Friday, March 29, 2013

Another Afghan

So, Monday I started working with the school district as a bus monitor.  The worst part is getting up at 5am.  I am SO not a morning person LOL At least I get to come home after dropping the kids off at their schools and take a nap before having to take the back home!

I started a new afghan.  I LOVE the way it looks, even though I'm not crazy about the colors.  It's for one of my sisters-in-law and she loves purple and black, so...

Color Waves Afghan

28 oz. worsted weight yarn MC
14 oz contrasting worsted weight yarn A
I hook
Guage:  13 sts and 12 rows =  4" in pattern
htc = half triple crochet.  YO twice, insert hook in top of stitch, YO and pull through.  YO, pull through 2 loops, YO, pull through remaining 3 loops.

With A ch 179.

Row 1:  (RS) 1 sc in 2nd chain from hook and in each ch across.  Ch 1, turn (178 sts)

Row 2:  1 sc in first sc and each sc across.  Join MC, ch 3, turn.

Row 3:  Skip first  sc, dc in next sc, hdc in next sc, sc in next sc.  *ch 2.  Skip next 2 sc.  1 sc in next sc, hdc in next sc, dc in next 2 sc, htc in next 2 sc, dc in next 2 sc, hdc in next sc, sc in next sc.  Rep from * to last 6 sc.  Ch 2.  Skip next 2 sc.  1 sc in next sc, 1 hdc in next sc, dc in last two sc.  Ch 3, turn.

Row 4:  Skip first st, dc in next st, 1hdc in next st, 1 sc in next st.  *ch 2, skip next ch-2 sp, 1 sc in next st, 1 hdc in next st, 1 dc in next 2 sts, 1 htc in next 2 sts, 1 dc in next 2 sts, 1 hdc in next st, 1 sc in next st.  Repeat from * to last 6 sts.  Ch 2, skip ch-2 sp, 1 sc in next st, 1 hdc in next st, 1 dc in each of the last 2 sts.  Join A, ch 1, turn.

Row 5:  1 sc in each of first 4 sts.  *Working over ch-2 sp, work 1 sc in next 2 free sc worked in A, 3 rows below.  1 sc in next 10 sts.  Repeat from * to last 6 sts.  Working over ch-2 sp, work 1 sc in next 2 free sc worked in A, 3 rows below.  1 sc in next 4sts. ch 1, turn.

Row 6:  1 sc in first st and each st across to end of row.  Join MC, ch 1, and turn.

Row 7:  1 sc in first st, 1 hdc in next st, *1 dc in next 2 sts, 1 htc in next 2 sts, 1 dc in next 2 sts, 1 hdc in next st, 1 sc in next s, ch 2, skip next 2 sts, 1 sc in next st, 1 hdc in next st.  Repeat from * to last 8 sts.  1 dc in next 2 sts, 1 htc in next 2 sts, 1 dc in next 2 sts, 1 hdc in next st, 1 sc in last st.  Ch 1, turn.

Row 8:  1 sc in first st, 1 hdc in next st. *1dc in next 3 sts, 1 htc in next 2 sts, 1 dc in next 2 sts, 1 hdc in next st, 1 sc in next st, ch 2.  1 sc in next st, 1 hdc in next st,  Repeat from * to kast 8 sts.  1 dc in next 2 sts, 1 htc in next 2 sts, 1 dc in next 2 sts, 1 hdc in next st, 1 sc in last st.  Join A, ch 1, and turn.

Row 9:  1 sc in first st, 1 sc in each of next 9 sts.  *Working over ch-2 sp, work 1 sc in next 2 free sc worked in A. 3 rows below.  1 sc in next 10 sts.  Repeat from * to last 12 sts.  Working over ch-2 sp, work 1 sc in next 2 free sc worked in A, 3 rows below.  1 sc in last 10 sts.  Ch1, turn.

Continue in pattern until work from beginning measures approximately 44 1/2", ending with row 2 of pattern.  Do NOT fasten off.

Continue as follows:
Lower edging:  Working into short side of afghan, with A, work 1 row evenly across to opposite edge, ch 1, turn.
Next row:  1 sc un furt sc and each sc across to end of row.  Fasten off.
Work remaining short side of afghan in same manner.

Outer edging:  With RS facing, join MC to lower corner of afghan.  Working from left to right, instean of right to left as usual, work 1 reverse sc in each sc around outer edge of afghan, working 3 sts in corners.  Sl st fto first sc, fasten off.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Chicken Alfredo

I've made this before, but the sauce always came out really thick and gluey, so I decided to play around in the kitchen and see what I could come up with...and pray it came out OK, so dinner didn't suck!  It didn't!  I finally found an Alfredo sauce keeper!  Best of all, no cream cheese! 

I had a box of whole wheat linguine and one of regular linguine.  My son and husband insist that they don't like the whole wheat stuff, but I really can't taste a difference, especially when it has a good sauce on it, so I get a box of each and use half of each.  They still gripe, but tough crunchies! 

So, here was the menu:  linguine with chicken Alfredo sauce, asparagus (I forgot I still had some in the fridge and wanted to make it while it was still good!  I had planned a salad, but...), and garlic toast.  The toast was a loaf of Italian bread sliced, buttered and sprinkled with garlic powder.  I don't like using the broiler for this because I can never get it the way I want it.  It's either untoasted or burnt, so I turn the oven on bake and set it as high as it will go before broil.  Then I flip the slices of bread over, butter side down, and in about 8 minutes, it's perfectly toasted!

Linguine with Chicken Alfredo Sauce

16 oz. linguine
2 C. half and half
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 C. flour
1/4 C. butter
1/3 C. grated parmesan
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast half, thinly sliced
1/8 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. basil
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 C. white wine
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle chicken with 1/8 t. garlic powder, onion powder, and basil.  Heat olive oil and white wine in a skillet, add chicken and cook until no longer pink.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and garlic powder.  Whisk together until completely combined.  Gradually add half and half, whisking until smooth between each addition.  When all half and half has been added, add parmesan and whisk together.  Add salt and pepper as you like.  Increase heat to medium high until sauce comes to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium, simmer while stirring until sauce has thickened, about 8-10 minutes.  Keep in mind, sauce will thicken as it cools.  When sauce is thickened, but still a bit thin, add chicken, stir together, and allow to rest to cool and thicken sauce and warm up chicken.

When the pasta is done, drain.  Serve with sauce.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I've posted pictures of my dogs, and since I haven't cooked anything out of the ordinary, that deserved to be shared, I thought I would introduce a few more family members.  My cats.  I will be starting a new job in a few hours and, of course, can't sleep, so here I am.

First, allow me to introduce the old man, Pumba, who is seven and a half years old.  We took him and his brother, Timon in when a lady posted online that she had taken in a pregnant stray until it had had it's litter and weaned them, but now needed to rehome them as she had a houseful of her own.  We picked Pumba out because he was a little fluffball.  That left one male kitten and momma cat unclaimed, but the kittens weren't quite ready to go yet, so that was ok.  The day before we were to pick Pumba up, the lady emailed me, asking if we would be able to take the other male kitten because he was the only one that hadn't found a new home and she needed them all gone, which meant the shelter for him.  Well, of course we took him.  Couldn't let him go to the pound. 

Fast forward from 2005 to 2011.  The brothers had grown HUGE.  Sometime in November, Timon became ill, the Pumba followed.  The vet gave us meds for them, but getting it down Timon was almost impossible.  He was HUGE...25 pounds and very strong, even when he was sick.  We were in and out of the vet's office, but Timon simply wasn't responding to the meds.  Not even when the vet gave us an injectable  antibiotic.  We tried everything, but he just never got any better, and on December 30, he passed away...over a year ago and it still hurts to type that.
This was Timon...

I couldn't handle losing both of them.  The vet hadn't attached much importance to the cats not eating as long as they were drinking, but that hadn't worked so well with Timon, so I said to hell with what he said, got some kitten milk and force fed it to Pumba with an eye dropper.  Finally, he started to respond, and is still with us.  He's a big momma's boy, and I know that, sooner or later, I will lose him, but until then, I'll spoil him.

Next is Shanzi.  She's four and a half and a teeny tiny thing.  We found her online, too.  Another case of finding her a home of taking her to the shelter.  She is very stand offish and doesn't care much for people, but Timon was her buddy.  She claimed him as hers from day one and she hasn't been the same since he passed. 
Then there's Sheena.  I have always loved calicoes, and when I found her on Craigslist, I had to have her.  The guy who owned her had neighbors with mean dogs that were terrifying his cats, so he was rehoming most of them.  She'll be two in April and is the sweetest, most loving little girl EVER.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Starting a New Afghan

I love bringing home a bag full of yarn!!  Feels almost like Christmas. 

So, I found a pattern at that I liked...not sure how to share that without stepping on toes, but if I figure it out, I'll post it here.  It's called Ripple Flash Dance Throw.  I've changed the colors to suit the person I'm making it for.  I'm using off white, brown, beige, and hunter green.  Haven't quite gotten to the green yet.

I'll post more pictures as I get more work done.

It's really easy and the variation in ripple length gives an otherwise very common ripple a bit of character.  You can't see it in the picture, and I'll post another once I have more done, but in the middle there's an extra long section.  So the length of the ripples goes 15, 11, 11, 11, 19, 19, 11, 11, 11, 15. 

I hope the colors work out ok.  She likes browns/tans, and dark green, and I couldn't find 2 shades of dark green that weren't either too close to each other or...well...ugly, so I went with 2 shades of brown.
About halfway there!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Vertical Lattice Baby Blanket

This is a pattern I wrote a couple of years ago for a baby blanket.  I had never written one before, but couldn't find one I really liked.  It was for a friend whose baby was due in early August, so I wanted one that was a little lighter weight than the ones I was finding.  I think it turned out beautiful, if I do say so myself...especially for a first timer!  I bought a big one pound skein of baby weight yarn, but had plenty left, so 550-600 yards.

This pattern is available for purchase in my Etsy shop here: Vertical Lattice Baby Blanket Pattern

Alternatively, if you would rather have one custom made for you, visit my Etsy shop, Vertical Lattice Baby Blanket. It's available in baby or throw size.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I've never made a real carrot cake before.  You know, not from a box, with real carrots in it.  Every recipe I looked up wanted me to use 3 round cake pans and I only have 2.  I rarely use them, why would I go buy another?  I'm a lazy baker.  I would rather use a 9 x 13" pan or a bundt.  Making a bunch of layers, hoping they all come out of the pans in one piece, then messing with frosting all the layers.  Blah.  So, I found a few that I liked, mixed and matched, and used my bundt pan.  Pretty good!  Think next time I'll add a little more cinnamon...or maybe a touch of nutmeg?  Cloves?  I dunno.  But it's very good this way, too.  Sometimes the carrots are overpowered by the spices, so  I dunno.

I had it timed just right, too.  I had taken the cake from the oven, not yet turned the oven off, when the flippin power went out!  Was out from 5 - 8:30 pm!  Grrr  Ended up ordering Chinese for dinner because all the cheaper places on our side of the river were without power.

I admit, I didn't make the frosting.  I was too frustrated with the lack of electricity, so I used a canister of cream cheese frosting I had in the cupboard.  This recipe includes a recipe for the frosting.

Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • Butter, for greasing


  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped finely


For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the granulated sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and combine. Then add the carrots and mix well. Pour the batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan and bake until done, about 50 minutes. Leave to cool completely.

Meanwhile, for the icing: In a larger bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and blend. Then mix in the pecans. Spread the icing on the cooled carrot cake.

Since I didn't use the frosting recipe, my pictures don't have the pecans on it, either.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sausage and Pepperoni Pasta Bake

I picked up some ground sausage intending to make biscuits and gravy for breakfast over the weekend, but everyone slept late and it never happened.  The sausage was thawed, so I needed to use it, which is where dinner tonight came from.

I may post a carrot cake recipe tonight or tomorrow, depending on whether or not I still feel like making it later =P.  I bought a 2 pound bag of carrots the other day and I need to use them before they're all fed to the dogs.  Yes, my dogs love carrots and, after finding out that they were not only good for them as food, but that they helped keep their teeth clean, too, I give them as treats every other day or so.  But, I do want to make that cake...

The pepperoni is optional, I just had a opened pack in the fridge and wanted to use it up.  I used my quick spaghetti sauce, which is a can or jar of store bought sauce with diced tomatoes and tomato sauce added, then I add the spices, wine, and olive oil.  If you have a sauce you like as is, you can omit all the rest.

Sausage and Pepperoni Pasta Bake

1 pound ground sausage, browned, drained, and rinsed
3 oz. sliced pepperoni
16 oz. penne pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 can-16 oz- diced tomatoes
1 can-16 oz- tomato sauce
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1 t. dry minced onion
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried Italian seasoning
1 T. olive oil
1/4 C. red wine
2 C. shredded mozzarella

Heat oven to 350

In a large sauce pan, combine the spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, all spices and seasonings, the oil and wine.  Mix well and simmer over medium-low heat for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta and sausage.  Drain both and mix into the sauce along with the pepperoni.  Mix well.

Pour into a large casserole dish (I use a 10x14" pan), top with mozzarella and bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and everything is nice and hot.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


When we were at the store yesterday, they had cilantro on sale.  My husband saw it, grabbed two bunches, turned to me grinning, and said, "Pico!"  *sigh*  So, last night I made him his pico de gallo.  He would live on that stuff if I were willing to make it all the time.  I keep saying that I need to get one of those little chopper things.  You know, where you put the item to be chopped in a little container, or on the counter, and smack the plunger thingy down and blades go down and chop the item?  My mom had one years ago and it was handy.  She mostly used it t chop pecans for pecan pies, but it would save me a LOT of time in pico!  Like I said, I keep saying it but just haven't gotten around to getting one.  So I dice everything by hand.

Since hubby had to have pico, we had to have tacos for dinner tonight.  I'm not posting a recipe for tacos, however, because, really, who needs one?  Seasoned meat, veggies of your choice, salsa, sour cream, pico, and/or refried beans, all on tortillas or crunchy shells, or even in a taco salad (which here means crushed tortilla chips).  Pico isn't difficult, but I started out with someone's recipe and ended up with my own.  Which is how most of the things I make came to be.

Today would have been a better day for chili or stew than tacos, but I guess if you use enough pico or salsa, it could warm you up too!  At the present time in northeast Iowa, it's slushing.  That glopy, nasty rain/snow mix that feels like someone it dribbling a Slurpee from the sky.  And someone said something about Spring?  Seriously??  What planet are they on?  *sigh*

Pico de Gallo
This should be made the day before it is to be use...or at least in the morning before evening use.  That gives the flavors time to mingle.

5 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (you can use the jar stuff)
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 - 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (jar stuff is ok, use 5-6 slices)
juice of 1 lime

mix all the chopped and minced ingredients in a bowl (one large enough to allow you to shake it up) with a lid.  Roll the lime on the counter until it softens up, cut it in half, and squeeze all the juice that you can out of it, onto the pico.
Mix everything up very well and chill overnight, or at least all day, shaking the bowl once in a while to make sure the flavors are well mixed.
This last picture is after it was decimated at dinner.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops

Wow!  Seriously.  This dinner was a homerun! 

Hubby and I made a run into the grocery store after work and before dinner and I'm so glad we did.  We were both hungry, so, of course we bought more than we had planned to, but they had some pretty great deals.  Picked up some fresh asparagus for $1.99 a pound!  Thought that sounded like a great side for the chops I had out...and it was!

They also had deli ham on sale for $.99 a pound, so we loaded up on that.  While the butcher was getting that for us, my husband commented on some Cajun turkey they had, and he, the butcher that is, asked if we liked spicy food.  Um...YEAH! LOL  So there was a little back and forth on that and he asked if I had any spicy recipes.  Of course!  So now I have to print up my gumbo recipe (given to me by a dear, dear friend who was born and raised a Cajun), my chili recipe, which is posted on here, and, if I can find it, my jambalaya recipe.  I haven't made much jambalaya since I got the gumbo recipe.  I just prefer the gumbo.  Not that I'm complaining, because I LOVE sharing my recipes.  That's why I started this blog!

So.  The chops I made tonight.  I was looking through some pork chop recipes to get some inspiration and nothing really sounded right, so I looked at my spices, and just threw something together that, luckily turned out wonderfully.

Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops

4 pork chops

¼ C. brown sugar

1/8 t. cayenne

½ t. garlic powder

½ t. paprika

½ t. salt

½ t. black pepper


In a bowl combine the brown sugar and spices (salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika and garlic powder or whatever spice blend you like).

Rub the brown sugar/spice mix all over both sides of the chops. Use all of the spice mix.

Place the pork chops in a large skillet, over medium-high heat.  Cook the chops for about 10 minutes on each side or until they are nicely browned and cooked through.
Yes, I cheated and made a box of Au Gratin potatoes to go with it, but we were starving by the time we got home from the grocery store and put everything away! The chops and the asparagus look as good as they tasted!

Friday, March 8, 2013

I Love to Cook!

If I didn't why would I have started a blog about it? 

I have an aunt who also loves to cook, but it seems no one else in my family does.  No one at all in hubby's family.  I have learned, and it makes sense, that if a person doesn't like to cook, they're usually not very good at it.  Not that it's difficult, but when something is a chore that you just want to get over and done with, you generally don't put much effort into it.  Like me when I have to, say, make the bed.  *since the president probably won't be stopping by, I call closing the bedroom door "making the bed" a bit too often*  I think I said in my first post that I hated housework. 

I admit, I'm a bit of a food snob.  I do NOT consider boxed skillet "dinners" food.  They're crap I keep around (a box or two) for those days when I, for one reason or another, just don't feel up to cooking.  But even then, there are so many things you can throw together quickly and don't need to slave over.


This is my chili recipe and I have yet to find anyone who doesn't like it.  Well, except for those people who just don't like chili...
The spices are educated guesses as I don't measure them when I make chili.  It makes a medium hot chili, so adjust them to your tastes.  Most of us think it's just right, but when our oldest son comes home on leave, he adds cayenne and hot sauce (of course he would add that to almost anything =Þ)

Rachel's Chili

2 pounds ground beef (or turkey)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cans chili beans in gravy
1 can spicy chili beans in gravy
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can tomato sauce
2 15 ounce cans tomatoes (I use diced, but use whatever kind you like)
2 T Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning (I prefer this because it adds heat as well as a LOT of flavor)
4 T chili powder
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
1/8 t. cayenne
1/4 t. garlic powder

In a large pot, brown meat until no longer pink, drain and return to pot.
Add all beans, tomato sauce, and tomatoes.  Stir to combine.
Add seasonings and mix well.
Simmer over medium-low heat for at least 2 hours, tasting and adding onions after 30 minutes to test the seasonings, and add more if needed.
Serve with crackers, cornbread, and/or cheddar cheese.

I like to add the onions while simmering the chili so they aren't too soft when the chili is done.  If you prefer them soft, add them with the meat while browning it.  If you prefer them really crunchy, add them at the very end.  Or, you can add some early and some late if you like them both ways!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Banana Bundt Cake

Made a banana bundt cake a few days ago and it was gone in no time, but I know my family and if I used the rest of the bananas to make another, it would just sit there and at least half of it would go in the trash.  After dinner tonight, which was the corndog casserole I posted the recipe for the other day, which my husband absolutely loves, he was putting some of the leftovers back for his lunch tomorrow and wondering what to take for his first break, which is when he eats breakfast.  So, thinking about those last bananas, which were about two days from being too old, I suggested making another banana bundt cake for him to take to work for everyone.  He also said he wants to see if he can get everyone to agree a carry-in because he wants to take the corndog casserole LOL.  He wants to show everyone how good it is.  I adore my husband, I really do, and while I'm no chef, I do like to cook and I love to see people enjoying the food I have made them, and he is always bragging on how good a cook I am.  Makes me feel good =)

Banana Bundt Cake
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. mashed bananas, about 5
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream butter; add sugar and beat until light. Add bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Beat well, mix flour, soda and salt to first mixture.  Spread in well greased and floured 8 cup bundt pan and place in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from pan. Top with icing mixture.

2 cups sifted powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 to 4 tablespoons milk or water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Combine all ingredients with enough milk or water to the desired consistency, less milk for a thicker consistency, more for thinner.
Makes about 2 cups.

Please forgive the plastic plate, but since this is going to work with my husband, I'm sending it on something that I don't care if it's broken or lost.

Just a little update...I got the plate back.  Empty.  Those glops of icing you see?  Those were gone, too.  Not sure if they were scraped off with someone's finger or licked clean, and, really, I don't *want* to know!  I'd say it was a hit ;Þ

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dangerous Critters!

Allow me to introduce my two dogs.  First is Zeus, a yellow lab/English mastiff mix, who is 16 months old and who has been part of our family since he was 11 weeks old.  He's a very sweet boy, very laid back, and hates to look at the camera when I try to take his picture.

Next is Luna, a black lab/? mix.  I, personally, think she's a cross between a lab, a kangaroo, and a Mexican jumping bean!  The girl cannot sit still!!  Oh, and she thinks she's a cat.  She is 15 months old and has been with us since she was 12 weeks old.  Very sweet and very energetic, but, in all honesty, not the sharpest tool in the shed.  No, that's not entirely true or fair.  She's quite smart, she house broke quickly and has learned a few commands pretty easily, too, but she's...impulsive.  She has NO impulse control and it makes her do dumb things. 
See?  Thinks she's a cat!

Last night these two decided that the rabbit that was hopping around the yard at 12 AM, was a threat to the household and MUST be chased off at all costs!  For an hour they ran from one end of the house to the other, stopping at every window along the way to either woof of outright bark at the poor little thing. 

At first we didn't know what was going on.  No one comes near our house without getting barked at.  And by near, I mean a block away going the other direction, parking on our street within eyesight, or coming out of any of the neighbors' houses.  Luna barks at nothing.  When she lets off a volley, I ask, in all seriousness, if a bird farted.  Zeus on the other hand, only barks when he actually sees someone in the general vicinity.  So when he barks, we do tend to pay a little more attention and, as it was late, we finally went out onto the enclosed porch and spotted the villain.  A little brown bunny!  Scary.

Just a little glimpse into my life.  Exciting, huh? 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I am so sick of this miserable weather!  I got a pork roast out last night for dinner tonight then forgot to put it in the crockpot.  Good job.  So, ok, I'm flexible.  I got some chicken breasts out for a casserole.  They're still frozen, but I put them in a pot of water and cook them up that way since the recipe calls for cooked chicken.  Then I realize that I don't have the diced green peppers and without it, it's going to be pretty bland, but hubby took the car to work and left the truck, which I hate driving in bad weather.  It's a big honkin' truck and has no weight in the back, so it tends not to do well on slippery roads.  I call hubby at work and ask if he'll stop on the way home and pick up the peppers.  About an hour later, he calls back to say he may well be working over, so I may want to make something else.  *sigh* 

So I now have 3 things out for dinner!  If he does work late, we'll have a corndog casserole he loves and would probably prefer to either of the other choices!  It's not healthy, but it's quick, easy, and good.  I wish I had had it when my boys were small; they like it now, but would have loved it then!

I'll share the recipe now, and when I make it, whether tonight or two days from now, I'll post a picture.

Corndog Casserole

2 boxes cornbread mix (I use Jiffy)
1 pound hotdogs, sliced (sliced smoked sausage or little smokies work great, too)
2 C. shredded cheddar
1 C. milk
2 eggs
1 can creamed corn

Heat oven to 400
Mix cornbread, milk, eggs, and 1 cup cheddar.  When well blended, add hotdogs and stir. 
Spray a 9 x 13" baking pan with cooking spray
Pour cornbread mixture into prepared pan, top with remaining cheese, and bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

The cornbread is very moist because of the creamed corn and the extra 1/3 cup of milk (the directions on the box call for 1/3 cup per box).

So, I made the chicken casserole thing.  It's off the Progresso site for their recipe starters, something I normally don't use but wanted to try.  Not too impressed.  The casserole was good, but I made some changes and before I post it, I want to make it again, not using the recipe starter stuff.  If you want to look it up, it was the Cheesy Southwest Chicken Skillet.  I added a packet of taco seasoning to the meat because it sounded pretty bland, added about a half a cup of cheese to the whole mess, then poured it in a casserole dish, sprinkled more cheese on top and baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Was pretty good, but like I said, I want to work on it without using the canned stuff.  It does have some bite to it, so if you're not big on spice, you may want to only use half a packet of the taco seasoning.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Figuring This Out

Please bear with me as I try to figure this all out. 

My name is Rachel and I'm brand new to this.  As if you couldn't tell.  I wanted to try this out because, well, why not.  I actually hate the word 'blog'...sort of the sound one of my dogs makes when she yarks.  Charming way to start out, huh? 

So, I live in Iowa with my husband of almost 23 years, our youngest son, three cats and two dogs.  I love to crochet and cook.  And read.  I hate housework.  Hate.  My life is anything but exciting, but I am a pretty good cook and I make some very nice afghans and I really like to share.  If it hadn't been for the sharing of information by others, I would never have gotten good at either cooking or crocheting, so I guess I would like to return the favor.

I know it's barely March, but here in Iowa, land of the endless snow, it's too nasty to do anything outside, so I thought I may as well be productive while I'm stuck inside.  I have decided to make afghans for Christmas presents this year.  My sister got one last year for her birthday, so that leaves hubby's family.  That's five sibs (his mom got one year before last for Christmas).
This is the one I made my sister,  Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the one I sent my mother-in-law, but it's the same design, just different colors.  So far, I have one finished and one almost finished.  Yes, I need to get pictures of those, I know. 

I just got an order for another one that I will start on as soon as it's paid for.  *I learned to never start a project until it's fully paid for.  Otherwise I would be drowning in afghans and baby blankets.*  This is why I started working on the presents so early.  New orders always come in when I have something else I want to do LOL, but the things I 'want' to do don't put money in the bank.  *sigh*

The pattern is available for sale in my Etsy shop Ridged Chevron afghan pattern

If you would like to buy a custom made afghan, handcrafted by me, you can do that here: Ridged Zig Zag Afghan at Etsy.

Crocheted Zig Zag Afghan
Approximate Size: 49" x 71"