Sunday, April 29, 2012

I Love The Flan

I seriously think I just died and went to heaven.  If flan could sustain life, I would be living off of the stuff.  Well, maybe frog-eye salad, strawberry fluff, and flan for a little dietary variety.  Flan always reminds me of my Los Hermanos days, the owner Lisa, and a story she would tell during orientation.  "I love the flan!"  Now the flan at Los Hermanos is pretty darn good.  They have a lady named Gay that makes it from scratch and brings it in weekly.  But the recipe I just discovered may take the cake.  Sorry Gay!  Although there is some work involved, you won't be disappointed with the end result!  Even if you think you don't like flan, you should try it.  Who knows, you may come out saying "I love the flan!"

Creamy Caramel Flan

3/4 cup sugar
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
5 eggs
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, cook and stir sugar until melted and golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Quickly pour into an ungreased 2-quart round baking or souffle dish, tilting to coat the bottom.  I used a spring-form pan and it worked just fine.  Let stand for 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined.  Add remaining ingredients, mix well.  Pour over carmelized sugar.  Place the dish in a larger baking pan.  Pour boiling water into larger pan to a depth of 1 inch.  (If you use a springform pan, I would recommend covering the outside with aluminum foil so that water doesn't seep in.)

Bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes or until center is just set (mixture will jiggle).  It took a good 60 minutes for mine. 

Remove dish from larger pan to a wire rack and cook for 1 hour.  Refrigerate overnight.  To un-mold, run a knife around the edges and invert onto a large rimmed serving platter.  

Cut into wedges, spoon sauce over each serving.


Saturday, April 28, 2012


For those who don't know, the Mister served a two-year church mission in Haiti.  He's been working on his Haitian cooking skills as of late and is getting quite good at it if I might say so myself.  A friend from Haiti was kind enough to teach us how to make a Haitian spice blend last night, but in preparation for our little class, we had to peel around 20 bulbs (not cloves, bulbs) of garlic.  That's a lot of garlic folks.  The Mister and Little Miss M were peeling each individual clove by hand and it was taking FOREVER.  The Mister had me google quicker ways to peel garlic and what I discovered will blow your mind!  Unless you've already discovered it yourself...  Be prepared to be amazed!

How to Peel Garlic in Less Than 10 Seconds

Place entire garlic bulb on counter, root end facing down.

Smash bulb with palm of hand to break up into separate cloves.

Place cloves and peels in large kitchen bowl.  Please note that those are the Mister's ginormous hands, not mine.

Place another kitchen bowl on top, with rims touching.

And shake the dickens out of it for about 10 seconds.  Remove top bowl.

See all the beautiful cloves peeled?!  Quite amazing if you ask me!

We're quite proud of this discovery. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Popcorn Popping

What I'm about to share with you will change your life.  Quite literally.  And save you bunches of money!  I can't take the credit for this one, it all goes to my Bestie B!  Stove top popcorn y'all.  It's amazing.  It's so light, fluffy, and fresh tasting!  It costs pennies to make and tastes so much better than microwave popcorn.  We buy our popping corn in the bulk section of Winco for $0.50 a pound or something ridiculous like that.  I've found that it's a lot cheaper to buy in the bulk section than buying the prepackaged containers.

Stove Top Popcorn

Large Pot with Handles and Lid (that fits securely)
1/2 cup popping corn kernels
3 tablespoons olive oil

Place pot on stove top on medium to medium-high heat.  Put olive oil and kernels in pot and cover. 

Shake pot to coat kernels with olive oil.  Will take a couple of minutes for oil to heat sufficiently for kernels to start popping.  As soon as kernels begin popping, shake pot to prevent burning.  I recommend using potholders so that I can hold down the lid as I'm shaking.  The lid needs to stay on securely in order for this to work.  You need to shake almost continuously through process to prevent burning and to ensure that as many kernels as possible pop.  Little Miss M loves watching the kernels pop through the lid.  But then again, so do I.  We're easily amused.

Once popping slows down, remove from heat and uncover.  You'll be surprised at how much popcorn that 1/2 cup of kernels produces.

Pour popcorn into bowl and season to taste.  I personally like seasoning with salt and a white cheddar cheese popcorn seasoning.  Bestie B melts butter and pours over popcorn.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cake and Swings

Baby P had some pretty big milestones yesterday.  She had her first bite of chocolate cake courtesy of Auntie B.  Happy Birthday Auntie B!!

And her first experience on the swing!  She wasn't quite sure what to think of it in the beginning, but got the hang of it pretty quickly.

After about 45 minutes of swinging she was still going strong!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Fluff may quite possibly be one of my favorite things ever.  Strawberry fluff, raspberry fluff, orange fluff.  They're all amazing.  With only four ingredients, it's super fast and super easy to make!  This is also a great one to let the kiddos help with.  Little Miss M practically did this one all by herself.

Strawberry Fluff

1 3 oz box strawberry jello
1 8 oz carton cool whip
1 16 oz container cottage cheese
1 16 oz carton strawberry, hulled and sliced

Mix jello, cottage cheese, and strawberries in medium size bowl.  

Fold in cool whip.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. 

Eat until you have a belly ache!

Monday, April 23, 2012

El Pollo Loco

When it comes to food, I say the spicier the better!  I've been making these chicken fajitas for years and they have just the right amount of kick!  If you aren't a huge fan of spicy food, just cut back on the cayenne pepper or omit it all together.  

Chicken Fajita Seasoning

1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon crushed chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cumin

Combine ingredients in small bowl and store in airtight container if not using immediately.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 medium onion sliced
Chicken Fajita Seasoning

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium high heat.  Cook chicken for five minutes or until cooked through.  Add fajita seasoning mix, water, green pepper, and onion. 

Cook and stir on medium heat for five minutes, then cover and cook for an additional five minutes or until vegetables are tender.  

We like to have ours with refried beans, sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.  For a quick and easy guacamole, mash one large ripe avocado.  Add about a teaspoon of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012


The Mister spent most of his Saturday in the kitchen cooking up Haitian food for a dinner he was in charge of at the church last night.  Members were encouraged to bring dishes native to the area they served their mission.  We had everything ranging from tuna filled peaches to fried chicken.  The Mister worked really hard pulling this together and it was a huge success!  He even compiled a video from old mission pictures that members had provided.  There was a great turnout and all who came had an enjoyable time!  

While I didn't have an exotic mission dish to share, I did whip up some sweet Southern dessert.  Growing up, a potluck dinner wasn't complete without at least one dish of Banana Puddin'.  It's such a simple dish to make, but the results are to die for!

Banana Puddin'

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups cold milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
4 ripe bananas, sliced (ones that are just starting to get brown spots on peel are best)
1/2 (12 ounce) package vanilla wafers

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in condensed milk, pudding mixes, cold milk, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in 1/2 of the whipped topping.  Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch dish with vanilla wafers. Arrange sliced bananas evenly over wafers.  (This is a great job for the kiddos.)

Spread pudding mixture over bananas. Top with remaining whipped topping. Chill until ready to serve.

It is so sweet, but oh so good.

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My

We went to a circus themed birthday party for a little friend that turned one yesterday.  There were cute dress-ups, popcorn, candy, hotdogs, a bean bag toss... the works.  But no circus would be complete without an animal or two!  Let me preface this by saying that I in no way, shape, or form like snakes.  I loath the suckers, but if Little Miss M wants to touch them, more power to her!

 Baby P even tried to get in on the action for a minute.

It gives me the willies just thinking about it!  All in all the girls had a great time, but by the end Baby P was pretty tuckered out. 

Isn't she just the cutest little thumb sucker you've ever seen?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

You Are What You Eat

Little Miss M is obsessed with shrimp.  It is her all time favorite food to eat.  She has been well on her way to finishing a tray or two of the little creatures before I could stop her.  She would seriously eat the whole tray if I let her.  Every single time we pass the seafood section in the grocery store, she freaks out about the shrimp.  She's just short of getting on her hands and knees begging me in the middle of the aisle to buy them.  Last night I finally broke down and bought a 1/2 pound for her.  I would have gotten more, but the Mister isn't too big on the whole seafood thing.  Little Miss M was dying to shell the shrimp when we got home, and I was more than happy to oblige.  Less dirty work for me!  

While Little Miss M was busy shelling the shrimp, I preheated the oven to 425 F and melted half a stick of butter in a glass baking dish.  Once the butter was melted, I sliced a lemon and placed on top of butter in dish.  Once the shrimp were shelled and rinsed, Little Miss M placed them on top of the lemon slices in the dish.  We then sprinkled a couple of tablespoons of Italian seasoning (recipe at bottom) on top of the shrimp and placed in the oven to cook for about 15 minutes.

While the shrimp was cooking, I had Little Miss M cut the ends off of a bunch of asparagus and spread it out on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.  We drizzled some olive oil over the asparagus, squeezed a bit of lemon juice on top, and added salt and pepper.  Little Miss M then rolled the asparagus back and forth to distribute the olive oil and lemon juice more evenly.  When the shrimp had about 7 minutes left to cook, I put the asparagus in so that they'd be done around the same time.  You have to be careful when cooking asparagus not to cook it too long or it becomes mushy.  It should still have a bit of crunch to it when done.

Little Miss M was so excited she could hardly contain herself when I pulled the shrimp out of the oven.  To her credit, it did look and smell pretty darn good.

I have never seen a child eat something so fast in my life!  She probably would have had thirds and fourths if I'd made enough.  Maybe next time we'll get a pound!

Italian Seasoning

3 tablespoons dried basil
3 tablespoons dried oregano
3 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Mix well and store in airtight container.

I Scream You Scream

Ever had one of those days where you think you're losing your mind?  Yesterday would be one of those for me!  I lost my debit card while out running errands, but didn't realize it until after I had picked up Little Miss M from school and driven across town.  And the crazy begins.  I frantically searched and re-searched my wallet, the car, the diaper bag, my pockets... nothing.  I then drove (plowed would be a better description) all the way back across town to the gas station where I had last used the card to see if anyone had found it and turned it in.  It should be pointed out that when I was leaving said gas station earlier, I left the gas cap off and had to stop the car to put it back on.  I thought maybe the card was on my lap when I got out and fell in the parking lot.  While I searched the parking lot, I sent Little Miss M in to see if it had been turned in.  Just as I was on the brink of insanity, I found the card wedged into the back of the driver's seat.  Complete meltdown successfully avoided!  In an attempt to convince Little Miss M that her mom isn't a complete nut bar, we stopped off for some icecream on the way home.

You know what they say... An icecream a day keeps the crazies away.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Run! Walking Not Allowed

To all of my Target, bargain, shoe loving friends, run to the nearest Target as fast as you can!!

Guess how much these puppies were!

They had other colors ranging any where in price from $6.98 to $9.00, but $3.88 is unheard of!  They also have little people sizes.  I grabbed a neon yellow and a turquoise pair for Little Miss M for $6.98 a pop.  Can't pass up a deal like that when Little Miss M goes through shoes as quick as she does!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Serve Warm

While the Mister's away, the girls will play.  Or cook.  While the Mister was out and about last night, Little Miss M and I got to cooking crepes in the kitchen.  They are super easy and quick to make, not to mention delicious to eat!  This is a friend from England's family recipe, so it's the real deal!  Who knew they could be so simple?!


1 egg
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cups milk

Place ingredients in blender or food processor and mix well.  Heat non-stick pan to medium to medium high heat.  Depending on what size you would like your crepes to be, pour 1/8 to 1/4 cup of batter onto un-greased pan, tilting pan with a circular motion so that batter has covered pan evenly.  Cook on each side just until set and barely starting to lightly brown.  Serve warm.  We like to fill ours with nutella and drizzle the tops with caramel and white chocolate.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Free For All

Who needs a birthday when you can have a birthmonth?!  I love coupons and I love free stuff.  Hence, I love birthday clubs.  I've signed up for who knows how many of those things, and it pays off when April comes around every year!  With that said, some birthday clubs are better than others.  A few of my favorites are Jason's Deli, Tucanos, Rubio's, and Noodles & Company.  Tucanos sends you a coupon for a free churrasco (buffet) with the purchase of a churrasco.  Jason's Deli gives you a $5 gift certificate good towards any purchase.  (I usually get a dessert with that one!)  Rubio's gives you a free meal, no purchase necessary.  Noodles gives you a free bowl of noodles, no purchase necessary for that one either.  I used the Noodles one today for Pesto Cavatappi with Parmesan Crusted Chicken.

Mmmmm.  It's amazing.  I highly recommend it if you've never tried it before.  Even the leftovers tonight were good!!  I think it tasted even better knowing it was free!  So you can see why I enjoy the month of April!  Birthday celebrations all month long!   

After taking the Mister's Sister to the airport yesterday, Baby P and I took a trip to the City Creek Center for a bit of happy birthday me shopping.  This shopping experience is brought to you courtesy of the Mister and the Baby Sister.  Words cannot describe my excitement when I opened a card from the Baby Sister last week with a gift card to H&M enclosed.  She knows me well!!  I was able to combine my gift card with a 20% off coupon to score a couple of great pieces!!  Thank you to the Baby Sister!!  I can't wait to wear them!!

For some strange reason, the Mister has this crazy idea that I'm hard to shop for, so he usually gives me money and lets me do the shopping for myself.  Not a bad arrangement if you ask me!  J.Crew is taking an extra 30% off of all of their sale items right now, so I picked up this fabulous pair of ballet flats that were originally $128 for $50 after the sale and additional % off.   My thanks to the Mister!!


To top it off, I stopped off at Rubio's on my way home and enjoyed my free birthday meal!  Thank you birthday clubs!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Pound

Growing up we went to the farmers market in town every Saturday.  There was a lady there that sold the most amazing pound cake ever.  We didn't get it very often, but when we did, boy was it divine.  If we were extra lucky, we'd stop at Winn-Dixie on the way home and pick up potato wedges from the deli.  Talk about the high life!!  Back to the pound cake, twenty years later, I still think about the stuff.  Store bought just doesn't cut it.  I think I came pretty close to finding the real deal tonight.  The recipe is reportedly Elvis Presley's favorite pound cake.  Mine too Elvis, mine too.  I think it's safe to say we can add the Mister and the Mister's Sister to the list as well!

Elvis Presley's Favorite Pound Cake

3 cups sugar 
1/2 lb butter, softened 
7 eggs, room temperature 
3 cups cake flour, sifted twice 
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Butter and flour a 10 inch tube or bundt pan.  Thoroughly cream together sugar and butter.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Mix in half the flour, then the whipping cream, then the other half of the flour.  Add Vanilla.  Pour into prepared pan.  Set in COLD oven and turn heat to 350ºF.  Bake 1 hour to 70 minutes, until a sharp knife inserted in cake turns out clean.  Cool in pan 5 minutes.

Remove from pan and cool thoroughly.


Recipe courtesy of

Mr. Postman

To the Mister's great annoyance, I'm obsessed with checking the mail.  I don't care if we get home at 2:00 in the morning, I have to check the mail.  Sometimes I'm expecting things, sometimes I'm not.  Maybe it's the anticipation of the possibility of having something addressed to me that makes me so obsessed.  Who knows.  I just am.  With that said, you can imagine my delight when this box came addressed to me!

What is ShoeMint? you may ask.  Only one of the most genius ideas ever.  It's an online members-only shoe shop.  You create a style profile with a fun little quiz, then receive access to monthly showrooms of exclusive designs of shoes hand-picked just for you.  You can either order the pairs you want or skip the month for free.  And you get free shipping both ways which is huge for me.  I refuse to pay shipping.  So what was in the box?  Meet my new favorite shoes.

The Bridget Sandal complete with leopard print!  Aren't they beautiful?!   Happy Birthday to me!