Tuesday, April 26, 2011

As day two of mission "ground the Commander" continues, my little criminal sits coloring and listening to audio books while baby boss plays in his baby gym. So, I thought I'd take this opportunity to blog about a few things.

1.  On Easter Sunday I used a few of the recipes you recently submitted to feed my family, my sister and brother in-law and their three kids, and my mother and father in-law. Many of you submitted great quick and easy dinners that I will be trying out this week and next (So, more to come). 

Anyway, I made pork chops in a crock pot (I did a horrible job! They were dry and I didn't like them, but everyone else seemed to be content eating them. Definitely sticking to good old ham next year!). 

-I used three recipes submitted by Jucinda W. from Indiana (Jucinda and I ran track together in high school:) to go with my dry pork chops. A root beer glaze, mashed sweet potatoes, and her home made macaroni and cheese.  

-A penne spinach salad submitted by my momma. 

-A pecan lemon loaf/bread submitted by Lyndsay R. (Lyndsay and I went to high school together and her mom was my elementary school art teacher:) from Texas.

-And an Oreo cream cheese/cool whip dessert sent to me by Amy Jo M. (Amy Jo and I also went to high school together and she is so super funny) from Indiana. 

Here are the recipes as sent to me with a few notes/tips added by me. 


2 cups root beer
2 cups beef broth
5-6 big sweet potatoes
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)

Combine root beer and beef broth in a small sauce pan, let simmer about 50-60 mins til reduced to 1/4.
Peel and chop the sweet potatoes.  Boil until fork tender.  Drain, add molasses, brown sugar, cream and mash.  

(I tried to make extra root beer glaze and I think this prevented it from thickening as it should have, but it still tasted great. Also, I didn't have molasses so I just used cinnamon, brown sugar, and half and half for the mashed sweet potatoes). 


 8oz appx elbow noodles ( I used a whole box- 16 oz. and doubled the below ingredients.)
 2 Tbsp butter (real deal)
 2 Tbsp flour
 4 oz block of good cheddar, shredded
 1 1/2 cups of cream or milk (cream is better)
 salt to taste

Get the noodles boiling. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir. Keep stirring until the pasty flour and butter become liquidy, about 2 min.  

(My Sous chef:) The Commander stirred the creamy sauce mixture
continually, scraping the bottom so it didn't burn. He did this until it
 was pretty thick, at which point we added cheddar cheese.
Add cream, stirring occasionally on medium high heat.  If you haven't shredded the cheese yet, now's the time.  The creamy sauce should start to thicken when it starts to bubble.  Add the shredded cheese and stir till melted.
This is what the sauce looked like after stirring in the shredded cheddar. 
Salt to taste.  Noodles should be done about now, so drain and combine your cheese sauce with em and now you have homemade mac n cheese.
We added salt to taste after adding the noodles. 
I made this macaroni and cheese the night before Easter and made extra. I fed it to my kids for dinner that night as it was in the above picture. I then put the remaining mac n' cheese in a casserole dish and refrigerated over night. The next day I heated it in the oven for about 20 minutes, removed it, added a generous topping of cheddar cheese, and broiled it in the oven for about three minutes until the cheese was bubbling on top. It was delicious both fresh and the day after. Sassafras doesn't like mac n' cheese from the box, but she absolutely looooved this.


3 c. fresh spinach
3 c. cooked penne pasta
1 can mandarin oranges
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 pkg pre cooked chicken chunks (I use fajita flavor)
raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing (I use Brianna's brand)

toss all ingredients together. This will still be good as leftovers the next day, because the spinach won't wilt as much as lettuces.

(I didn't like the brand of dressing I used. I couldn't find it in the Brianna's brand. I think the dressing makes or breaks this salad so experiment. I also cooked my own chicken chunks.).


1/2 Cup butter
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided 
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1 Cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 tbsp grated lemon peel
1/4 lemon juice

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs; mix well.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt;  add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream.  Fold in pecans and lemon peel.
2. Transfer to a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan.  Bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
3. in a small saucepan, combine lemon juice and remaining sugar.  Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Pour over warm bread.  Cool completely on a wire rack before removing from pan.

• Walnuts can be substituted for Pecans

(This bread was seriously A-MAZ-ING! I recommend gently poking holes in the top of the loaf after it's baked and then add the glaze so that it will soak into the bread as it cools. Whatever you not use pre packaged lemon juice. Only the real stuff. And grease the pan generously). 


Box of Oreos or Oreo Cakesters
1 bar of cream chz
1 sm tub of cool whip
2 Tblspoons of Powdered Sugar
Cupcake Cups

Let the cream chz and cool whip soften. Blend the cream chz, whipped cream, and powdered sugar together.  Place Oreos in cupcake cups & dollop blend over top of Oreos. Place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving. I like to decorate mine with sprinkles of course but no need to if you don't have them.  The kids can even help with this simple recipe.

I added half an Oreo and Easter sprinkles to the top of each treat. My husband said he really liked the cream cheese flavor. The kids loved this dessert while the adults preferred the lemon loaf, but both were great!). 

Please feel free to email me at or comment below this post with any questions you may have.

On another note, look how beautiful this tree in our front yard is. It makes me happy just looking at it.  

And last, but not least, Sassafras felt bad that the Commander has been in so many pictures lately and she hasn't (She's often in school when I take pics). So, here is a picture of my sweet girl on one of our recent mommy daughter outings to Target (Anyone else obsessed with that place?). When we go to Target we chat about her life over ICEES. It's a little bit of heaven on Earth to listen to her sweet little voice. I love you Sassafras!!


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