Monday, May 27, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup with Homemade Tortillas

Yesterday I tried a new recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup. My first try about 3 months ago was a little disappointing.

I have to say it was amazing! Slightly spicy but also really flavorful. It was also rather light. Didn't feel like a heavy soup. I found the original recipe here. but I made some adjustments to it.

I also tried homemade tortillas last night.
Yeah... They didn't turn out horrible but they looked and tasted more like fried bread than those yummy soft flour tortillas I love so much. One of my friends told me I should really have my mother inlaw teach me. Sadly, there is a really big language barrier and we don't have much of a relationship. I may ask one of these days but for now I need to keep trying new recipes!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients
1 pound boneless chicken, cooked and shredded
1 can (15-ounce) crushed tomatoes
1 can (10-ounce) enchilada sauce
1  medium onion, chopped
1 can (4-ounce) chopped green chilies
2  cloves garlic, minced
3 cups water
1 can (14.5-ounce) chicken broth
1 can (15-ounce) whole kernel corn
1 can (15-ounce) black beans, rinsed
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed bay leaves 
2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
 
Directions

Take chicken (Frozen or fresh) and boil in a medium pot with about 6 cups of water and 1 roughly chopped onion until chicken is easily shredded. 

Strain broth from chicken into another larger pot. Allow chicken to cool before shredding and throw out boiled onions. 

Add remaining ingredients into pan with original chicken broth. Simmer over low heat for about 1 hour. 

Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese and tortilla strips.  YUM!



 Have a lovely day!
K.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Lemon-Blueberry Birthday Cake

My mother turned 62 years young on April 14th this year.




I'll admit I had a mental plan to do a party for her and have family come. Well the way it worked out the Friday before her birthday (the 12th) I realized I needed to figure something out.

What can I say? I'm not always the most organized person!

I made a quick FB invite for my siblings but no one could make it such short notice. BAD KAT!

I fixed her homemade Fish -n- Chips, salad and a Lemon-Blueberry Birthday cake. Really was delish! For frying the fish, I preheated my fryer (Yes, I'm still using that lovely fryer. I really highly suggest it. Even if you don't fry foods much it will save you so much time when you do!) to 350 degrees and took my cod and soaked it in milk for about 10 minutes.


While my cod was soaking I put flour into a paper bag with some Johnny Seasoning and pepper. Shook it up real well.
I like to double dip my fish. Take the wet fish and shake it the flour, then quickly dump back in the milk and back into the flour. This makes a really nice crispy crust on the fish.

I also made my homemade french fries. Very yummy!

For the cake I simply used a white boxed cake mix. Sometimes they taste the best! Made 2 layers filled the layers with lemon curd and fresh blueberries. Frosting was a lemon-blueberry buttercream that was TO DIE FOR!

Both the lemon curd and frosting recipes came from My Baking Addiction's blog.

Lemon-Blueberry Cake

Ingredients


1 white box cake cooked in two 8or9 inch pans
fresh blueberries for garnish and in between layers


Lemon Curd

1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
zest of 3 lemons
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Lemon Blueberry Buttercream

4 sticks butter or margerine, softened
8 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest of one lemon (finely grated)
2/3 cup fresh blueberries, pureed with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-3 tablespoons milk



For the Lemon Curd

1. In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth and thoroughly combined. Whisk in lemon juice, lemon zest and butter.
2. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly. You will know the lemon curd is done cooking when it coats the back of a metal spoon.
3. Remove from heat. Allow to cool completely before using.
4. Fill top of one layer with blueberries and frosting on edge to prevent spilling.

For the Lemon Blueberry Buttercream

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar, and continue creaming until well blended.
2. Add vanilla, lemon zest and blueberry puree and mix until well combined. If buttercream is too thick, slowly drizzle in milk until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Top cake with second layer and start frosting. Decorate with fresh blueberries! (I used frozen blueberries.. you can definitely see the difference.)


K.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hot Dog Bar with Kit Kat Funfetti Cake

I thought I would do one of my older "posts" if you will. My hubby turned 25 on March 27th. Had his party on the 29th.

I decided to do a Hot Dog bar and a Kit Kat Funfetti cake.

I will start off with saying. Hot Dog Bar? Why have I NEVER thought of this before? It was fun because I kept coming up with ingredients but sadly I was limited to my budget. We had homemade mac n cheese and chili, pickles, lettuce, olives, onions, tomatoes, cheese, cream cheese, bacon, pepperoni, ketchup, mustard, and ranch for the fixin's. For sides we had a potato salad, cucumber salad and chips. Seriously though, you should do this for summer. What a SMART and fun idea right?



Now the Kit Kat cake idea came from Pinterest. (Really? Do I EVER have an original idea?) I had already planned on doing a homemade funfetti cake since it's my hubby's favorite.

This cake turned out to be a Funfetti cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting with Kit Kats, M&Ms and sprinkles for decoration. Talk about a sugar overload!

I found the recipe at Sally's Baking Addiction. I'll be honest though. The cake turned out way too dense for my liking. Alot like a pound cake. I may have done something wrong - As much as I aspire to become a pastry chef I certainly don't know all the right techniques.

Homemade Funfetti Cake


Ingredients
    Homemade Funfetti Cake1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/4 light brown sugar
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    1 large egg
    1/4 cup yogurt (plain or vanilla; or greek yogurt; or sour cream)
     3/4 cup milk
     1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
    2/3 cup sprinkles (not nonpareils) 
      
    Cream Cheese Frosting
    5 oz cream cheese, softened
    3 Tbsp butter, softened
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    2 cups powdered sugar
    1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
    Decorations
    Enough Kit Kat's to go around the cake  
    M&M's for the top of the cake
    Ribbon to tie around the cake
    Birthday Candles (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 2 9-inch baking pans (round or square) with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Whisk in the sugars vigorously getting out any brown sugar lumps - mixture will be gritty. Whisk in egg, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick. Slowly stir in sprinkles, but do not overmix because the sprinkles will bleed their color.
  3. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.
 For the Frosting: 

In a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer on medium speed, whip together cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. 

Add in vanilla and powdered sugar, then sift in cocoa powder and mix until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute.

Once cake has cooled go ahead and frost your cake including the middle layer. Be sure to use enough so that the Kit Kats will stick.

Now that your cake is frosted go ahead and stick the Kit Kat's to the cake. Be sure to make them as close as possible. Once you've done the entire cake with kit kats be sure to use your ribbon to tie around the cake. Make a pretty a bow. 

After this go ahead and dump the M&M's on the top of the cake until your don't see frosting anymore. I also used some sprinkles to add to the effect of a Funfetti Cake. 

Here is the finished product:






And of course, I thought I should show a picture of the grumpy birthday man!





Hope everyone has a GREAT birthday this year!

K.



Thursday, May 23, 2013

I can tell this blog is going to become an issue for me. Day two of official blogging and I can't stay away. Now I understand why my mother hated how I was always on the computer when I was 16.

It's just so addicting!
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So I have to talk about my current pet peeve..  Facebook quote pictures! I won't deny that I haven't gotten a kick out of a few of them but it reminds me of 6 years ago when icons were the big thing. I still have a folder full of my favorite ones.

Somehow, I find those to be less annoying. Maybe its just me and what I'm used to. Kinda like my 85 year old grandmother who thinks you need to save you bacon grease in a coffee can to cook with later versus using butter or oil.

I don't know, I guess those pictures get on my nerves because A) they take up SO much room and B) they always show beautiful people. What about us average to ugly people? I can't relate to that quote when you have two models showing me what I should be.

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So according to my Baby Bump app that is installed on my Kindle Fire I'm 23 weeks and 7 days. My little Aeowyn is the size of a Large Mango.

I'm really hoping the doctor does an impromptu ultrasound tomorrow. When I had my gender ultrasound the tech wasn't for sure it was a girl. It's not very fun buying stuff and saving receipts. I want to know and go girl crazy.

Speaking of the baby my back room is my craftroom, computer room and laundry room. Since the shed is up I need to actually move everything out of the room to the shed. Thats what I did last night and I was not aware of how much craft stuff I had.

My mother and I plan to create some custom shelves to go in the dining room so I can craft in there eventually but its tedious work to move all my stuff into big plastic tubs for now. A little overwhelming to be exact. 

Once I get the stuff out, then I can rip up the rug, prime the walls and put down our new flooring. I love and hate DIY projects like this. I love it but I hate the build up and issues you encounter during the process.

K.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Aidan's Lil' Monster Birthday

I know, I've been lacking in my posts as of late and for that I apologize. Life has been full prepping for my son's party, getting ready for court against my neighbor (getting a restraining order) and potty training. Just one of those things is enough to fill your day. 

Today my post is about my son's party. It was themed "lil' monster" mostly because that is exactly what I classify him as. It turned out to be super windy that day and just a little chilly. I guess I probably need to suck it up and have the party at my house next year.

I used Dimpleprints for the invites.




And all my other ideas came from Pinterest. I guess I don't have my own amazing ideas but guess what? That's OK! Everyone else thinks I do :P

This is my Monster board from Pinterest specially made for this party.

When I start planning a party the first thing I start with is choosing my theme. For that I start looking at invites and then once I've chosen my theme the next thing I decide is my party favors. I am a firm believer in party favors. Didn't you ever go to a party when you were a kid and get party favors? Totally the best thing ever!

For Aidan's party favors I had:
Monster Goo
Monster Duckies (Every birthday he has ever had, has a themed ducky)
Monster Stickers
Monster Oreo Pop (the eyes were flattened skittles and mini marshmellows)
Monster Coloring Page
Monster Finger puppet (My mother had these left over from some pinatas she did for a family reunion)

And of course I had to make monster faces on the dollar store goody bags I bought.

 After I figure out what I'm doing for party favors I move on to games. Another party essential.
We did:
Feed the Monster:
For this I simply took an empty foam poster box from the dollar store (free!) and covered it with crepe paper and cut a little dip out of it. Tada!

Pin the Eye on the Monster:
Foam poster board and drew a monster! Simple as that! Didn't try to be perfect because monster's aren't perfect!


Monster Bowling
Whack a Monster (Pinata)


 For Monster Bowling I simply took 6 empty 2 liter pop bottles, took off the wrapping and drew a Monster Face. Pop bottles have a line at the bottom. I used that for how far I filled the bottles with water. Then we used a soccer ball for for the bowling ball. This was a real big hit.

For the Pinata I used one of those punch balloons from the Dollar Store (do you see a trend happening) and used elmers glue and water mix as my cement while making it. I then used blue streamers that I cut to look like fringe and glued it on in a circled pattern. I'll tell you one thing about this cute pinata. It did not want to die! We had to get an adult to break it open! So keep that in mind when you make yours!





We also had a monster cut out for photos.




Last but not least, one can NEVER forget about is prizes for all the games. This is where I did a tad bit of splurging on my budget.

Goodnight Little Monster $5.00
Monster at the End of this book $3.59
Monster's Inc $3.59
Monster's Vs. Aliens $5.00

One thing I did when I sent out the party invites was include Monster T-Shirts/Onesies and asked all the kids to wear them to the party. I'll be honest, I was so sure somebody would forget to wear their shirt (including my son) that I was shocked beyond belief when EVERY kid wore their shirt! It was so cute to see all the little monsters running around at the party.

You can see lots of cake on everyones faces. A sure thing for a good time :)

For the food we had hambugers and hotdogs(Monster Fingers and Toes), Chips (Monster Scales), Deviled Eggs, Olives and Grape Kabobs (Monster Eyes), Monster Fruit Salad, Water and Koolade Punch (Monster Tears and Blood) and of course.... Monster Cupcakes!





I hope this post inspires you do to some fun monster things regardless if its for a Monster party or if you need to entertain your lil monster :)

K.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May Day!

So yesterday was May Day! One of my favorite unofficial holidays! Who doesn't love picking flowers and dropping them off at people's houses?

I have been waiting and waiting for Aidan to be old enough to do it and this year I went ahead did it! I'll admit I forgot it was May until the day of. I had been planning and planning then the day showed up. I wasn't prepared! Luckily my mother was around so we whipped up 8 colored paper cones, wrote "Happy May Day! -Aidan".

After that we took the 30 minute drive to my mothers house to pick flowers. We picked lilacs, daffodils, tulips, forget-me-nots, daisies, and some wild flowers. Normally we'd also pick the snoball tree as well but it wasn't quite blooming. Sad :(

Here is Aidan and Nessa with the finished products!



We dropped 2 baskets off in Prosser, 3 to our neighbors and 3 to his friends. If I had thought and planned better I would've also made a couple more for his uncles!

Happy (late) May Day everyone! Hope you had fun!