 pieces of bacon. Sautee those in a hot skillet until a dark, golden brown. 

While your bacon is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil. When your water is boiling, at your uncooked pasta. Cook until Al Dente.

When your bacon & broccoli are done, toss together in the bacon skillet to coat the broccoli with the bacon flavoring.

When your pasta is finished, drain and add to the broccoli & bacon. Toss.
Mix in 3/4c. Kraft Fresh Take Italian mix. Toss really well, and VIOLA!
Yummy in our tummies!!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent {Powdered}

 I've wanted to make my own laundry detergent for a long, long time but, I've always been a little skeptical. Well, yesterday I decided it was time to suck it up and get on with it. I scoured the internet and found a "recipe" for homemade laundry detergent {powdered}. I got my ingredients & VIOLA!! Below is the recipe I used:

  • 1c. borax
  • 1c. arm & hammer super washing soda
  • 1 bar ivory soap
Grate the soap finely and mix with the soda & borax. Store in an air tight container. Use 1-2 tbsp per load. {I made a double "ocd" kicked in and I didn't like having a container that wasn't full}

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pig Pickin' Cupcakes

My aunt and my momma used to make Pig Pickin' cakes when I was younger and I {LOVED} it! The cake was so yummy but not overly sweet like some other cakes. There's fruit {IN} the cake AND {IN} the frosting.

I turned this yummy cake into cupcakes! Yesterday, members of our church gathered to meet with the homeless, as we all do every Friday. I figured since today is the pastor's birthday & we won't see him until tomorrow, that yesterday would be a perfect time to deliver these little beauties! They were a big hit!

I hope y'all enjoy!

  • 1- 18 ounce yellow cake mix
  • 11-ounce can mandarin oranges with juice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 9-ounce carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 3.4 ounce (4-servings) box instant vanilla pudding


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, mandarin oranges, mandarin orange juice, eggs and oil. Beat for 2 minutes with electric mixer. Divide into lined cupcake tin for 21 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, turn out of pans and finish cooling on wire racks.
In a mixing bowl, combine whipped topping, pineapple, juice from can and vanilla pudding mix.
Frost the tops of the cupcakes and you have a little bite of yumminess!
{Makes 24 cupcakes!}

Monday, March 4, 2013

Chore Charts

Do your little one's have chores? Mine do!!

About 3-4 weeks ago, Ray started a 2nd job in the evenings. So basically, I'm on my own a lot and things were starting to get out of hand with the kids. I felt like I was doing EVERYTHING for EVERYONE! Let me tell you, that'll drain you faster than you think. I love my kids, my husband, my family and I love being the caretaker, but there is a point where you can't do it all or be everything for everyone.

So, I decided to get the kids in on the action. They're now 5 1/2 and 7 and plenty old enough to help out around the house (with age appropriate chores, of course!). So, today at work I created a new schedule for them, so they know what they're supposed to be doing and when. And also, they've got their very own chore charts now!

I thought I'd be met with hesitation and reluctance, but to my surprise they LOVED it!!

How crazy is it that my 5 1/2 year old WANTED to vacuum WITHOUT help!

Baked Cheesy Taco Pasta

We had a favorite of the kids...Baked Cheesy Taco Pasta!
It's super easy, and EVERYONE in my house L.O.V.E.S it!

3/4 bag ziti noodles,1 lb of ground beef, 1 pkg taco seasoning, 1cup water, 1/2 pkg
 cream cheese, 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese -- boil pasta until just cooked, brown ground beef & 

drain, mix taco seasoning & 1 cup water w/ ground beef for 5 min, add cream cheese to beef 

mixture, stir until melted & remove from heat, put pasta in casserole dish, mix in 1 cup cheese, 

top pasta/cheese with beef mixture & gently mix, top w/ remaining cheese, bake at 350* 

uncovered for 30 min

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Southern Coconut Cake

A friend of my husband and me is having a birthday today! He's an elderly gentleman and we wanted to surprise him with dinner and a cake today. So, last night I whipped up this beauty...from scratch!!

How pretty is it?!
I found THIS RECIPE on Pinterest! It was really quite easy for it all (cake & frosting) to be 100% homemade.
I hope y'all enjoy!

Southern Coconut Cake
From Sky High Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
Makes one 8-inch layered cake
5 egg whites
1/2 cup milk
1-2 tablespoons coconut flavoring or extract*
3 cups cake flour
2 1/3 cups sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
For the Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
12 ounces cream cheese, slightly chilled
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3 egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper (The original recipe is for a triple layer cake, but I only have two 8-inch pans and so I adjusted the cooking time for two thicker layers instead of three thinner layers.)
Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk slightly. Add the 1/2 cup milk and coconut flavoring and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and coconut milk and combine on low speed. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the egg white mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing just long enough to incorporate between additions. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
To make the frosting, put the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until fluffy and smooth. Add the butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until creamy. Set aside.
Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, have the egg white in the bowl of an electric mixer, ready for when the syrup is at the proper temperature. Slowly add the hot syrup to the egg whites, while mixing on medium-low. Take care not to cause the hot syrup to splash. When all of the syrup is incorporated, raise the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture has cooled to body-temperature and it forms stiff peaks.
With the mixer on medium-low, add the cream cheese and butter mixture one spoonful at a time. When all is incorporated, raise the speed to medium and whip until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
Frost the cooled cakes and cover with shredded coconut.
*Add the amount of coconut flavoring depending on how coconut tasting you want the cake to taste. Add 3 tablespoons even, if you want. Or, if you’d rather tone down the coconut flavor, substitute for 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


The local library hosted a Suessfest or, also known as, a Dr. Suess birthday party! The kids went and had a great time. They listened to Dr. Suess stories, played themed games and even made a few crafts!

After leaving the library, the were in such a "Suess mood" that we came home and turned on The Lorax, which they're watching as we "speak".