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Downtowner Fudge Pie

Friday night around midnight, I got in the mood to bake.  This happens more often than you would think.  So the only question was, what was I going to make?  The answer was simple.  My FAVORITE chocolate pie.  My mother had made it at Christmas but due to my bout of cluster headaches I was unable to partake ( chocolate + cluster headaches =  even more pain).  It was terrible, no chocolate a christmas!!  The horror.  So, I made up for it this weekend.  This recipe actually came from my Aunt which I'm sure she also got from somewhere.  It's one of those recipes that's just been passed along.  So I'm going to pass it on to you. In mixing bowl, beat 3 eggs until light, beat in 3 T. white caro syrup, 1 1/2 c. sugar, 1/4 t vanilla.  That right there is delicious.

Meanwhile, over low heat melt 1 stick of butter and 3 square of baking chocolate.  NOTE: I do this in the microwave just because it's simpler, but you can do this in a saucepan if you wish.  Also by "3 squares" it turns out that means 3 oz.  Hershey now sells bakers chocolate in 1/2 ounce squares so that can be a little confusing.  I also use unsweetened baker's chocolate.

Now at this point you may be tempted to lick this whole freakin' bowl, ahem, but remember this chocolate is unsweetened.  It will not taste as yummy as it looks.  Not yet.  Add slightly cooked chocolate mixture into mixing bowl.

Stir until combined.

Pour into 9" pie pan and bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes.  Remember this is a chess pie, so be careful not to over bake.  When it is done it should still shake like a custard.

Mine was not very pretty but very very delicious.  I think the reason it fell and cracked was because instead of stirring in the chocolate mixture I beat it in, thus adding more air, so it puffed up a lot.  WARNING:  This chocolate pie is so good you (and maybe your husband) might just eat the whole thing before the weekend is out...and gain 3 pounds...might happen.  Just sayin'.


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Dish-o-the-Week: Awesome Chicken Tortilla Soup

I don't know where you are today, but where I am, it's snowing.  And it's COLD.  I don't like the cold, in fact I really don't like winter all that much.  I'm more of a beach and sun kinda gal.  But all complaining aside, I do love a day where I can curl up with a good bowl of soup.  And this soup my friends, is awesome. This recipe was given to me by my friend and fellow blogger, Renee.  For adventures of motherhood, money and everything else, you can check out her blog HERE.  One of the things I love most about this recipe is that it's all to taste.  If you like your soup with a kick, just add more...if you're a little more on the mild side (ahem, certain members of my family) then just leave it out or add less.

What you need:

1 lb. diced chicken breast

1 each of onion, red pepper, yellow pepper and jalapeno (I used dried jalapeno) cut into long strips.

28 oz of Fire Roasted Canned Tomatoes (Mine was just regular crushed tomatoes because my grocery store did not have the fire roasted.  BUT if you can find the fire roasted it is definitely worth it for the flavor.  Also depending on what consistency you like it's up to you if you want crushed, whole, diced...whatever floats your tomato boat).

32 oz of Chicken Broth

Coriander, Chili Powder, Garlic, and Thyme

Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream, Avacado, and Tortilla Chips for the Fixin's.  Fixin's are very important.

First, cube and saute the chicken in a large stock pot.  Then cut the onion and peppers, and add to the pot.  Saute until the veggies are tender.  Next add seasonings to taste.  For this I started with a teaspoon of each and then added as I liked it.  I think I ended up with 4 tsp of garlic, because garlic is da-bomb.  I also added some cilantro, paprika, and pepper.  Then Speed Racer came in and added several tablespoons of hot sauce...he loves his with some kick.

Stir in tomatoes and chicken broth, and let simmer until soup reaches desired temp.

While your soup is simmering, get your fixin's ready.  Do not go without the avocado, I believe very firmly that the avocado makes it.  I'll know if you eat this without avocado...I'm and Santa.  Think about it.

Finally, FINALLY!  Ladle this deliciousness into bowls.  I like to put my cheese and tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl so it gets all gooey quick.  Then top it with the sour cream and avocado.

And there you have it, Chicken Tortilla Soup for a chilly night.  Hope this warms you up!

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Halloween Revisited

Yesterday I recapped on October just a bit and promised to share all the spooky recipes from our Halloween party.  Well I plan on doing just that, although I'm kicking myself for not taking more pictures of the party itself!  I got lost in the moment, my blond wig was askew, I had mummies in the oven, and our guests showed up early...that's the best excuse I can give. The Halloween party was a lot of fun. Speed Racer and I (with the help of a couple of friends that came down) really got into decorating the house.  There were cobwebs, body parts, blood on the mirrors, spooky pictures, and much much more.  But my favorite was our front display.

Imagine this in our front yard, with spooky red lights on it and....

this guy jumping up at you from underneath the front wheel....terrifying.

Did I mention terrifying?  If your interested in scary stories involving trucks, check out Speed Racer's post HERE.

But if you made it past our terrifying display out front you were greeted with wonderful wonderful foods.  Without further ado, some spooky recipes.

Punch: 1 gallon orange juice, 1 gallon cranberry juice, sprite (amount that you desire), 1 cup raspberry sorbet, and if you choose for an alcoholic option, 1 bottle citrus vodka.

Rice Crispy Ghosts: You'll need 6 c. rice crispy cereal, 3 tbsp. butter, 1 bag regular marshmallows, coconut, and M&Ms.  Melt butter and marshmallows over low heat until completely melted.  Add 6 c. of cereal and stir until completely combined.  Let cool slightly and then form into ghost shapes, add M&Ms for eyes and mouth.  Place on coconut on bottom.

Bread stick Bones: This was a definite favorite of the night!  It smelled amazing while baking.  Take 2 cans of Pillsbury bread sticks and shape into bones.  Cover with Parmesan cheese and garlic, bake as directed on package.

Candy Apples: Clean and remove stems from about 10 apples (or however many people you are having).  Melt about 75 caramels with 2tbsp of water over medium low heat in a large sauce pan.  Once caramels are completely melted add 1 cup or chocolate morsels, and 1 tbsp of creamy peanut butter.  Dip apples in sauce, and then dip in bowl full of mini marshmallows, walnuts, and broken pretzels.  Place on wax paper and let cool.

Guacamole: Okay, so this one isn't spooky but it's delicious.  Peel and remove seed from two ripe avocados.  Mash avocados to desired consistency.  Add 1/4 c. cream cheese.  Add diced onion, tomato, and 2 tbsp garlic.  Finally add just a squirt of lime juice and mix.

Pizza Mummies: On mini bagels add pizza sauce, then two chopped black olives (these are the eyes).  Take cheese sticks and peel into long slices, placing them horizontally on the bagel below and above the "eyes" for the mummies wrappings.  Bake for about 10-12 min.

Carrot Fingers and Dip: Put ranch dip in a dip bowl.  Take several baby carrots and using a little bit of dip on the top, place sliced almonds on top of the dip (these are the finger nails).  Place fingers finger nail side up around the edge of the bowl.  Add more baby carrots on a plate for more dipping.

Mini Witch Brooms: Take pretzel sticks and fruit by the foot.  Cut fruit by the foot in about 2" sections and fray at the bottom.  Wet the top of the fruit roll up and attach to base of pretzel stick.  They are adorable.

Hallo-Bean Dip: Chop 1 onion and 2 orange peppers.  Drain can of black beans and add to onion and orange peppers.  In a bowl mix in balsamic vinaigrette to taste.

I also put out some jalapeno poppers just for another "normal" finger food.  I went a little over board with the food for the amount of people we were having but it was so much fun!  I couldn't have done it without our friends, thanks guys.

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Easy Veggie Soup

This is a super simple recipe for veggie soup, that is delicious.  Obviously, because I'm sharing it with you!  We're continuing with our fall theme with this recipe (even though it's still hot here) so snuggle up and enjoy the warmth this recipe brings. I like to freeze my extra veggies (you know those ones that you really don't know what to do with and they're about to go bad?) and keep them in a container just for soup.  Sometimes I get an interesting mix of veggies but this one contained onions, lots of mushrooms, carrots, celery, and green pepper.

*Side note, I made this dish at 6:30 am....that means you can do it anytime.

So, first get your slow cooker out.  Add to it three beef bullion cubes and 3 cups of water.  Next add a big can of crushed tomatoes (mind had basil added) and a small can of tomato paste.  Throw in your mixed veggies whether they are frozen or fresh.  Then season with 1/2 t. basil, 1/2 t. oregano, 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper, 2 teaspoons of garlic, and 1/2 t. of jalapeno flakes (if you like a little extra pep!).  Turn the slow cooker on low, and let it heat throughout the day.  If you are using fresh veggies you may need to be careful that your veggies don't get too mushy.   Around 2:00 this afternoon, I came back home and tasted the soup.  I thought it needed a little something else, so I added about 2  T. of Worcestershire sauce...this give it a little bit of a smokey flavor...yeah.  And there you go!

See how yummy that is?  Beautiful? No. Yummy? Yes.

On another note, tomorrow will be the ill fated day of my tonsillectomy, so I will be MIA for at least the rest of the week.  I know it will be hard for you to go on without me, but at least you will have soup to keep you company.  I will be eating pop sickles, and mash potatoes, and lots of pudding.


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Spiced Tea

Spiced Tea has always been a fall favorite of mine.  It warms the soul and offers a different option other than hot chocolate.  I first had Hot Spiced Tea at my friend T-shirts house, and have loved it ever since. This is super simple to mix together so you can have ready made whenever you would like.  Most recipes call for more Tang, than instant Tea but I like to do equal parts of both.  Next, 1 1/2 c. sugar (all this depends on how you like your tea, so you can play with the amounts some). Then add nutmeg and Cinnamon to taste.

Mix it all together in an air tight container and you're ready for easy access.

When ready for the steamin' cup of deliciousness, just pick out your favorite mug, add a couple teaspoons of your mix and some hot water.

And you'll have some lovely spiced tea.

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Dish-o-the-Week: Chili Potatoes

What to do with the leftovers?  That's always the question.  Lately Speed Racer and I have been trying to get better about freezing dishes that we don't want to eat every day for a month, so that we might enjoy them later.  So say that you made some PW Chili, and say that you didn't freeze quite enough for two people...what should you do???  Add potatoes. This is a great recipe to get rid of some leftovers and enjoy on a cold day.  It's the prefect fall dinner, and very filling at that.

So start off with  your potatoes.  Speed Racer and I really could have shared one, we had MORE leftovers.  So you may want to do a half potato per person.  Prick your potato with a fork all over, then rub olive oil on the skin.  Next sprinkle some sea salt over the skin.  Preheat your oven to 450, and bake your potatoes for about an hour.  Note!!  This time can change depending on size of the potatoes, so you will definitely want to keep an eye on them to make sure they are not burning or getting underdone.

While the potatoes are taking forever to bake, especially since SOMEBODY didn't know to put them on a higher heat and had them at 350 instead...take a kitty break.

Maybe even sing the jeapordy song a little bit... doo doo doo doo...doo doo doo doo...DOO duh  doot doot doot doot.

Don't look at me that way.

Ding!  Potatoes are done.  Heat up your left over chili that you hopefully got out of the freezer to defrost already.

Put your chili on top of your lovely hot potatoes,and top with fixin's.

Finally be sure to unbutton your top pants button to make room for this warm, cozy, FILLING, fall dish.

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Dish-o-the-Week: Homemade Granola

I love homemade granola.  It's such a great and healthier way to start the day.  Granola just makes me think of good things, and smells AMAZING when it's baking in the oven. I was raised on this recipe and can still remember my Mom baking it fresh on Saturday mornings.  It took me awhile to appreciate it, what small child wants granola when they can have Cinnamon Toast Crunch!  But now it's one of my favorite breakfasts: it's healthy, it's filling, it's delicious.

My Mom got this recipe from the "More with Less" Cookbook, sold HERE.  If you haven't ever seen this cookbook you are missing out.  It is a Mennonite community cookbook and it has great, natural recipes in bulk.  It's not the best on deserts because a lot of their recipes are low sugar, which I mean if I'm going to eat desert, I want the sugar.  But it has fabulous soups, main dishes, breads, and cereals.  Definitely check it out.

Granola is really pretty basic.  You're mixing your dry ingredients with your wet ingredients and baking it together.  You can add dried fruits, different nuts, or anything else to your hearts content.  Here I started with 10c. of rolled oats, 1c. wheat germ, 1c. cornmeal, 1c. peanuts, and 1 c. of coconut flakes.

For the wet ingredients I used, 1 1/2c. honey, 1c. peanut butter, 1 T. cinnamon, 2/3c. oil, 1/2c. water and 1T. salt. delicious.

You want to combine them on low heat until the peanut butter is completely melted.

Then combine the dry and wet ingredients until they are all mixed together.

Bake at 350 on a greased cookie sheet for 30 min.  You will want to turn them every few minutes or so to keep one side from browning too much.

And ta-da! Delicious snack and breakfast all at once.  And it's really pretty easy.  Again, check out "More with Less," for other great recipes and how to work on keeping your grocery costs down while providing healthy meals.



Dish-o-the-Week: Greek Pasta Salad

Nothing says simple and delicious to me like a pasta salad.  It's refreshing, filling, and super easy to put together...which is why there are no put together pictures here.  You just mix it, I think you guys can figure that out without pictures.  But by far, this is one of my favorite pasta salad recipes I have made.

You can view the full recipe HERE.  I use a lot, especially when I'm in a rush or just stuck on what I want to make for dinner this week.  It's a great site, and easy to use.  I love this pasta salad because it's got so much in it!  We're talkin' pepperoni, olives, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and green onions.  My only tip for this recipe is that I would definitely let it sit over night to let all the flavors mix.  And although it won't make your breath smell good, it's well worth it.



Dish-o-the-Week: Chicken Casserole with Biscuits

Who doesn't love biscuits in just about everything?  Mmmm...buttermilk biscuits.  The other name for this could be soup in biscuits.  It was a little runny, but once you mush up all the biscuits it thickens right up. As always, I kind of combined a couple recipes to go with what I had in the cupboard.  The recipe I used for the casserole called for store bought biscuits, but I had everything to make from scratch buttermilk biscuits.  So I did that.  You can find a great recipe for buttermilk biscuits in the Pioneer Woman Cookbook and it may be on her website as well.

As for the casserole, in a large sauce pan just add chicken, peas, mushrooms, salt, pepper, onion, and cream of chicken soup.  Heat it all up until bubbling and then pour it in the a casserole dish.  After that add the biscuits, store bought or not, on top and pop it in the oven for 25-30 min at 375.  It's great because it really is a simple dish, that will be great in those chillier months.



Dish-o-the-Week: Homemade Mac N' Cheese

I know, your mouth is watering already right?  Who doesn't love Mac N' Cheese?  Crazy people that's who!  I'm pretty serious about my mac n' cheese if you can't tell.  Actually, Speed Racer has had to cut me off from Easy Mac...I wish I was joking.  I had a little bit of an Easy Mac problem there for awhile. My sister in law Olie saw this recipe in the Pioneer Woman cookbook and highly suggested I make it.  I think she was implying that I make it when she was around so she could partake in it, but alas, she lives too far away.  Sorry Olie!  But I'll make more mac n' cheese next time I see you, I'm just making sure I get the recipe perfect first.

So here's what you need.  Pretty basic really.

First you want to cook and drain your macaroni noodles.  You want them a little hard since you'll be baking them in the oven later.

Now we're going to start making the delicious cheesy sauce.  On low heat, we're gonna mix the butter and flour.

Then I added the milk and spices.

You want to keep stirring the sauce until it gets like milkshake thick, then switch it to low heat.  Next I whisked the egg and then tempered it with some of the sauce to keep it from cooking when I poured it into the sauce.

Then more spices. And cheese.

Delicious!  Mix it all together, until it's gooey and wonderful.  Then put into a baking dish and top with.....more cheese!  Because honestly, most things cannot have enough cheese.

And then...enjoy.  It really is a great comfort food, and it's fat free!  Just kidding.  I wish it was, but you can always pretend.