Potty Training Baby Bandits

A couple of days ago, my husband let me sleep in one morning. Glorious right? Mmm…not so much… as shortly after I woke, I discovered this cute little game my boys like to play (when daddy’s not paying attention) called:

“How Much Random Shit From Around the House Can We Fit Into the Toilet?”

(And let me just stop you all right there. Yes, I baby-proof EVERYTHING. No, it does not work…those little terds get into everything that has a lock on it.) But, to answer the question of this game, the following list is apparently what you can fit in a toilet, (just in case you are curious):

1. A roll of toilet paper
2. A bottle of lotion
3. A Yankee candle
4. A miniature soccer ball
5. A bookend
6. A serving spoon
7. A small/table-top decorative topiary
8. A toy train
9. 2 bananas
10. A flip flop
11. And a box of tissues

…I will never sleep in again. Thank God for bleach & Lysol.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake. It’s 2 layers. The bottom is golden vanilla that was topped with cream cheese/crushed pineapple icing and then topped with the actual pineapple upside down cake. The sides are coated with the same cream cheese/crushed pineapple icing and finished with finely shredded organic coconut. This is not the kind of cake I typically do. And I can say for the first time in a long time, I was nervous. BUT, I got nothin’ but high praise on this big guy. (Whoop! Whoop!)

Here’s the recipe link:

http://www.averiecooks.com/2014/03/the-best-pineapple-upside-down-cake.html

Now, a couple of notes I will make are that, 1) You’ll want to line your pan with parchment paper or wax paper, 2) be sure to grease the pan with sweet cream stick butter and an even coat of brown sugar. After that, the recipe link picks up from this point…

Enjoy!!

The “Itchy Bitchy Spider”

Just now my 4yo sang “the itchy bitchy spider…” Apparently he knows a much different version than me…I fell on the floor with laughter, which in turn made him sing it louder and louder….(And no, we do not curse around the boys. This was just him being goofy while singing the song and had no idea what he was saying.) Hilariousness. Haha!

3 Weeks? Whoa…Time Flies!?!

I can’t believe it’s been nearly three weeks since I’ve posted. I have had several cakes in the last few weeks but otherwise have been kept generally busy essentially doing nothing but tid bits here and there… It seems that with the change of weather follows a flurry of activities, like there’s electricity in the air whirling around with the falling leaves. Now that some of that flurry has settled for me, I owe you all some recipies!! Back to work with me! Chop! Chop! 🙂

Chili with Butternut Squash and Cornbread

Chili with Butternut Squash

I am so excited about soup weather!

For the chili you will need:

1 1/2 lbs of hamburger

1 can of kidney beans

1 can of black beans

1 can of Rotel (if you like spicy chili, get the hot, but usually I stick with the mild to keep everyone happy)

1 can of diced stewed tomatoes

1 small can of yellow corn

1 small diced onion

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1 medium garlic clove, sliced

2-3 cups of water or beef broth

1 Tbsp of salt

1 Tbsp of pepper

2 Tbsp of chili powder

2 Tbsp of ground cumin

1 tsp of powdered garlic

 

For the cornbread you will need:

1 box of Jiffy Cornbread Muffin Mix

1 egg

1/3 c. of milk

You’ll need to start the cornbread as soon as you cover the chili to boil. I’ve made a note about this in my below instructions.

 

For the butternut squash, all you need is the squash. See below for butternut squash instructions. If you want to include the squash with the chili then you’ll need to turn the oven on and get the squash in before you start the chili as it can cook while you’re preparing the chili.)

Chili:

In a large pasta pot, place your hamburger in and with a wooden spoon work the meat down into the pan, breaking it up into bite sized chunks as you go. Once it’s mostly browned, drain it with a colander. Let the hamburger sit for a moment in the colander. Return your hot pot to the stove-top. The hamburger meat should have left enough grease behind to sauté the onions, peppers and garlic, so, add all of those to the pot now. Should take about 5 minutes or less for browning. Once browned, add your canned items and hamburger meat. Mix well with your wooden spoon. Add 2-3 cups of water. (Sometimes I use beef broth for a richer flavor.) Then add your seasonings. Mix well again. Cover. Let it  sit on a medium boil for about 20 minutes. (This is a good time to start your cornbread. See below instructions.) When you take the lid off, be sure to give a few good stirs so as to relieve some of the heat from the center of the soup. This would be a good time to taste test. If you feel like it needs a richer flavor you can add a little more cumin or garlic powder. Wait 10 minutes before serving. I usually serve with sour cream and shredded cheddar and tortilla chips.

As another little side note here, I really like thick soups. To accomplish this I usually use 2 Tbsp cornstarch and mix it with 4 Tbsp of water in a cup. When the soup has reached a full boil, add the cornstarch little by little, stirring constantly as you pour. Add as much as you need to reach the desired consistency. Or, if you don’t have cornstarch, regular old all-purpose flour will do just fine.

Butternut squash:

Super easy to do. Heat your oven to 400. On a baking sheet (that has a lip all the way around) wrap it in aluminum foil. Pour about 3/4 c. of water on the foil. Cut the butternut squash in half. Place meat side down on the water/foil. Let it bake for approximately 30-45 minutes. (The sticker label on the squash should give you more specific bake-time instructions, but the basic rule to baking a winter squash is to press down on it using a spoon. If its tender and gives, then its done.) Once it’s done baking, the skin should peel right off and you’ll dice it into bite-size chunks, add to the top of your chili and cover in the other toppings of your choice (sour cream, cheese, etc.)

In my opinion, winter squash, generally does not need anything extra. Most folks add butter or sugar, etc. But these are veggies that have great flavor all on their own. I usually eat them without other flavoring. Yum!

Cornbread:

I use the cheap little box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. Costs around $1.00 at Walmart. Follow the instructions on the label.

Jiffy Corn Muffin Instructions

The only thing I do differently is I make a cornbread loaf. I have a 9×9 in. pan that I grease with Crisco. And to be clear I use Crisco shortening. Always have. I grew up on this shit. 🙂 None of that cooking-spray horse crap for me! 🙂 “Makes you grow hair on your chest” as my Great Aunt Ginny used to say. Haha! And please know it rarely takes 15-20 minutes to bake this. Maybe 12 tops, but I always check the loaf around 8 minutes just in case the oven was running a little hot.

Crisco Shortening

Once the loaf is done. Let it cool for about 3 minutes, then, using a basting brush, brush some butter on the top of it. Generously. Folks will “Oooo” and “Awe” over how moist it is.

The total cook time on all this is no more than an hour, especially if you’re overlapping the cook time the different elements. (Meaning you’re baking the squash and the cornbread at the same time as your chili is going.)