Monday, November 24, 2008

Best Birthday Cake...EVER

I want to start off my saying this is the best birthday cake...ever. Hands down. Seriously. Ever. And I have to give my mom-in-law all the credit. She makes me this cake every year for my birthday and it never, ever gets old. It might even get yummier. Anyway, my dad's birthday is the 25th, but we won't be home then. So, I thought we'd just celebrate while they were visiting. After going out for dinner and a movie, we came back for cake and presents. Everything was great. Dinner was awesome. The movie was hysterical. And the cake got rave reviews. If you want to try it for yourself, grab a box of chocolate cake mix (I used Devil's Food). Bake the cake according to directions on the box. After it's cooled, poke holes in the top of the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon or something of the like (I used the wide end of a chopstick). Heat a jar of hot fudge in the microwave and pour over the holes in the cake. Cool and frost (I used chocolate buttercream). Top with chocolate curls, if desired. Can you tell that I'm a pretty big fan of chocolate? The more, the better, I always say!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Early Thanksgiving

My family (Mom, Dad and one of my sisters) is visiting for a long weekend and I could not be any more excited about it. Since we're spending Thanksgiving with my hub's family this year, I thought it'd be fun if they came for an early Thanksgiving at our apartment. And I'm proud to say that there weren't any major mishaps. I even had my hub on standby in case I needed him to run to the store to pick up a rotisserie chicken as a turkey replacement. But, there was no need. Everything turned out great. Here are a few recipes. Apologies for the picture quality. I just quickly snapped a few shots before everyone sat down to eat.

Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Turkey
*I altered this recipe a little bit. So, these are my directions.
5 slices of bacon
1 3-pound boneless turkey breast
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
1 (10.5 oz.) can turkey gravy
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried sage
Directions: Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Place turkey in the slow cooker. Season with garlic pepper. In a bowl, mix the gravy, flour, Worcestershire sauce and sage. Pour over turkey in the slow cooker. Top with sliced bacon. Cover slow cooker and cook turkey on the Low setting for 8 hours. 
* *I know that the picture doesn't make it look all that appetizing, but it was super moist and had a great flavor all around.

Green Bean Casserole
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
2 (14.5 oz.) cans green beans, drained
1 1/3 cups French-fried onions
Ground black pepper, to taste
Directions: In a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish, mix soup, milk and pepper. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup French-fried onions. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through, stir. Top with remaining 2/3 cup of French-fried onions. Bake 5 minutes more until the onions are golden.

Courtesy of my Aunt Jan
3 cans whole kernel corn (not the "crisp" kind) drained well
2 cans creamed corn
1 stick of butter or margarine, melted
1 box Jiffy cornmeal
2 eggs, beaten
Cheese Whiz
Directions: Mix everything except the Cheese Whiz in a large mixing bowl before pouring into a 9x13 dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. The edges should be a golden brown and the edges should be slightly pulled away from the corners of the pan. Top with Cheese Whiz. If needed, return the dish to the oven to allow the cheese to melt.

Spinach Dip
Courtesy of my Momma
1 (16 oz.) tub of sour cream
1 package dry ranch dressing
1/2 cup mayo
Mix well and then add 1 can water chestnuts (diced); 1 small package dried beef (lunchmeat); 1 packaged thawed, frozen spinach (squeezed of excess liquid); 2 to 3 green onions (chopped) or 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped regular onion. Mix well and refrigerate overnight.

In addition to the above recipes, we had mashed potatoes & gravy, stuffing, salad, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce, rolls and pumpkin & cherry pie. Yum. And waaay more than enough for 5 people...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Facial Scrub

A while back, I read that baking soda makes a great exfoliant. Basically, you just mix baking soda with some water until you have a paste of sorts. Since I ran out of my facial scrub a number of weeks ago, I was starting to get desperate. So, I made the baking soda scrub that I had read about. And, guess what? It works! My skin has gotten smoother after every use. It does, however, dry your skin out. But, a good moisturizer takes care of that. And a 79-cent box of baking soda sure beats a $15 tube of facial scrub. Now, you may notice from the photo that the water and baking soda separate a little bit if you make up a mix in a bottle. Just shake it up before using and you're good to go.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

Now, I must give a bit of a disclaimer with regards to this recipe... It's horribly bad for you. It's terrible. It's so unhealthy...and yet, it tastes sooooo good. So, if you're up for throwing caution to the wind, give this one a shot. It really is as quick and easy as the title implies.

Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce
1/2 cup butter
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 cups milk
6 oz. Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions: Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan and pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta and serve.
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