Tag Archives: cooking

Cookie Exchange

As is typical for this time of year, I’m attending one of many cookie exchanges in the next couple weeks.  I’m really excited about the cookie I choose for my first exchange.  My favorite cake of all times is German Chocolate cake; homemade by my wonderful mom preferably, but a store bought will on rare occasion do in a pinch.  I love the flavors of the pecans and the coconut and just the right amount of sweet.

So to my excitement, I was searching through Facebook pages that I follow and one had a list of 50 cookie exchange ideas; and there I found it.  This is now my holy grail of cookies.  German Chocolate Cookies!!  They are moist, delicious and have absolutely NO calories in them!! (wink, wink, insert sarcasm)

Chef in Training is one of my favorite websites to get recipes.  I don’t think there is a recipe I’ve tried yet that hasn’t hit the mark 🙂  And now for the cookies.

German Chocolate Cookies:

Ingredients
  • 2 boxes german chocolate cake mix, dry
  • 4 eggs
  • 10 Tbsp. butter, melted
COCONUT PECAN FROSTING
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1⅓ cup sweetened shredded coconut, for drizzle
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 4 oz. melted chocolate candy coating, for drizzle

First combine the cake mixes, eggs and butter.

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Next, scoop 1in balls of dough onto either a lightly greased cookie pan or in my case I used non-stick aluminum foil.  Place 12 on a sheet to allow for spreading.  Cook on 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  You DO NOT want to over cook these.

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Once done, allow to cool completely.

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While the cookies are cooling, start the frosting.

  • Add evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, butter and vanilla to a large pan and cook on stovetop over medium heat. Continuously stir until thickened (takes about 12-15 minutes). Once thickened remove from heat and add coconut and pecans. Continue to stir until thick enough to spread.
  • Spread frosting over the tops of cooled cookies.

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The recipe calls for chocolate to be drizzled over the cookies, but I thought these were perfect with out it.

Hope you enjoy and check out other recipes from the websites I’ve included.  I don’t think you will be disappointed!!  Happy cooking.

I’d love for you to share your favorite cookie recipes or websites for your cookie exchanges.

Totally random family picture, but my boys were apparently having a meeting of the minds while I was making cookies last night.

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Don’t forget, if you are interesting in supporting our adoption process or want to read more about our story, please visit www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger

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Quick and Simple 1 – Pasta and Sauce

Whether a working mom or a stay at home mom, quick and simple dinners are a must for busy days.  Not only does a good simple home cooked meal help the budget, it helps the waistline by not having to eat out!

This was exactly our dinner the other night.  We had fun pasta, picked out by Mr. Caleb himself, a jar of marinara, some meat and a salad.  I’ve mentioned before the awesome authentic Italian grocery store we have in the area.  I like to go with a friend every couple months and stock up on their great products.  This is where I purchase my bulk Italian sausage, breakfast sausage and fresh sliced pepperoni as well as a variety of fun pastas and cheeses.  The Muir Glen Organic Pasta Sauce is something I like to pick up at Sprouts, especially when it’s on sale.  They have a wide variety of flavors and we love all of them.

Here’s my quick and simple dinner:

1/2 lb italian sausage (or meat of choice)
1/2 package of favorite pasta (cooked according to directions)1/2 jar of favorite pasta sauce
Favorite shredded cheese to top
Salad of choice or other vegetable

First cook the pasta according to the package directions.

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While the pasta is cooking, cook your meat of choice.  Once done, drain any excess grease and return the meat to the pan.

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Add the pasta sauce to the meat and continue to heat while the pasta gets done.

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You can mix the pasta and the meat sauce together, but my son usually likes his pasta plain so we don’t mix it.  We choose fresh spinach and a little organic ranch dressing on top and sprinkled some fresh grated Parmesan cheese.  YUM!

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These items are usually staples in our home so that no matter whats going on that day, I can have a good home cooked meal on the table in under 30 minutes.

I’d love to hear what your quick and easy or go to meals are for those busy days?

Happy birthday mom!

It’s been a couple days since I posted because I’ve been working on a special birthday surprise for my mom.

One of moms guilty pleasures use to be a Hostess Snoball. Since Hostess was bought by another company, the recipe is just not the same. So when I asked mom what she wanted for her birthday,she said a good tasting Snoball was all she needed. So that’s been my goal the last few days to find a comparable homemade recipe.

Although I was able to find several recipes, this is the one I choose. Thanks to From Away for the recipe.

It’s definitely not the marshmallow texture on the outside as the original but the taste is spot on.

Here’s a couple of pictures from my baking process. I had fun making these and can’t wait to share them with my mom. Happy birthday mama!!!

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Adoption News:

We found out this past week that we have officially been accepted into the infant adoption program. We submitted our fee and are now eligible to be matched with a birth mom. What an exciting time for our family.

We have been greatly blessed by the prayers, encouragement and financial support from friends, family and complete strangers. If you would like to read more about our story please see my earlier blog posts or check out our fundraising page.

Adopt Together fundraising

For those celebrating next week from my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!!

A First for Me

My cooking and baking adventures started a little over a year and a half ago when I came home full time with my son. I’m typically a recipe conformist and follow it to a tee. I’ve tried on several occasions to branch out and tweek recipes I find, but they typically end up inedible.

So tonight I took a chance and tried it again…and voila SUCCESS!!!  Here’s what was left of it after my family got a hold of it 🙂

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I happened across a recipe on Facebook today (Original recipe:  https://www.facebook.com/TheNewHot899/photos/a.96216403705.86216.12759833705/10151510794968706/?type=1&fref=nf&pnref=story).  Here is my version I created tonight.

Ingredients:
1 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (I had a package in the freezer that contained a breast and 2 tenders)
1 large russet potato (I cut mine very small using this chopper)
Chopped broccoli (I chopped a partial head of broccoli, you could use froze, but thaw and warm before adding)
Olive oil
salt
black pepper
paprika
garlic powder
hot sauce (I used Frank’s and only in the chicken marinade)

Topping:
Colby jack cheese
Crumbled bacon
Diced green onion

I didn’t include any measurements because I just mixed in ingredients to what my families taste are.  Use your judgement and the likes of those who you are cooking for.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Spray a 9X13″ baking dish with cooking spray. In a bowl mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. Add the potatoes and stir together. Scoop out the potatoes and leave the marinade in the bowl.  Bake the potatoes for 30 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, add the cubed chicken to the bowl with the left over olive oil mixture, adding hot sauce to taste, and stir to coat. If your chicken is not coated well, add additional olive oil and spices.  Once the potatoes are fully cooked, remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 400 degrees. Layer the chopped broccoli and then the raw marinated chicken on top of the potatoes. In another bowl mix together the cheese and bacon and cover the chicken.  Top with green onions and return the casserole to the oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the topping is bubbly delicious.

I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure this recipe could be further tweeked with different vegetables or maybe even a homemade cream of “something” soup.  Once I started taking the time to read food labels, I haven’t used a can of this stuff in more than a year.  This recipe is fairly simple and can be made with organic ingredients.  Highly recommended, especially for the upcoming holiday season where several family favorite recipes call for this soup.

I’m including a completely random picture of my son.  This made me happy tonight.  There’s nothing cuter than a boy and his dog.  Especially when said boy wants to cuddle with the dog on the dog bed and the dog just wants to go to bed!

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Adoption News:
We got an update today that our fingerprint clearances came back last Friday.  One more step closer to being able to start the matching process to bring home a daughter to add to our little family.  As I’ve mentioned, if you would like to hear about our adoption story or support us during our journey, please click the link.  www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger

Freezer meals revisited (I)

Last week I wrote about a group of my mom friends getting together to swap freezer meals.  Tonight we had our first meal from the swap…Chicken Parmesan.  I’ve never made Chicken Parmesan for my family because I always thought it was too difficult.  After seeing the results tonight, I’ll be adding this to my recipe planner.

I added a side of whole wheat spaghetti that I mixed it with the marinara sauce that wasn’t used on the chicken.  Our veggie for tonight was Parmesan and garlic broccoli that I steamed in the microwave.

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Speaking of a recipe planner.  I use a service called Plan to Eat (affiliate link) to store my recipes.  It has a calendar planner (including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) that I love and takes what I plan and puts it in a shopping list for me.  I’ve been using Plan to Eat for almost a year and I love the functionality of the program.  The normal yearly subscription fee is $31, but they are having a 50% off Black Friday sale from November 28th to December 1st.  If you know someone looking for this type of service, what a great time for an inexpensive Christmas gift.

Adoption News

We found out today that our adoption home study has been approved and we are now ready to start the matching process.  We look forward to the day we can meet our future birthmother and then our daughter. The adoption process has been and will continue to be emotional and resource intensive.  We cannot continue to go through this process without encouragement, prayer and financial support from our friends and family.  We would like to invite you to journey with us through this process.

Will you partner with us and support our family in bringing our daughter home to our family?
If you have the financial means to support our adoption, no amount is too small or too big; $5 to $5,000 – any and all funds will help! Our goal is to raise $25,000. And, 100% of your financial support will go toward our adoption costs, thanks to Adopt Together.  Donations made through this site are tax-deductible.  

November 3rd Cooking

I’m so excited about this week.  A group of moms that I am friends with has decided to participate in a freezer meal swap.  I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with to share.  For my contribution, I’m prepping a Chicken Tortilla Soup for the crockpot.  I’ve made this recipe in the past, but not from a freezer bag.  I just dumped all the ingredients in the crockpot fresh.  I’ve included the recipe below.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup (adapted from http://therealisticorganizer.blogspot.com/2014/01/organized-slow-cooker-freezer-meals.html)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 cans pinto beans, drained
  • 1/2 onion chopped – OPTIONAL
  • taco seasoning to taste (I use homemade from this recipe)

If making from a freezer bag, allow to thaw overnight or 24 hours in the fridge.

To Cook:
add 1 cup water or chicken broth
add Taco Seasoning
cook low for 4-6 hours

This past weekend and very good friend took me to a local Italian grocer in Dallas called Jimmy’s Food Store.  They have great fresh pasta that I just had to try.  Tonight we had their Pumpkin Tortellini with Victoria’s Vodka sauce for dinner.   The only word my husband and I had after dinner was YUM!!!  Even my 2.5 year old had several pieces of tortellini and asked for three helpings of organic spring salad mix.  I was one satisfied happy mama tonight 🙂

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www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger

My Superhero family

What happens when you bring Spider Girl, Captain American and Ironman together…you have my Superhero family!!  Our family really enjoys Halloween.  My husband has always been big on the whole family being dressed up and sharing in the experience together.  Yesterday was no different.  We enjoyed time with some awesome family friends while watching the kids make their way around the neighborhood collecting their spoils.

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Today I shared a wonderful covered dish lunch with some very sweet ladies from my church.  We love Reuben sandwiches and casseroles in this house, so I wanted to put a little twist on a traditional sandwich and try an appetizer version.  Here is what I came up with.
Reuben Dip

32 oz sauerkraut rinsed and well drained
12 oz sliced deli corned beef chopped
10 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
10 oz Swiss cheese, shredded
1 cup
mayonnaise
1/2 cup Russian salad dressing (or Thousand Island)

In a bowl mix all ingredients together, place in a 9×13 baking dish coated with Pam or Olive Oil.  Bake on 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

I used Boar’s Head products for the deli meats and cheeses.  More expensive but the quality is worth it and no added nitrates / nitrites.

I served mine with chips or you could use any variety of crackers.  I brought the leftovers home to my husband and lets just say their are no more leftovers 🙂

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No updated news on the adoption front.  Our social worker is in the process of writing up our home study document and we are completing the paperwork and setting up the appointments to get our fingerprints completed again because it’s been several years since we had those done.  If you are interested in reading our story please see the previous posts related to our family or check out our adoption profile and our fundraising page .  As a reminder, Hoping Hearts Foundation, the parent organization for Adopt Together is an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) organization making donations tax-deductible.   www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger