Thursday, August 16, 2012

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Pepper Steak (Pix Included)

Hey all. As promised yesterday, here is the first of two Beef recipes I am making this week.


Slow-Cooker Pepper Steak

This recipe is a favorite in our home. It is my husband's favorite and it's really easy to make! Toss all of this in and cook for a few hours, serve over noodles or rice. It's perfect for a Sunday afternoon or a mid-week meal.

  I only made a half-recipe last night, so the photos will only show the half-recipe!

Here's How:

You Will Need:

- Large Crockpot
- 2 pounds beef sirloin, cut into 2 inch strips ( I used Cubed Steak meat this time)
- Minced Garlic to taste (or Garlic Powder)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cube beef bouillon
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 medium onions (chopped)
- 2 large green bell peppers, roughly chopped
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, with liquid
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or roughly 3 to 4 packets from your fave Chinese diner! LOL)
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt

To Make:

 1)Start by adding the veggie oil to a large frying pan on High Heat and add meat.

 2)Brown on all sides

3) Pour contents of the skillet into your Crockpot, juice and all. It gives it a great flavor!

4) In a bowl, or I just use a coffee mug, mix hot water and beef bouillon cube.  Add corn starch. Pour in Crockpot and give it a quick swirl in with the meat. This will help thicken the sauce a bit.

5) Chop your veggies

6) Add vegetables, stewed tomatoes, soy sauce, sugar, and salt to Crockpot and give it a quick mix.  

7) Cover Crockpot and put on low heat for 5-6 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.

Your kitchen will start to smell so yummy as it's cooking!

8) Once cooked, I always transfer mine to a different dish just so that it doesn't cook too much.

To assemble:

Place noodles/rice at bottom of the bowl

Then add your freshly made Pepper Steak!

Now it's time to enjoy this warming, delicious, and delightful meal!

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Life-Update & Puppy Pomodoro: A Skunk Adventure

Hey guys! It's been a crazy week! Last night ending with a closing-shift and Pup covered in tomatoes.

I've got two recipes for you this week. I'm starting one right now and marinating the next for tomorrow. (posts to follow)

I normally work around 55 hours a week, so a girl gets pretty tired... That being said, I called in sick today. I do not feel well! I know it's just pure exhaustion. So I took a "me" day to relax, as much as I could, lol. I'm still doing laundry and vacuuming, but I baked a delicious pumpkin dessert, and cooking today is pretty relaxing to me.

                           Puppy Pomodoro
 Last night as we were closing up shop at my Part-time job, I get a phone call. My husband, in a haste to get the words out fast enough and express the urgency of the situation, told me that Pup got a skunk shower.
Now, I have never had this happen, the first thing I asked was, "Is he okay?!"
My husband confirmed that Pup was fine, just a little upset by the fumes. (Thank goodness he is okay)
 "Where is he?"
My husband then tells me that he is inside in our bathroom... As you can imagine, I was a little upset. Fresh skunk spray in our house!
Taking control of the situation, I asked him to move Pup to the guest bathroom and that I would run to the store and grab some tomato juice/sauce/SOMETHING tomato-ey to rid Pup of the noxious fumes. Praying it would work.
( I grabbed 4 cans of tomato puree {they were on sale!})

 Now, as soon as I pulled up to the house, I smelled the yucky skunk funk... I came inside and then we slathered Pup down in all four cans of tomato puree, let it soak in for about 10 mins, then we washed him with a little bit of Dawn dish soap.

Verdict: Tomato puree works great for getting rid of skunk smell!!! Puppy smelled great! The house.. well... the house wasn't bad, we opened all the windows and turned up the fans. But the bedroom, whew! Couldn't sleep in there! Hahhaa! Hubbs and I had to sleep on the couch for the night.

This morning the bedroom and house are sans skunk smell.

I hope Pup  has learned to stay away from the skunks, but who knows. He saw squirrels this morning and was in full chase! Oh, the life of an innocent Pup!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Baking Review

Here's just a quick review of all the baking I've done since I've started this blog! I'm getting back into the swing of things and will have more posted soon! Happy Baking!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Peanut Butter Cheesecake!

Want a slice of delicious Peanut Butter Cheesecake?

Peanut Butter Cheesecake!

Crust: Peanut Butter Oreos
Filling: Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Topping: Peanut Buter Ganache and Reese's PB cups!

Want to make this?
Here's how!

For The Crust

  • 4 1/2 cups crushed Oreo cookies (I used regular Oreos & Peanut Butter Oreos)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

For The Filling

  • 2 lbs cream cheese, softened
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter (I used JIFF!)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 Reese's Peanut Butter cups, broken into small pieces (Miniture size PB cups cut into 1/4's **NOT THE TEENY TINY ones)

For The Topping

  • 16oz Reese's peanut butter baking chips
  • 1 cup heavy (or whipping) cream
  • The tiny Reese's cups


**  Please Note. Plan ahead--cheesecake needs to chill for at least 4 hours. (I let it sit overnight)

   To Make The Crust

1) Heat oven to 275 degrees F

2) Combine crushed Oreo cookies that have been crushed or ground up with a food processor. Then mix with the melted butter.

3) Pat the crust onto the bottom and the sides of a 10-inch springform pan.
4) Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes.

(While this is baking, chop up your PB cups to get them ready! )

5) Once crust is done with it's quick bake, set aside to cool a little and get ready to make the filling!

 To Make The Filling

1) In a large bowl, beat peanut butter, brown sugar, and cream together until smooth.

2) Beat cream cheese into bowl with electric mixer until smooth.

3) Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4) Mix in vanilla

5) Fold in Reese's PB cups with rubber spatula.

6) Pour filling into prepared crust.

7) Place springform pan into a larger baking pan.

8) Pour hot water into the larger pan so that the water comes up to about 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. 

9) Bake for 1-1/2 hours, sometimes it needs an extra 15mins! Just check starting around 1-1/2 hours.
You want the center to be a little bit jiggly, firmer around the rest, and lightly brown on top.

10) Remove cheesecake from oven and from its' "water bath", and place springform pan ontop of wire cooling rack. Place a dish plate over the top to help it cool at a slower rate. This will help to prevent any unsightly cracks!

(I let mine sit out on my counter for a good two hours before placing it into the fridge.)

11) After it has sat out for a few hours on the counter, remove the springfoam pan. Place cheesecake in fridge for atleast 5 hours. I left mine in there over night.

Once your cheesecake is cool, get ready for the toppings!

 For The Topping:

1) Put peanut butter baking chips into a small bowl.

2) Bring heavy cream to a boil on the stove. As SOON as it comes to a boil, pour over baking chips and stir, stir, STIR!!!

3) You have just made your very own peanut butter ganache! Yummy!

You can let it sit for a few minutes, but don't let it sit too long or it will start to solidify.

4) Spread ganache all over the top and cover with peanut butter cups!

You can eat it now, or let it sit back in the fridge for a little bit. (30mins)

And There you go! A beautiful, delicious cheesecake!!

Tips for cutting, use a hot knife. I ran mine under the hot tap water. Make a cut, the wipe blade clean, and repeat! This makes clean cuts.

Happy eating!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cheesecakes and New Rifle

Hey guys! I am having a great weekend with a little more time off this time around. Last weekend the hubs and I were in a wedding for a family member and it was beautiful!

We had a great time in the limo!

This weekend I only needed to work this morning, so I got to enjoy the afternoon at the gun range with my hubs. He just built a new 308 rifle and man, it has some kick! It's completely worth it because it's pretty darn accurate! After that I headed home and enjoyed a well deserved nap. LOL

We have been watching The Glades on Netflix. It was really slow at first, but it's getting better now as the show has progressed. We finished Breakout Kings too. The first few episodes were pretty bad, but just skip the first 2 or 3 episodes and you will be fine. It's a great show after that.

What are you watching on Netflix???

I haven't baked in a long while and I'm feeling up for some cheesecake. I have been wanting to try a peanut butter cheesecake, because come on...who doesn't love smooth creamy peanut butter? And what better way then indulging in a decadent cheesecake at the end of the day? Mmmm. I will post pictures after it's all  done up and decorated.

These are a mini-version.. YUMMY! (got this photo from google)

How are you guys doing?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back for a Few

Hey guys. I apologize it's been so long. I am on turbo mode. I am working two jobs now! I work all the time, but it is paying off! I got my paychecks on Friday and I can say that this will be worth it. I plan on working my butt off for a year, maybe two to rack up some moolah and be debt-free ASAP! I'm tired of being a slave to loan and credit card payments. Nope! I'm ending that as soon as possible. I DETERMINE TO be DEBT FREE this time NEXT year!

Now, I am very tired. So, so tired. I'm not used to this yet, but I'll get into a routine.

I hope you all have been well. I miss blogging and reading your blogs! I will do my best to get back into it. Blogging and hearing from you helps keep me motivated!

Well, got to run. I need to get my clothes ready for my jobs and get some shut-eye!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Booking Italy.....

Ah! This is so exciting!

So far I have our flights booked and our hotel for Roma booked!

It's fantastic! We will have a view of St. Peter's Basilica from our window!

 It's in walking distance to the Roman Forum and the Sistine Chapel!

Now we're going to book our train tickets and our hotel for Firenze! I've found this splendid B&B that's in the middle of Florence, within walking distance of great art and history!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Wedding Shower Adventure...Mixed with a few Disasters...!

Today one of our family members had a Jack &  Jill Wedding shower and it was a blast! But getting everything together wasn't so easy....

Last night I started working on their cake. All was going well...the house smelled warm and yummy from freshly made cake and creamy icing. I was very happy because it wasn't too late and normally when working on a cake, I lose a little bit of sleep due to baking late to ensure freshness....well all this came crashing down...LITERALLY, around midnight! I dropped the cake! My stomach sank! I just stared at the floor at this giant mess, and as if on cue, BAM! My lab puppy came running in trying to help me clean. Haha, such a sweet pup..
So I stayed up until 2am finishing up the beginning of this cake...baking and base frosting...

I had been up since 4 the previous morning, so sleep deprivation was setting in and by the time the Poke'mon theme song (of all things???) was playing in my head and I was humming marbles had no doubt been lost... lol

This morning, I noticed I was out of a lot of my tools for some reason? I don't know if I misplaced them, or if the evil moving fairy stole things during our move this past January... (wow..has it really been that long since I've made a cake??? jeez...)

All in all, the cake came together in time...JUST in time...

I was winging it and it turned out alright..everyone loved it and said it was SUPER delicious, but my perfectionism was bugging me because it didn't turn out at all how I planned and my piping skills need some serious work! But it turned out pretty good. The Bride and Groom loved it and almost every bit of this double-layer 24x12'' cake was eaten, and/or taken home!

Whew...I still got it... :-)
Piping needs some serious work, but it was still super yummy!

BUT there was one more thing... up here in the northeast..there is a dish called "Whimpies" which are really similar, if not the same exact thing, as Sloppe-Joes. (I am not ultimately sure because I still have yet to try one.)
But my husband went to pick up a generous few pounds of this meaty-sauce concoction in my car. I'm not sure of all the details, but I do know that at least 2 pound of this stuff went SPLASH all over the floor of my car! I don't know if it was the lack of sleep, or just the overload of stress flying around in my body, (or the whole...marbles being lost but all I could do was LAUGH. I didn't even get mad! ..But once again Puppy to the rescue!  He has had one big buffet of AWESOME today, but his little belly hurt (wouldn't yours?) and was napping by the time we got home.

 The Bride & Groom were so happy! Kathy looked stunning in her teal crochet dress, and a happy, ear-to-ear grinning Dave was standing by her side. To the happy couple, Congrats again!

All in all it was a wonderful time! The girls did an amazing job, the place looked fabulous! The food was delicious and the cookies were scrumptious. Everyone had a good laugh at the games, and it was a blast! The place was beautiful and everyone had a great time.

 Now after having a long nap, me and pup, are both sane again! LOL!

And I will continue practicing...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

So...It's HAPPENING!!!!

As many of you know, I have been dreaming of going to Italy for a very long time. Well, I very excited to declare that I am going to be able to spend my birthday in Italia this year!!!!

With four short months to go, I'm soaking in as much of the Italian language as I can!!

We got a great deal by flying out of a different airport, one that is not so close, but well worth the difference in price. It's $400 cheaper! I am completely okay with spending $30 in gas...

It is going to be a great adventure! Seven whole days in Italy :) I am very, very excited! Plus, we're making a pit-stop in Finland! Haahaha random, but we'll take it!

My sister and I were looking up Finnish's a very interesting language. How to say "no" in Finnish.. (sounds like:) "ey" I started cracking up because if they ever saw "Happy Days" I bet they were very confused... "EYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY"..." I see them looking at each other like..."Why does he keep saying 'no...' every time he walks into a room?"
I found that quite comical.

Now I just need to save for train tickets and some spending money!

I will be posting more about this as things come together!

June Goals!

Here are my June Goals!

- walk at least 45  miles
- yoga at least 3 times a week
- some form of intense workout 2x a week


-save $200 toward vacation

-finish reading the book of Exodus
-Wake up earlier to start the day off with some Bible reading and prayer

- Study Italian at least one hour per day! (so far so good!)
-Go swimming!!
-Shoot more at the range :)

Wrap-up on May Goals

Here's my Goal wrap-up!

- walk at least 30 miles this month. (SUCCESS!!! I walked over 60miles this month!!)
- Zumba! Zumba! Zumba! (no zumba...FAIL)

-save another $200 into the emergency fund (Success!)
-have $300 set aside by the end of this month for when my sis comes to visit because we have some fun road trips planned. (SUCCESS! We only went to NYC and it was AWESOME!!)

-finish reading the book of Exodus (FAIL. I need to start reading my Bible more.)
-Wake up earlier to start the day off with some Bible reading and prayer  (This happened a lot in May, but not everyday like I had hoped. FAIL)

- read 3 more books this month! (FAIL)
-blog at least weekly (I have been slacking) (FAIL)
-go shooting more often with the hubbs  (WIN)
-have a great time at our Vow Renewal at the latter part of the month (YES!!!)
-soak up as much fun as I can with my mom and sister when they come to visit! (Had a great time while they were here)

More Photos:

What a Month! My May Wrap-up

Wow! May was a fantastic Month!! Here's my wrap up in photos:

Me and Kawi for Mom's Day
 Vow Renewal


New Tattoo! (Live life without fear)