November 25, 2014

Cooking Up Memories: Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Thanksgiving is of course the time when food and memories come together so much, so this week I had to make a tried and true favorite recipe that is special to me.

 My sisters-in-law threw my kitchen shower before David and I got married and they sent out recipe cards with the invitations so I got back several treasured recipes from family, but this is one I treasure the most.  My grandmother passed away in 2005 about 6 months after my brother and sister-in-law were married.  So my sister-in-law had the recipe cards my grandmother gave her at her shower and she had her mom copy them onto some of my recipe cards so that I have a few of my grandmother's recipes in her handwriting--which is such a special thing for me to have.

This recipe is a favorite of mine and brings back lots of memories around my grandmother's table--in fact I've even made (and blogged about) this recipe before, but I had to try it again this week.  The majority of the Thanksgivings in my life have been spent at my grandparents' house in Palestine.  My family would sometimes drive down on Thursday, but a lot of times we went Wednesday night and stayed with them for the night.  So in the morning when we woke up my grandma would have breakfast for us and this coffee cake was always a part of that.  While I love lots of different kinds of Thanksgiving foods, this is actually one of the only foods I want to eat every Thanksgiving because it brings back memories for me in ways that turkey and stuffing and potatoes don't.

I am off for the rest of this week, so I decided what better way to kick it off than to make some coffee cake for us to have this Thanksgiving week?

 So I gathered all of my ingredients.  
 I used my Kitchenaid to mix all of the ingredients for the batter.  And a separate bowl for the topping.
One of the yummiest parts of this coffee cake is that there is a layer of the cinnamon/sugar topping in the middle.  So you put down half the batter then spread a layer of topping and then spread the other half of the batter over it.  This is also one of the most difficult things!  The first time I ever made this completely on my own I was in college and when I got to this step I actually called my mom because it wasn't spreading into a nice layer--and she assured me that hers rarely ever did either but it ends up still tasting great--and she was right!

Delicious Coffee Cake fresh from the oven.  It doesn't look as pretty as my grandma's ever did, but it usually still tastes good.  Can't wait to dig in for breakfasts this week.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
*1 Cup Oleo~~ *1 Cup Sugar *1 teaspoon Vanilla *2 Eggs *1 cup Sour Cream *2 cups Flour *1 teaspoon Baking Soda *1 teaspoon Baking Powder *1/2 teaspoon salt
-Cream sugar and oleo
-Beat eggs one at a time and add
-Add vanilla and beat well
-Add dry ingredients and sour cream
*1/3 cup Brown Sugar *1 cup Granulated Sugar *1 teaspoon Cinnamon *1/2 cup Nuts
-Mix these ingredients in a separate bowl
-Spread 1/2 of the batter in a 9x13 greased pan and sprinkle with 1/2 of topping.  Add rest of batter and remainder of topping and bake 35 min at 350 degrees.

~~While we're "cooking up memories" I just have to tell a story about oleo.  My middle brother, Nick, was a very picky eater as a child.  He would gag himself if he didn't like something and refused to eat it.  One of the things Nick didn't like was butter.  So the story goes that one day we were at my grandma's house and she offered Nick some oleo on something and he ate it and went on and on about how he liked it until my other brother told him he was eating butter and then Nick had to start spitting it out.  So just a little PSA--Oleo is Margarine, so don't eat it if you don't like butter~~

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 21, 2014

Cooking Up Memories: Impossible Pumpkin Pie

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is less than a week away.  November has gone by very quickly so far and I am looking forward to a few days off work to spend with family and my hubby.  

We start our Thanksgiving festivities this weekend with a Thanksgiving Communion dinner with our Young Adults group.  So I figured I'd bring out the Pumpkin Pie recipe to bring with us.  Both of our moms do most of the cooking for Thanksgiving day and this year we will be with David's family, so I figured I had to find some time to make this pie so why not share it with friends!

And bonus it was super easy.  Like ridiculously easy.  I guess that's why it's called Impossible?

 You take all the ingredients (see recipe below)
 And add them to a blender.  No specific order or separating things, just throw them all in there
 Blend it all together.  If you have a Vitamix this takes approximately 2 seconds (seriously, I thought there was no way it was all blended because of how quickly it happened, but it was!)
Pour into a pie pan.  Bake at 350 for an hour.  Voila.  

Impossible Pumpkin Pie
*3/4 Cup Brown Sugar *1/2 Cup Biscuit Mix *1 Can Pumpkin *2 eggs *2 tablespoons melted butter *2 teaspoons vanilla *1 large can evaporated milk *1 teaspoon cinnamon
-Mix all ingredient with blender
-Pour into pie pan
-Bake 350 (60 min)

It looks and smells amazing.  Here's hoping it tastes as good as it seems!  We'll find out tomorrow and I'll be sure to report back 

November 16, 2014

Cooking Up Memories: 8 can Taco Soup

All week I had planned to make a different recipe than the one I ended up making.  We had a square dance Friday night with our International Students so I picked out a dessert and bought everything for it and planned to make it up until Friday when I realized the one I had picked out didn't really transfer well and needed to be served quickly after it was made so that doesn't work out well for taking it to any function-- so I found a different dessert to take Friday night.

So I switched gears and decided to make one of our warm recipes for dinner this weekend.  We have had crazy cold weather this past week so I figured one of our soups would be good for this weekend since we'd be home Saturday night.  

Yesterday morning we went to a workshop at church.  Then we did a little Christmas shopping for family before coming home to the (dreaded) task of getting our pool ready for winter.  We've been cleaning leaves out of the pool since we moved in, but still haven't had time to cover it and we were determined to do so yesterday.  So we spent a few hours outside cleaning the pool and then getting the cover ready and the water bags filled to hold the cover down.  It was cold and blustery outside.  And by the end of the day we were wet from filling the water bags (weights for the pool cover) so a warm dinner was just what we needed.

 Luckily I was ready to go with this super easy and delicious recipe from my best friend Erin.  Erin and I have cooked lots of meals for each other over the course of our friendship--and most of them are usually an adventure!  It's fun now having dinner together at the homes we are building with our husbands--we definitely both cook a lot more than we used to!  We usually meet up and get dinner or coffee out so we can have girl time, but I have lots of memories over dinner together.  And I am very grateful for this recipe from her because it is easy and filling. 

8 can Taco Soup
*1 can Black Beans, drained & rinsed *1 can Pinto Beans, drained & rinsed {We are not huge bean people, so I left out the pinto beans and just did black beans--so my soup was technically only 7 cans} *1 can Petite diced tomatoes, drained *1 can Sweet Corn, drained *1 can White Chicken Breast, drained *1 can Cream of Chicken Soup *1 can Green enchilada sauce *1 can Chicken brother *1 packet taco seasoning
-Combine in large pot, heat until warm. Done :)
*Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, avocado, shredded cheese

We had our soup garnished with sour cream and cheese. Our friend Barton joined us for dinner and college football, so I had some jalapenos for him to add some spice to his.  We had chips and queso on the side.  It was great warm dinner.

And I enjoyed a cup of Apple Cider for dessert.

November 14, 2014

Year of Dates: College Football

Every November our College football teams play each other and it's usually a very exciting game.  We've watched the game together the last couple of years and have managed to still like each other afterward.  So I figured that was a perfect thing for our November date--to settle in and watch the game together.  Then in August we decided to get tickets and go to the game in Norman, so our November date became a weekend away!

We packed up Friday morning and headed North to Oklahoma City to stay with David's Uncle & Aunt and visit family.  I was so excited to pass this on our way up...
 ... the Bears were headed to Norman!

We stopped and met David's best friend for lunch in Moore and then we spent the afternoon and evening with family.  We had dinner with family and got to meet David's cousin's little girl who was born in April.  

We settled in for a good night's sleep since we had to be up bright and early for a morning game!  We woke up Saturday morning and had breakfast and then headed to Norman. 

 I took a lot of pictures!  It was just so fun being on campus for gameday and being at a football game.  David hadn't been to an OU game since he graduated!  

So fun seeing the logos up on the big screen 

 Excited to be at the game!

 Still smiling after half time :)  Love going anywhere with this guy

 Top and Bottom comparisons... the top pictures are from the beginning of the game... bottom ones were taken at the beginning of the 4th quarter.  David said he'd never seen the OU stadium that empty during the 4th quarter.  
We were surrounded by a sea of red.  So I kept my cheering to myself (and David) but I did my sic 'em for every kick off while the Sooners held up their 1 fingers

And it was really fun seeing the Baylor fans who were there.  You can't really tell, but if you look closely at the top right that's the part of the Baylor band that traveled to the game!  It was fun having them one section over from us

 And the Alma Mater after the game
Another fun thing for me was that we were right next to the tunnel where the Baylor players came in and out.  So after the game was over I told David I wanted to go down and cheer for them, so he obliged and took pictures.  It was my one chance to celebrate with other people since my weekend was spent with OU fans :)

Love Art Briles!
And I got to high 5 several of the players as they left the game

We had a great time getting away together for the weekend!  And we survived our first Live Rivalry game together-- as fun as it was I think it's more fun when we get to cheer for the same team--but we might still go again some day!  Either way, it was a great weekend for some football!

November 6, 2014

Year of Dates: Outdoor Fun

So this was supposed to be our October date, but we didn't actually get to it until November 1.  With the move to the house we now can't find the original date cards--and I knew what October's would be and we had very few free days in October where the weather was nice, so I wasn't in a rush.  But last Friday I printed out the remaining date cards and gave him both October and November.

This past Saturday we went to a seminar at church in the morning, but then the rest of our day was completely free.  I decided to change up to the date a little and just make it about some outdoor fun and exploring our new neighborhood.  I gave David the option of still going to White Rock Lake, but we decided to stay in Richardson

 First we checked out the Four Seasons Market.  It was pretty small, but had some good vendors.  We didn't get much--but it was fun to check it out and to know where to go to buy some good produce and meats in the future!

 After that we headed to the park in our neighborhood for a picnic.
 It's so beautiful down here!  I love that this park is just down the street from us.  But with our crazy schedules lately we hadn't actually made it to the park together.  So it was fun to go on Saturday afternoon--and it was a beautiful day!

 We grabbed Raising Cane's for our Picnic

 We went home for a little while and then I convinced David to join me in checking out a new gym right by our house.  I had seen it a few weeks ago and when I looked into their website I decided to check it out.  They are fairly inexpensive and have some of the classes I like... and they are less than 2 miles from our house!  Their website offered a free guest pass, so we both downloaded those to check it out together.  It was something fun and different for us, because we rarely ever go to the gym together--we both go separately when we go.  David can work out for free at his work, so we only got a membership for me--but I was glad to have my buddy there for my first time!

 Then we decided to bundle up and watch a movie outside Saturday night.  It was our first really cold day/evening of the year and it was fun being out there.  We set up my laptop and some blankets and watched part of a Harry Potter movie before we headed inside.  It was fun checking out our backyard in a new way!
 I absolutely love this time of year and was glad for a mostly outdoor day with my guy.  I know this date wasn't super "sports themed" but I promise the next few will be.  

Stay tuned for details of our November date coming up this weekend!

November 2, 2014

Cooking Up Memories: Monkey Bread

I had decided this week I wanted to make one of our breakfast recipes.  We are going out of town this coming weekend, so I thought I might make it Friday morning before we left.  But then I woke up this morning with all the "extra time" after the time change, so I decided to make it as a pre-church snack.

My sister-in-law gave me this recipe for Monkey Bread and I think I have made it once before.  My brother (her husband) is a huge fan of cinnamon rolls, so I'm sure this one is a big hit at their house!

It was a fun and simple breakfast to make and was very yummy!

Monkey Bread
*1 can of 8 refrigerated biscuits *1/3 stick melted butter {I melted a whole stick to make sure I had enough} *Sugar/Cinnamon mix--1 tablespoon cinnamon to 1/4 cup sugar (mix until it looks right) {I did 1/3 cup of sugar and added as much as cinnamon as I thought was right and I ended up having to make a little more to finish it out--maybe I was too generous with the cinnamon sugar on each one!}
-Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces
-Roll each into a ball- roll in melted butter and then in cinnamon/sugar mix
-Stack in pie pan sprayed with Pam
-Pour left over butter & cinnamon mix on top
-Bake at oven temperature as stated on biscuit container, but for 10-12 mins longer than you would plain biscuits (about 27 mins)

Halloween Fun

Halloween was a lot of fun this year.  We were excited to have our first Halloween in our new house and be able to hand out candy to the kids in our neighborhood.  Since our dog is a bit of a mess, we decided to just camp out on the front porch instead of having kids ring the doorbell every time
 We were excited to get started Friday evening after David got home from work
 We ended up handing out 3 bowls worth of candy throughout the night
 And Lily did really well with it too!  She pretty much just sat under our chairs and watched everything going on
 We had a few friends over Friday night, so our friend Barton helped hand out candy with David
And we had a small party inside with friends.  We ate a variety of food and candy and watched the first Harry Potter movie.  It was a great Halloween night!