Pride and Breakfast

Pride and Breakfast - Confidence in the kitchen is great but over-confidence? Well... I've learned that Pride does not belong in any recipe! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

I sat on the side of my bed seriously contemplating whether I should crawl back under the covers. Then, I remembered –

Oooh, my favorite coffee creamer is waiting for me!

You see, I went to the grocery store last week and my favorite flavor was no where to be found.  With great disappointment, I grabbed a caramel coffee creamer, finished my shopping and went home.

It wasn’t until I was putting away the groceries at home that I discovered my egregious mistake. Instead of caramel, I had picked up Maple.

Maple! In my coffee?!? Ugh! That sounded almost as bad as Pumpkin Spice!

But today, sitting in my fridge was a glorious 32 oz. bottle of Peppermint Mocha coffee creamer. What a wonderful incentive to get out of bed! (I know. My life is sad. 😉 )

Oh, but the good vibrations didn’t stop there. The joy of drinking a warm cup of peppermint mocha flavored coffee after a week of suffering through the second worst coffee creamer in existence inspired me.

I’m going to cook breakfast!

Nope. I didn’t stop to enjoy a full cup of my delicious coffee. I didn’t wait for the morning brain fog to lift. I set out to cook a breakfast casserole. “This’ll be a cinch!” I thought. I’d made it tons of times before (using parts of the Fully Loaded Cheesy Breakfast Casserole recipe over at “The Slow Roasted Italian” and parts of the Baked Western Omelet recipe over at “The Seasoned Mom”) and it’s basically fool-proof.

… … …

… … Hang on…

… … … Give me just a minute…

I’m trying to stop laughing so I can finish this post!

Fool-proof! Hahahahahahaha…

Okay. I’m good now.

While gathering the ingredients for my breakfast casserole, I began to think of my victories in the kitchen this past week.

First, there was my cooking flexibility I discovered while making Sweet Corn Pie.

Then, there was the moment my husband declared that I could possibly have outdone him in the kitchen with my Chicken and Dirty Rice. (I’ll have to share that story with you on another occasion.)

And lastly, there was my brilliant idea to use hamburger buns for garlic toast to accompany our spaghetti one evening and then to use the leftover hamburger buns/garlic toast as buns for our sloppy joes the next evening.  After which, I proudly proclaimed myself “Queen of the Kitchen”.

Then from the deepest depths of my soul (or maybe the bottom of my coffee cup – I’m not really sure) came an idea born of my ever-growing pride.

I think I’ll try something new.

I decided to use crescent rolls as a crust. I had seen a recipe somewhere but didn’t want to spend the time searching for it. Phhhht. I don’t need a recipe!

Apparently, I did.

Maybe it was the brain fog. Maybe it was not enough coffee. Maybe it was karma biting me in the crescent rolls but my breakfast did not turn out anything like I had hoped.

Pride and Breakfast - Confidence in the kitchen is great but over-confidence? Well... I've learned that Pride does not belong in any recipe! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

After 30 minutes of the required baking time, I opened the oven to find that the crust was on the verge of burning but the casserole was not completely cooked. And there were these scary looking pustules growing on the top that reminded me of those horrible videos all over the web of –

Wait. This is a food post. You don’t want that image in your head. It’s bad enough that I had it in my head!

Anyway, I had to cook the casserole about 15 minutes longer and by the time I took it out of the oven, well, let’s just say the crust was mighty, mighty dark and mighty, mighty crispy.

Yeah. I was bummed. Almost as bad as when I discovered my coffee creamer mistake!

Pride and Breakfast - Confidence in the kitchen is great but over-confidence? Well... I've learned that Pride does not belong in any recipe! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Perhaps, if I hadn’t been wearing that prideful “Queen of the Kitchen” crown…

Perhaps, if I had taken the time to look up an appropriate recipe…

Perhaps, if I had remembered I’m still a novice in this whole culinary world, the casserole would have turned out a little better.

Perhaps.

But that’s pride for ya. It puffs you up then leaves you hanging in the middle of a dart board while daring someone to hit the bullseye!

Well, the casserole wasn’t too horrible. In fact, after a few bites, my husband said, “You know, I like it crispy like this.”

I smiled sheepishly…

… then slowly straitened my crown! 😉

**Full disclosure. I finally realized that my husband had no idea there was actually a crust on the casserole. He thought I had overcooked it and was trying to make me feel better about my mistake! Nice move, hubby of mine. Nice move. **

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Sweet Corn Pie: A Lesson on Flexibility

Sweet Corn Pie: A Lesson on Flexibility - Do you find yourself struggling with the ever-changing circumstances of life? You may want to take a peak at the lessons I learned from attempting to cook this Yummy recipe. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Yum! Yum! There’s simply no other way to describe this Sweet Corn Pie.

Did you hear those words?

Sweet. Corn. Pie.

Uh. Yes, please!

Ever since I began broadening my cooking horizons, I’ve been scrolling through Pinterest looking for recipes that my family and I might enjoy. But rarely do I veer off the “Cooking for Dummies” beaten path. The recipes I attempt must be simple and require ingredients that I already have in my fridge or pantry. Most importantly, though, the recipes cannot contain “google” ingredients. You know the ones. Those strange ingredients you’ve never heard of so you’re forced to either call your mom or perform yet another google search that begins with, “What the heck is a…”

Let’s face it. If I have to google an ingredient, there’s a pretty good chance it’s not in my kitchen and an even greater chance I’m not going to try the recipe.

Fortunately for me, the recipe for this Sweet Corn Pie (There are those delicious words again!) was simple and straightforward. No google required. (You can find the recipe over at Natural Comfort Kitchen.)

I must say that my Sweet Corn Pie turned out perfectly. Well, almost…

You see, I didn’t have Panko crumbs so I substituted crushed Ritz crackers. And I didn’t have quite enough crackers but thought I’d get away with it because who besides me was gonna know how crumbly the pie topping was supposed to be?

I also didn’t have white pepper so I substituted black pepper. And I really should have googled the difference between the two. If I had, I would have known that my substitution of black pepper should have been in a smaller quantity because white pepper has a much milder flavor.

I didn’t have garlic cloves so I used minced.

I didn’t have kosher or sea salt so I used good ol’ table salt.

I didn’t have frozen or fresh corn so I used canned.

And lastly, I didn’t have a round pie plate so I used a rectangular casserole dish instead.

Now, you might be thinking the shape of the dish doesn’t make any difference. Au contraire, my friend. My grandmother and my great aunt prepared the same cornbread recipe all of their lives. The only difference was the shape of the pan they each used and my dad swore that my aunt’s cornbread in a round pan was much better than my grandmother’s cornbread in a square pan! Apparently, the shape of the dish is vital! Sadly, I don’t own a round pie plate. Why would I? I don’t bake pies. (Except for shepherd’s but that’s not really pie, now is it. 😉 )

So it seems my culinary masterpiece was not perfect at all. I improvised all the way through the recipe. But amazingly, the dish was wonderful. Three out of four in my household agree!

As I was eating my slice of sweet corn deliciousness and marveling at how flexible my cooking skills have become, I began to think (“A dangerous pastime – I know!”).

Wouldn’t it be nice if I was just as flexible in other areas of my life? Wouldn’t it be nice if we all were?Sweet Corn Pie: A Lesson on Flexibility - Do you find yourself struggling with the ever-changing circumstances of life? You may want to take a peak at the lessons I learned from attempting to cook this Yummy recipe. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.comInstead of whining and complaining when we don’t have everything we want or even need, what if we learned to appreciate and make the best of all we do have?

Instead of counting people out or trying to make others fit our mold, what if we learned to appreciate the uniqueness of those around us?

Instead of insisting on a round pie plate way of doing things, what if we listened to the ideas of others, tried something new and acknowledged that a square pan might be just as good as a round one?

Hmm. That’s a whole lotta “What ifs” in one slice of Sweet Corn Pie! Oops – I mean chunk of Sweet Corn Pie – er – uh – maybe it’s Sweet Corn Casserole…

… ‘Cause everyone knows it can’t be pie unless it’s baked in a round pie plate! 😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 348: The SMILES of Christmas

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Christmas SMILE #14 (Reason to SMILE #348) THE COOKIES AND CANDIES

Reasons why we all make the resolution to loose weight every new year:

Sugar cookies shaped like Christmas Trees, Reindeer, Candy Canes, bells and Santa

Chocolate Chip Cookies made from the Nestle Tollhouse recipe on the bag

Gingerbread men (I don’t care for gingerbread but the cookie makes me SMILE so…)

Peanut butter and Hershey’s Kisses cookies

Pecan Crescent Cookies

Shortbread cookies

Divinity

Candy Canes

Peanut butter balls (or Buckeyes)

Chocolate covered cherries

White Chocolate Peppermint Trufflesshortbread cookies

Boy, oh boy! I’m gaining weight just thinking about all these delicious Christmas treat. (Actually, I’m probably gaining weight from eating this tin of shortbread cookies while I’m writing but why would I admit that? 😉 )

There are so many treats to choose from at Christmas and everyone has their own special sweets that they look forward to making or eating during the Christmas season. For me, it’s two things: peanut butter cookies and strawberry candies. I don’t make either! But my mom does and they are my favorites of all her wonderfully delectable creations.

Now, first things first. Peanut butter cookies. Unless they have the criss-cross on the top, they are not worth eating. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? After the cookie dough is prepared, it’s rolled into a ball and placed on a cookie sheet. Then, the back of a fork is pressed down onto the ball and then again in another direction to make a criss-cross pattern on the top of the cookie. Kind of like a culinary hashtag!

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Sorry folks but if the cookies don’t have the criss-cross, they’re not real peanut butter cookies. 😉

The other of my two favorite Christmas treats is Strawberry Candies. This is a sweetly delicious soft candy made with strawberry flavored gelatin, sweetened condensed milk, pecans, coconut and a few other ingredients you can find in the recipe below. They are addictive. I don’t have a picture of my own for you because, well, I’ve never thought to snap a picture of my mom’s strawberry candies at Christmas. I’ve only thought to eat them! Here’s a picture courtesy of a blog called, “Urban Drivel”:

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Don’t they look scrumptious! They’re easy to make and if you love strawberries, this is a candy you definitely want to try.

Ingredients:

3 packages strawberry gelatin
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients.
Mix in condensed milk and vanilla.
Cover and chill for at least one hour.
Shape into berries using about a teaspoon each.
Roll in red sugar.
Dip top of berry in green sugar to create the leaf.

That’s it! I hope these strawberry candies make you SMILE as much as they do me. And if they don’t, feel free to send any unwanted candies my way. 😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 325: Thanksgiving Countdown

Reason to SMILE and BE THANKFUL #325: THE AFTERNOON COMA

Plates have been emptied.

Bellies have been filled.

Belts have been loosened.

The afternoon food coma has begun.

As the miserable groans of overeater’s remorse begin to replace conversation, there’s nothing left to do but retreat to the living room and kick back in the recliner or relax on the couch. As a collective, my family doesn’t care much for “the game” (Unless it’s golf, which I don’t understand at all.) so our afternoon recuperation usually involves watching a movie. Let me clarify – a movie suitable for kids.

Yep. All of us from grandparents down to the kiddos sit together and watch the latest children’s movie. It’s fun to see who laughs the most, who makes it through to the end, who falls asleep and who bails on the family time first by pulling out their technology. I would name names but I do have to spend the entire day with these folks tomorrow so…

The afternoon food coma – it’s a SMILE that begins with the blissful agony of being stuffed to the gills, continues with a restful time of movies and relaxation and always ends with,

“Okay. Who’s ready for pie?”

My belt has no more notches (Heck, I’m not even wearing it anymore.) and my eyes are swimming in gravy but “Me, me, me! I’ll have a piece of pie!”

Adobe Spark (41)

And the SMILE of the Thanksgiving afternoon food coma keeps on giving. 😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 322: Thanksgiving Countdown

Reason to SMILE and BE THANKFUL #322: PUMPKIN PIE

The only food God intended to be made from pumpkins!

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Just knowing it will be cooling on my mom’s kitchen counter when I arrive at her house on Thanksgiving Day is enough to bring a SMILE to my face.

Mmm. Mmm. Good!

A Year of Smiles – Day 321: Thanksgiving Countdown

Reason to SMILE and BE THANKFUL #321: THE MENU

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In my family, traditions are sacred. Maybe that’s just part of being a family. We all have our own ways of celebrating the holidays and as we get older and have families of our own, we like to continue those traditions that we hold near and dear. And God forbid we stray from those traditions! You think I’m kidding?

One year, a chunk of my family decided to go to the mountains for Thanksgiving. Those of us who couldn’t afford the trip were left to celebrate on our own. I’ve never felt so abandoned in all of my life! 😉 What in the world was I supposed to do without my family on Thanksgiving! My crew ended up at Cracker Barrel eating with a restaurant full of strangers at a table not nearly big enough to hold our food and no one to share our family stories with. It was sad. I was sad. It was not a Happy Thanksgiving. I do have to admit the food was pretty good (Nothing like mom’s, though!) but I absolutely hated not being able to celebrate Thanksgiving the way it was supposed to be celebrated!

Okay. Maybe I should rephrase my earlier statement. I forbid we stray from traditions. I really like them! 🙂

When it comes to the Thanksgiving menu, it’s no different. The traditional American Thanksgiving meal will do just fine. Turkey, dressing, giblet gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce (I could actually do without the cranberry sauce!), rolls and pecan and pumpkin pies complete the Thanksgiving spread. There are usually a few other dishes depending on what mood some of us are in but for the most part, the meal is quite typical – as it should be. 😉

And every year, the responsibility to prepare each dish is doled out to different family members. Mom takes the big stuff and the rest of us take the side dishes. For the longest time, I was responsible for the rolls and the drinks – nothing that had to be cooked. (If you’ve read any of my posts on cooking, you’d completely understand the wisdom of this choice.) In recent years, however, I’ve been upgraded to the green bean casserole. The added responsibility had nothing to do with improvement in my cooking skills. It was only given to me because my sister, who usually prepared that dish, moved away. (My family has such faith in me! 😉 ) After ten years, I can proudly say that I am now a master at preparing green bean casserole. I can almost make it without looking at the recipe! Hahahaha!

Well, I don’t know about you but our Thanksgiving menu always makes me SMILE. I look forward to the sights, the smells, the tastes and the feeling of misery after stuffing my face with way too much food. Oh, hurry up, Thanksgiving! I can hardly wait!

 

 

THANKSGIVING COUNTDOWN

Adobe SparkThanksgiving is only 2 days away. I can’t wait for that delicious turkey and dressing! My mouth is watering just thinking about it! (Unh – I need to go find some food! 😉 )

I really do love this holiday so I thought I’d take a cue from my friend over at Brandi’s World and begin a countdown to Thanksgiving. Oh, but I only have three days (including today). That’s not much of a countdown, is it?

Wait!

I’m five days behind on my SMILES. That means I have eight SMILES available to include in a Thanksgiving countdown. I can cram eight SMILES in three days.

Really, I can!

So get ready for a Thanksgiving Countdown – A Couple of Stars and a Happy Face style.

A Year of Smiles – Day 314

Reason to SMILE #314: HOT SOUP ON A CHILLY DAYsoup

I can make soup!! This was my first attempt at homemade soup and I am proud of myself. Yes, yes. You read that correctly. Usually I open a can. Don’t judge me! Campbell’s soups are “Mmm-mmm-good.” (Haha! Remember that jingle?)

Anyway, I gotta tell ya, folks, this soup was pretty darn scrumptious. So much better than canned soups!!

I found the recipe for this Cheeseburger Soup on Pinterest. (You can check it out here.) I didn’t add every ingredient (like the celery – my family is not a fan) and half way through, I realized I needed to double the recipe in order to end up with enough soup for everyone but I actually pulled it off! In fact, I think I now understand exactly how God felt during creation. I chopped, diced, browned, boiled, sauteed, mixed and stirred for almost two hours (Yes, yes. It takes me forever to cook anything!). Then when it was finally ready, I looked at – and tasted! – my culinary creation and said, “THIS. IS. GOOD.”

And four out of five family members agree! That’s worth a great big SMILE as far as I’m concerned. (My younger kid doesn’t like anything so I’m claiming this one as a win! 😉 )

Hot and yummy homemade soup on a chilly Fall evening – we’re all going to bed with full bellies and warm SMILES.