Monday, January 30, 2012


Hey people... this is just a WW soup recipe I wanted to try since I had barley in the house.  I never have barley in the house.  Have you eaten barley before?  It's got an interesting texture to it.  It's quite different from rice and makes for a good change if you're looking for something healthy and tasty to try.  Here it is cooking:

Garlic, carrots, and mushrooms sautee-ing... the giant soup pot.

Wild Rice, Barley, Corn, and Mushroom Soup 

Mmm... soup. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cincinnati Chili

As you may or may not know, I'm a big fan of chili.  It's a staple in our house.  I generally make it using chili packets of seasoning and pretty much always follow the same recipe.  It's not tough. 

However, my favorite kind of chili is not exactly convenient to make.  I used to be able to find Cincinnati chili packets, but they no longer sell them around here.  The packets were convenient because you just add them to some meat and cook away.  Without the packets, the chili has to simmer for a looooooooong time to get all of the spices and flavors going.  If you follow my chili link above, it will take you to where you can actually order the packets.  OR... you can just try this recipe.  I crockpotted it up.  Yep, I made a new word there. 

I think the main difference with Cincinnati chili is that you serve it over spaghetti noodles.  Oh, and you put chocolate and cinnamon in it.  Sounds crazy, but it's amazing!  Mmm... as I was cooking it, the house smelled terrific and it brought back all kinds of good memories.  :-)

All spiced up in the crock.

Simmering meat...

Dump it all in and cook!

Cincinnati Chili

Now, I think if I make it again, I may try it without the kidney beans.  I know that you usually put beans in chili, but the way I remember having Cinicinnati chili is without them.  Kidney beans have never been my favorite anyway... although they apparently have all kinds of health benefits


What's your favorite kind of chili?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pie :-)

Big news!

I made my very first pie last night!  Nope, not cherry, blueberry, or lemon meringue...
Nacho Pie!

It's nacho ordinary pie... *snicker snicker*.  Okay, that was pretty bad.  Just go with it, folks. 

Now, I know that you are probably shocked that the first pie I ever made falls into the Mexican food category.  NOT.  This pie was amazing.  So easy to make and easily customizable.  I added diced green chiles to mine.  You could easily add mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, or whatever else floats your delicious nacho boat. 

Ready to eat!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Meat, Mushrooms, and Herbs, Oh my!

I just spent waaaaaaaay too long organizing my blog pictures.  My advice to you is that if you ever start a blog, make sure you have some system of organization from the beginning.  Not just a jumble of delicious looking pictures.  Yeah. 

Now that I have all kinds of folders and labels, I'm ready to show you what I cooked yesterday... more meat! 

Hearty Rice Casserole

I have no idea why this is called "Hearty Rice Casserole" and not "Hearty Double-Meat Casserole".  In my humble opinion, that would be a much more appropriate name.  Sooo much meat.  It smelled so good while it was cooking and I think it tasted even better leftover tonight. 

I also made these:

Sauteed Mushrooms

Mmm... I love mushrooms so much. 

Apparently I'm all about meat and mushrooms lately.  I'm not really sure why.  Everything I seem to cook has both!  What's up with that? 

Oh, on a side note... here are a few pictures of my growing herbs:

The good news is that they're not dead yet.  However, it doesn't look like the cilantro is really growing.  I shall keep watering it and see what happens! 

Off to bed.  I'm sooooo tired and that baby of mine is going to wake me up soon.  Thank goodness she's cute.  ;-)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Omelet Folding

I'll make this quick.  For all the times that I've made yummy scrambled eggs, I've never thought to make an omelet.  Mainly because I can't fold them correctly.  See?

There's a little bit of omelet fail going on there.  I can apparently fold them in a haphazard way...  but the perfect omelet fold eludes me.  I even waited until the omelet looked a little bubbly before trying to fold it.  Does anyone know if adding milk to it helps?  Any tips or suggestions to perfect my omelet skills are welcome!  

Alissa's Scallion, Mushroom, and Cheese Omelet

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Anniversary Flan!

I recently discovered caramelization, which is kind of odd for me because I tend to hate all things caramel.  That seems to be the general idea of caramelization.  If you're like me and you clicked on the link to find out more about caramelization, you may not have understood much of the process. 

Here's what I know about caramelization:

1.  If you caramelize something for too long, it burns. 
2.  It has something to do with sugar.
3.  Caramelized bananas are where it's at. 

My wonderful hubby took me out last night for our two year wedding anniversary to Fogo de Chao.  When we were trying to decide what we should do for our anniversary a few weeks ago I said, "Why don't we go to that meat place... you know, where they have all the meat?"  My new mommy mind doesn't let me remember words sometimes.  Jimmy knew right away where I meant (he's good at deciphering my speak)... so we went!

Well, the meat was fantastic.  My favorite was the filet mignon wrapped with bacon.  I'm a fan. 

However, at one point the meat men brought us a plate of caramelized bananas.  We both looked at them like, "What's this?"  Then I ate a bite and fell in love.  Too bad caramelization takes all of the healthfulness directly OUT of the banana.  Haha.  Anyway, I want to try this recipe for Caramelized Bananas.  Soon. 

After dinner, they brought us this awesome anniversary flan. 

Here's what I know about flan:

1.  It jiggles like jello when you poke it.
2.  It's the consistency of pudding or cheesecake... maybe a combination of the two.
3.  It's yummy.  Especially when it's anniversary flan!

Fogo de Chao rocks.  :-)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chocolate Trees! (2011)

I just realized that I totally failed to post pictures of our most recent chocolate escapade!  We made chocolate trees this (well, last) year... :-)

Neal and Casee's supplies

Complete with the Christmas hippo!  :-)

Alissa and Jimmy's supplies


The woodland creatures are staring in awe at the tree...

Yep, and that's us eating them later on... animals made out of chocolate are scrumptious!  :-)


So, for Christmas I asked for a Chia Herb Garden.  My brother, awesome as he is, got me said herb garden and yesterday I put it all together and "planted" my herbs.  I say "planted" because it's a Chia garden and you put the seeds on TOP of the soil.  Like so.

I started with cilantro, dill, and sweet basil and next I'll grow chives, majoram, and parsley.  It stinks that the kit only comes with three clay pots and six packets of seeds.  Although, it's probably best for easing myself into this process.  We'll see how this works! 

Greenhouse effect? 

Just so you don't have the wrong impression of my growing/planting skills... you should know that I've killed two cacti on separate occasions (one in college and one a few years ago). 

I also receieved two lovely potted plants at the end of the school year last year that were both dead within a few weeks.  I actually have a picture of one of them after the first time it rained... let's see if I can find it... ah yes.

Like I said... dead within weeks.  I actually managed to keep that purple-flowered plant (I don't even know what it's called!) alive by trimming it and watering it for a while... and then I went on vacation for the weekend, came back, and both plants were all brown.  It was sad. 

Anyway, I'm hoping that I can keep a few herb plants alive.  Wish me luck! 

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Happy New Year!  :-) 

I hope you're having a good 2012 and working on whatever your resolutions may be.  I made a few resolutions and I'm doing my best...

1. Read at least 20 books this year. 
2. Learn how to cook meat.
3. Paint my kitchen yellow.

So far I've read one book: The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson.  It's the second book in the Milennium series and I thought it was better than the first.  I technically finished the first book in 2012, but I'm not counting it because I started it last year.  :-p  Any book recommendations for me?  I've got a new Kindle that's itching for books! 

Meat, in general, intimidates me when it's in a large chunk.  I'm not afraid of ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken because it's all ground up already!  I am now equipped with a nice meat thermometer and so my mission begins. 

Today I made two things... first, Meatball Mushroom Soup, which turned out more like a thick stew.  Meatballs don't scare me because they are little... so I started off kind of small.  Mmm...  

Carrots are bleeding!  (They didn't stand a chance.)

Meatball Mushroom Soup

So, I'm pretty sure that this was super thick because I didn't follow the recipe.  I added more rice, barley, and noodles than it called for because I thought, 'How can that be enough?!'  Well, it was enough.  Don't get me wrong... the thickness was delicious.  Just not what I was expecting.  I think this was also the first time I've ever knowingly eaten barley.  What an odd consistency! 

The second thing I made today was Dijon Beef and Mushrooms... which was supposed to be more of a stew-like substance and turned into soup!  For this recipe, I cut up my first hunk of steak meat ever.  *That link is not the exact recipe (which I can't find), but it gives you a general idea. 

Hunk of meat!

Mess of stuff in the crockpot...

Four hours later... it's like soup!

Dijon Beef and Mushrooms

It was so saucy, I decided to serve it over brown rice.  The recipe I used came out of a Skinny Slow Cooker magazine that I got at the grocery store the other day.  I'm excited to start using my crockpots more... I love crockpot cooking!  <3
Oh!  As far as painting my kitchen yellow goes, it will happen.  Just not yet.  Life's been a little busy lately.  In a good way!  :-) 
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