Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spinach Stuffed Shells

12 dried jumbo shell macaroni
1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend (8 oz), divided
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 26-32 oz jar pasta sauce

Cook shells according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350.
For filling, in a medium bowl stir together spinach, eggs 1 1/2 cups Italian cheese blend and the ricotta cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Spoon generous 2 rounded tablespoon of filling into each jumbo shell. Arrange shells in a 2 quart square baking dish. Pour pasta sauce over shells.
Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven about 40 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining Italian cheese blend and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Make-ahead directions. Prepare as written above but do not bake. Cover with plastic wrap , then foil. Chill for up to 24 hours. To bake, remove plastic wrap and replace foil. Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 50 - 55 minutes or until heated through.

Homemade Laundry Soap

My friend makes this and loves it so I decided to give it a try.

You only need 3 ingredients to make laundry soap; a soap of some sort (Zote or Fels Naptha), washing soda, and borax.
The Ingredients:

THE SOAP: The most common soap to use is Fels Naptha. It is an old fashin type soap that you can find in the laundry isle. You can also use Zote. Wal-mart does not carry these. I found mine at Smith's. I bought Zote, is cost just over $1.

WASHING SODA: This is not to be confused with baking soda. They are not the same thing. Washing soda is sodium bicarbonate or soda ash. The brand to look for is Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda. You can find it in the laundry isle. Again, I couldn't find this at Wal-mart, but I did find it at Smiths. Under $4.

BORAX: Borax is a laundry whitener and deodorizer. The brand to look for is 20 Mule Team. It comes in a 76 oz. box. This is available at Wal-mart in the laundry isle. I didn't look for it at Smith's but I would guess that they carry it. Under $5.

Here is the recipe:
1/3 bar of Fles Naptha or Zote
1/2 cup Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax Powder

-You will need a 5 gallon bucket. You can purchase 5 gallon buckets from bakeries for a dollar or two. Also, you can buy buckets at Lowes for under $3.

Mark soap so you know where the 1/3 mark is. Grate the soap and put it in a saucepan. Add 6 cups of water and heat until soap melts.
Melting the soap:

Add washing soda and the borax and stir until dissolved.
Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups of hot water into the bucket. Add soap mixture and stir. Then add 1 gallon plus 6 cups (22 cups) of water and stir. Let the soap sit for 24 hours and it will gel. You only need 1/2 cup per load.
Finished product (before letting it sit for 24 hours):

-The finished soap will be a watery gel that looks like egg drop soup.
-The soap is low sudsing. So if you don't see suds, it's okay.
-Optional: If you want your soap to have a scent, you can add 1/2 oz of essential oil or fragrance of your chioce. Popular scents to use are orange or lemon essential oil.

This makes 34+ cups of soap. That is 68+ loads of laundy. You have enough Zote to make this two more times, enough borax to make this 18 more times and enough Washing soda to make this 13 more times.

So if you do the math you can do hundreds of loads of laundry for under $10.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cinnamon Butter

DH and I love love love love love Texas Roadhouse! For those of you who have had the pleasure of dining there, you know that one of the great perks is the rolls and cinnamon butter they give you as you are seated.

I've been looking for their recipes for their rolls and butter. I've tried some and been very disappointed. I've yet to find an accurate recipe for the rolls but I found the cinnamon butter recipe!

It's so easy and SO good!

Cinnamon Butter:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk, chilled
1/2 teaspoon corn syrup
3/4 to 1 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

Place all ingredient in a food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate.

I had rolls from Costco so I heated them up then rubbed butter on the top.

Honey Mustard Curry Chicken

DH and I love curry. Not hot Indian curry, just the plain 'ole curry powder you get in the spice section at the store.
I found this recipe a few months ago and forgot about until now.
We got home late tonight and DH was really hungry. I had some chicken thawed so I decided to make this and cook some rice in the rice cooker.

Honey Mustard Curry Chicken:
1 C. Honey or Corn Syrup
1/2 C. Mustard
2 tsp. Curry Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 Cube melted butter
10-20 chicken pieces (thighs or tenderloins work best)

Directions: Place chicken in a baking pan; mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over the chicken. Cover with foil. You can uncover the last 15 minutes if you want less sauce. Bake 1 hour at 375.
Serve over rice.

I halved the recipe and used 2 chicken breasts, cut up, instead of thighs. I also think that this would be great with tofu but DH can't stand the stuff.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pesto Chicken Puffs

DH went nuts over this super easy dish. I found it on

2 sheets half-pound rectangular frozen puff pastry, thawed
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tomatoes, diced
3 Tbsp. prepared basil pesto
3/4 cup grated mozzarella chesse
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350.
Roll out pastry on slightly floured surface.
Cut each sheet in half so you have 2 fat rectangles rather than 2 long skinny rectangles.
Dice chicken into 1/2 inch cubes.
Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the chicken and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked. Remove from the heat.
Add pesto and tomato to chicken and mix.
Spoon equal amounts of chicken mixture onto each pastry, covering half the sheet but leaving space at the edge to seal.
Top chicken mixture with grated mozzarella.
Beat the egg. Brush egg around the inside edge of each pasty then fold the pastry over to seal. Crimp with a fork to reinforce the seal.
Brush the top of the pastry with egg.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until pastry in golden.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Key Lime Pie

DH's family came over for dinner today. I made a pot roast in the crock-pot and Key Lime Pie for dessert. I made this pie once before for my parents and I converted DH to Key Lime Pie.

It's super yummy and super easy!

Key Lime Pie
1/2 cup Key Lime juice (Wal-mart doesn't carry it, I found mine at Smiths)
3 egg yolks
1-14oz can sweetened condensed milk
Prepared graham cracker pie crust

Mix all ingredients together and pour into pie crust. Cake at 350 for 15 minutes or until you can leave a fingerprint in the pie when pressing on it lightly. Refrigerate f or 8 hours. Garnish with Cool Whip and enjoy!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Curse of My Vinyl Floor!

We recently moved into a home that had been occupied by an old widower for 10 years. It was cluttered and dusty and downright dirty. I've made my way through most of the dust and grime but there is one thing I just can not get clean: my white vinyl kitchen floor.

Why anyone would install a white kitchen floor is beyond me, but that's what I've got and I have to make do for now.

I've tried multiple cleaning products including my Swiffer® WetJet® and getting on my hands an knees and scrubbing the floor with Ammonia. There is only one product I have found that makes a notable difference. And that wonderful, lifesaving product is Windex®.

I spray the floor and then use a mop to scrub it clean. I use the
Windex® Multi-Surface Antibacterial because that's what I happen to have, but I have read that regular Windex® works just as well.

I am some OCD when it comes to the cleanliness of my home, but even if I didn't, a dirty white kitchen floor is something you just can't ignore.

Cleaning this floor has become a daily task for me. My next task is convincing DH to rip it up and install a new floor. Wish me luck!

New Recipe Website

While searching one of my favorite recipe websites,, I read about another site that seems to be very popular.

There are lots of great recipes on here that I can't wait to try! Check it out!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

My friend Sammi and I used to go to a Thai restaurant a lot and I fell in love with this dish. I came across a recipe in the Worldwide Ward Cookbook and decided to try it.

I tried the sauce one night just to see if it had the flavor that I love and it did, but DH hates cumin, or "powdered B.O." as my mom calls it, and was not willing to try the dish. So I had the chicken marinating and DH is working tonight so I made it for myself. It's scrumptious! There's A LOT of flavor going on and it's probably not pleasing to every palate, but if you like Thai, you'll like this!

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

3 Tbsp. Lime juice (I used key lime because I had it on hand)
1 tsp. curry
2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 lb. chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
4 medium green onions, cut into 2 inch pieces

Peanut Sauce:
1/2 cup creamy peanut sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. lime juice
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper, optional
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

You will also need skewers

1. In lidded glass or plastic dish, stir lime juice, curry powder, honey, coriander, cumin, salt and garlic until well mixed. Add chicken and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, make sauce: In a 1-quart saucepan, mix all sauce ingredients with wire whisk. Heat over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until smooth and warm.

3. To cook chicken, set oven to broil. Spray rack in broiler pan with cooking spray. remove chicken from marinade, reserve marinade. Thread chicken, 1 bell pepper piece & 2 onion pieces on each 8-inch skewer* leaving space between each piece. Place skewers on rack in broiler pan.

4. Broil with tops about 3 inches from heat for 4 minutes. Turn, brush with marinade. Broil 4-5 minutes longer or until chicken is cooked through.

*If using bamboo skewers, soak in water at least 30 minutes before using to prevent burning.

From my picture you can see that I omitted the pepper and green onion and I didn't use skewers. I also grilled them instead of broiling. Also, my chicken marinaded for 3 days because I didn't have time to cook them right away.

The tang of the lime with the refreshing smooth creamy peanut sauce are a great combination. And the honey in the marinade gives the chicken a beautiful color and texture. This flavorful and delightful dish is definitely worth a try!

Wedding Cake

My sister-in-law and I love to make cakes. After months of watching shows like Ace of Cakes and Food Network Challenge, we decided that we wanted to give it a try.

After a couple months of making cakes and having quite a few successes, we were asked to make a wedding cake for our Aunt's wedding. It was a "country picnic" themed wedding that took place at the Botanical Gardens. The lunch was all dutch oven so we wanted to included that element in our cakes. So we served them in dutch ovens and even had the foil hanging out like you would have with any dutch oven dish.

I loved making this cake because we came up with so many elements during the process. We had originally planned to pipe little dots but we had the idea of using tiny sugar balls or dragées. Then we thought it would be cute to randomly place tiny flowers under some of the dragées. It brought the cake up to a whole new level and we were really pleased with the outcome, as were the bride and groom and we really can't ask for anything better than that.

Hello Dolly's

This is one of our favorite desserts. I learned this recipe from my Nana, who is an amazing cook. It's easy, delicious, and you can be as creative as you want.

Hello Dolly's Basic Recipe

1 sick butter (do NOT use margarine)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
1 -14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Place butter in a baking dish. I find that my 6" x 9" x 1" pan works best.

Preheat oven to 350. Stick the pan in the oven while it's preheating so the butter can melt.

When the butter is completely melted, take the pan out and evenly spread graham cracker crumbs. Follow with the remaining ingredients, spreading them all evenly. Top with the sweetened condensed milk.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbling.

Cool and cut into 1-inch squares.

Note: You can add or substitute almost all the ingredients as long as you have the graham cracker base and the sweetened condensed milk on top.
One alternative I have tried that I really like is substituting the semi-sweet chocolate chips for white chocolate chips and adding Craisins. My aunt also makes these with butterscotch chips, mini m&m's and marshmallows. Be creative!


Welcome to my blog. I want this blog to display the things I love to do. Cook, decorate, clean, organize, coupon, and anything else I come up with.

I have always wanted to me a housewife, or "homemaker" as my mom insists I call it. I never aspired to be a career woman. I wanted to be a nurse but when I got married and shortly after became pregnant, I realized that I don't a job to take me away from my home.

I have an amazing husband. I love him with all my heart. And we have a beautiful daughter. She is such a joy in our lives. We love the Lord. We love going to the temple. We love making our home a haven from the outside world.

I hope you will have fun reading this blog and be inspired by it.