Bacon peanut butter chip pancakes

It’s been a while since I’ve come up with a recipe. Lately I’ve been obsessed with bacon. I made a delicious spinach mac ‘n cheese dish last week that substituted macaroni with cauliflower. And what made it especially delicious was the bacon I added on top.

IMG_8571You can find that one out on the interwebs somewhere, but that’s not what I’m making tonight. Tonight I’m going to attempt bacon pancakes. Maybe even bacon peanut butter chip pancakes. For dinner. Because YOLO.

Ingredients
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 and a half cups of flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 egg
1 clean diaper
powdered sugar, as desired
a teensy bit of vanilla extract
peanut butter chips
bacon
butter
syrup (or a corner store)
beer (note: this doesn’t go in the pancakes)

Directions

  1. I started with the buttermilk. I didn’t have any buttermilk because who buys buttermilk? So I knew Google would have a solution for me. And she sure did.
  2. Does it still count as a recipe if I write it in blog form but with numbers?
  3. I poured a cup of milk into a measuring cup (that’s how I knew it was a cup…), and I added a teaspoon of lemon juice. As per these instructions.
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  4. I let my homemade buttermilk sit while I oiled a pan and slapped my bacon strips on it. I started preheating the oven to 400 degrees, and then I went to change a diaper.
  5. If you just changed a diaper, please wash your hands.
  6. I poured the milk into a bowl, added flour, a tablespoon of baking soda, and an egg. I mixed that up and then dropped in a bit of vanilla extract and maybe three teaspoons of powdered sugar.
  7. Mix.
  8. At this point, I googled “best fluffiest pancake recipe” to see if there was anything else I should add to make my pancakes better and fluffier, and the secret ingredient was melted butter.
  9. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter, and add it to your pancake mixture.
  10. This might be a good time to figure out if you even have any syrup.
  11. You don’t.
  12. Put your bacon in the oven, put pants on your toddler, and run to the corner store.
  13. You bought beer, didn’t you?
  14. I hope it was the good stuff, girl, you deserve it.
  15. Or guy, I’m not sexist.
  16. Or other gender nonconforming individual, I’m not ignorant.
  17. Pour in peanut butter chips.
  18. Your bacon still isn’t ready, so crack open a beer.
  19. Turn off the fire alarm. That thing is so sensitive.
  20. Take out your recyclables. You can’t move forward until the bacon is done.
  21. Turn off the fire alarm again. It’s the other room this time.
  22. Take a selfie.
    Photo on 4-21-15 at 6.47 PM #7
  23. Bacon is ready!
  24. Allow your lieutenant kitchen deputy to taste test the bacon.
  25. Surprise, surprise – bacon passes.
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  26. Break the bacon up into bits and throw it into your pancake mixture.
  27. Your pan should still be pretty drenched in butter. If not, proceed to drench.
  28. Your kid is so cute – he’s singing along to “Eye of the Tiger.”
  29. No wait, that’s my kid. Maybe your next one will be as adorable as mine.
  30. While you were here bragging, your kid got into the flour.
  31. You’re a mean mom because you took the flour away.
  32. Now he needs a hug.Photo on 4-21-15 at 7.54 PM #3
  33. Are you going to just die if you hear that fire alarm again? Just me?
  34. Beer, Jessica. Beer.
  35. Max and I have a “whoa whoa whoa” playlist now. He likes to sing along to songs that he can say “whoa whoa whoa” in. This is a surprising number of songs.
  36. Oh, you can start making your pancakes now.
  37. Voila!

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I know what you’re thinking: “Why didn’t you just give me the cheesy spinach cauliflower recipe? I would never feed my kids pancakes for dinner!” And to that I say: at least we brushed our teeth afterwards?

(i have a hilarious video to include here, but it’s an unsupported file type so your loss)

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Chicken Enchilada Pot Pie, Easter Bunny Cookies, and Max’s Happy Place

I just discovered three wonderful things that turned out to be surprisingly easy. According to my Mint.com account, I spend a silly amount of money each month on three silly things: coffee, alcohol, and eating out. I put about $100 towards coffee and alcohol each month, and I spend hundreds on Rustik Tavern, pizza, and other restaurants. I’ve decided to completely cut out buying coffee at coffee shops. This is a huge sacrifice for me, but I know that it’s an important one. Sometimes I spend $5-6 on a single cup (because sometimes I just NEED a chai latte with a double shot of espresso). I bought coffee at the supermarket and plan to commit to making my own coffee at home and at work. I love my wine, so I’m not making any changes there, though I will commit to not buying alcohol for the rest of April (mainly because I already got a great deal on three good bottles of wine for $25 – boom!). When it comes to eating out, I think it’d be easy for me to say “I’m done eating out for the next six months,” but since it’s such a reflex for me, I know I need to take baby steps before I can truly cut out that expense. I attempted this yesterday by planning a bunch of meals I can cook this month and then writing a grocery list based on those meal plans. But I ran so many errands — including going to the supermarket — and I hadn’t had time to get home to cook lunch. Max and I were both hungry, so we stopped at Chipotle and spent $11 on a burrito bowl. What I’m saying is that, even when I’m being vigilant about my spending, it’s tough to cook or prepare three meals every day. It also gets boring. I tried to overcome the second issue by finding a lot of different easy recipes. In the past, I’ve made the mistake of buying a ton of the same few ingredients and then making the same dish week after week. It was great for my budget, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to eat lasagna again. IMG_8481 As a compromise, I’m allowing myself to spend $20 per week — or about $80 per month — on fast food and eating out. That means that if I get stuck somewhere, or I get sick, or I’m just tired, I don’t have to worry about preparing a meal. I have a lot on my plate, so I need that cushion to give myself more time for self-care. This reduction in my restaurant/fast food budget led to a fairly significant increase in my grocery budget, which I’m aiming to keep below $150 per month (and I’ve already spent $137 for April). I need to focus on being extra frugal for the rest of April and reevaluate my grocery spending in May. If I’ve done this well, I’ll be able to spend even less at the supermarket next month. I do admit that I splurged a little on some last-minute Easter treats, but if you scroll down to the video below, you’ll find that it was totally worth it. So here are the three wonderfully easy things I discovered this weekend!

Chicken Enchilada Pot Pie

Because I found out how easy it is to make chicken pot pie, and then I found a can of enchilada sauce in my cupboard. Ingredients

  • Puff pastry shells
  • Chicken
  • Frozen veggies (peas, carrots, corn)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream — but if you don’t have heavy cream (I didn’t), I found out that you can mix milk and cornstarch to make it.
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano, garlic salt
  • Olive oil
  • Two tablespoons of flour

Directions

  1. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano, and garlic salt. You can also simplify by using Adobo (I don’t even know why I own other seasonings).
  2. Chop your onion.
  3. Heat the olive oil on a pan, throw your chicken guys on there, and saute them.
  4. If you’re using the same frozen pastry shells that I used then this would be a good time to bake them. I used Pepperidge Farm’s pastry puff shells, and the instructions were on the box (though I did not read this box until after everything else was cooked, so you’re welcome for not putting these steps in the order that I did them).
  5. Move chicken to a plate once it’s cooked.
  6. Toss your onions and veggies onto the same pan, and sprinkle salt and pepper on those guys.
  7. Yes, everyone is a guy — your chicken, the little carrot guy and his corn and pea friends.IMG_8509
  8. This is where I get a little cray with the garlic salt — just splatter it on everyone in the pan.
  9. Mix in about two tablespoons of flour.
  10. Here, you’re supposed to throw in some chicken broth, but I poured in one can of enchilada sauce to give it a little Latin kick.
  11. Once the mixture has thickened, you can add heavy cream (or whatever you have in your cupboard, I don’t judge).
  12. Throw your chickadees back into the mix. IMG_8517
  13. If you followed step four then your pastry shells are probably ready by now. Take them out of the oven, remove the tops, and fill them with your chicken enchilada goodness.
  14. Because I didn’t measure anything, I ended up with a lot of chicken enchilada goodness leftover. The good news is I tasted it on its own, and it was wonderful, so it made a great side dish.

    IMG_8521

    Chicken enchilada guys in pies with a side of chicken enchilada guys not in pies — dinner is served!

Meanwhile, Max and I were also working on dessert — a new Pinterest-inspired Easter treat that we invented and will call Easter Bunny Cookies because they are so bunny-centric. I found that the fun level of making these cookies increased by 1000000% if you bake them with a toddler.

Easter Bunny Cookies

Ingredients

  • Carrot cake — you can make this from scratch, but I’m not going to tell you how to do that. I used Duncan Hines cake mix!
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • vanilla extract
  • Cadbury mini-eggs
  • Rolling pin
  • Toddler

Also: The part of this recipe that was inspired by Pinterest is actually the part that I barely used. I bought Peeps and green cake frosting to top the cookies with grass and bunnies, but it was almost sickeningly sweet, so I added this topping to only a few of the cookies. Directions

  1. Mix your cream cheese and butter in a bowl.
  2. Once that’s thoroughly blended, add in your cake mix — just a bit at a time so that this is mixed perty thoroughly, too.
  3. Plop in an egg and a teensy bit of vanilla extract.
  4. More mixing.
  5. Now comes the fun part! Grab your toddler and a rolling pin. (Note: If s/he is not your toddler then you should not grab him/her/preferred pronoun. I do not condone kidnapping for this recipe.)
  6. SMASH THE CADBURY EGGS! As demonstrated in Exhibit A below. (pretty sure I’ve watched this video of my own child an unreasonable number of times…)
  7. Add your smashed Cadbury bits to your cookie mix, and freeze for a couple of hours or refrigerate for more hours.
  8. Eat dinner! The chicken pot pie was a hit, thanks for asking.
  9. IMG_8523

    My sweet boy using his table manners.

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    My sweet boy abandoning said table manners.

The numbers on this post are being screwy, but it’s okay — there aren’t that many steps left. Bake them for 10-15 minutes (12.5 is probably a good compromise). Let them cool, and you have delicious Cadbury Egg Carrot Cake Cookies! IMG_8529 Then if you still want your bunnies on there, this part is super simple. You just top your cookie with green frosting for the grass and plop your Peepkachu guy on there!

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Happy Easter, y’all!

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peepkachu

Black Bean Quinoa Enchilada Bake & the “Up” Mailbox

My favorite way to find a new recipe is to type the ingredients from my cupboard into Google and see what I can make with what I have. It usually still requires a trip to either my trusty Capitol Food Mart (or sometimes aaalll the way to the O Street Market Giant), but it’s still a nice thrifty cheat for cooking dinner.

Now, as I mentioned previously, I’m organizing Max’s first birthday party, and the theme is Up, which was Max’s first word. In keeping with the theme, I’ll be serving food from South America.

Fortunately, I’ve already perfected just the dish.

Black Bean Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa
1 onion
1 cup frozen corn
2 cans black beans
2 cans green enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
garlic
1 jalapeno pepper
cilantro
a teensy bit of lime juice
seasonings: salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil the quinoa in 2 cups of water, until water is absorbed.
  3. Chop your onion and your jalapeno.
  4. BABY’S HUNGRY NOW! FEED HIM NOW!
  5. Toss child scraps of bacon that were cooked before you started making dinner because God forbid you fail to offer a pre-dinner snack.
  6. Heat tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, and saute onions, garlic, and jalapenos.
    IMG_2114
  7. Add corn to your veggie pan, and cook for another five minutes or so.
  8. Make sure your baby is not dead; pull him away from the plugs.

    IMG_1711

    #motheroftheyear

  9. Why, oh why, must you play with plugs? Distract baby with corn popper.
  10. What a timeless tool of entertainment.
  11. It’s probably time to add the salt, pepper, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro to your veggie mix. Then, stir.
  12. Repeat step #8 — and also step #5.
  13. Don’t worry about spoiling his dinner; if your child is anything like mine then he’s basically a vacuum. Anyway, this dish freezes well.
  14. Move the cooked quinoa to a bowl, and cook the black beans (I use the same pot because you’re going to mix them anyway, and there’s no reason to wash two pots. Ain’t no momma got time for that.)
  15. Probably shouldn’t have left your bacon plate so close to the edge of the table, where your tiny demon could reach it. That’s a goner now. Throw it away.
    IMG_2111
  16. “Wahhhh the plate I broke made a loud noise.”
  17. Hug your demon.
  18. Combine the quinoa, beans, and then the veggies in your casserole dish. Stir, and pour in the enchilada sauce. Add 1 1/4 cups of cheese, and stir some more.
    IMG_2116
  19. Top with the rest of the cheese, and bake for 30 minutes.
  20. Voila! You’ve got your delicious dish – garnish with cilantro and other toppings as you wish.
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Kid-tested, mother-approved.

In other news, I’m working on decorations for the party. I’ve already bought some props for our costumes as well as an actual helium balloon tank to blow up millions of balloons (that’s the primary decoration). I haven’t completely decided what I’m going to do with the door, but I know that I want to have the Up mailbox outside.

up002

I’ve started to work on recreating this mailbox by using a Shutterfly box and some white paint. I cut the top off the box and cut the ends so that they’d be curved. I also cut the top part of each side so that the height would match with the ends.

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Then I painted the box white.

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Ta-da!

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Next, I had to come up with a way to make the top of my mailbox. I tried to use white paper, but it was way too flimsy.

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#fail

So I bought white foam sheets, glued the ends of each sheet, and stuck them into my mailbox.

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It’s not completely perfect, but I didn’t really need it to be. Here’s the finished product:

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I love October. And pumpkin mac ‘n cheese.

October is the best month ever. I think I used to only enjoy summer, and I didn’t appreciate this fantastic month — this wondrous season — as much as I probably should have. But all of that is about to change.

In fact, it already has.

Did you know that it’s National Pizza Month?!?! WHAT AN AMAZING MONTH.

Beyond that, my stolen pumpkin spice syrup has resulted in MORE PUMPKIN SPICE SYRUP THAN I COULD HAVE EVER HOPED FOR.

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In your face, hipsters!

In other news, I discovered a recipe for pumpkin mac ‘n cheese, and then I made it, and though I once believed that my son was the greatest thing to ever happen to me, this pumpkin mac ‘n cheese calls those earlier assumptions into question…

Here’s the recipe:

Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese

IMG_1476Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups macaroni
  • some salt
  • some peppa
  • nutmeg

Directions

  1. Open up a bottle of Octoberfest because HALLELUJAH, it’s the best month of the year!
  2. You don’t really have to follow step one to make this mac ‘n cheese, but it does keep things interesting.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Aren’t you glad I told you to preheat the oven in an early step rather than at the end like last time? I’m getting so good at this.
  5. Boil your macaroni.
  6. Octoberfesttttt
  7. Why do babies choose to play with boxes rather than toys?
  8. You have so many toys!
  9. Over medium heat, melt the butter, and slowly mix in the flour.
  10. Switch from kids’ music to lullabies to give the kid a hint that it’s bedtime, even though mommy’s cooking.
  11. Slowly pour the first cup of milk into the butter-flour mixture.
  12. And then the second cup.
  13. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  14. Stir, and continue to heat for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  15. Mix in the best part: pumpkin puree.
  16. Add 2 cups of cheese, and stir.
  17. Pour the sauce onto the macaroni, and add the rest of the cheese on top.
  18. Bake for 25 minutes.
  19. You can spend this half hour praising me for bringing this amazing dish into your life.
  20. You’re welcome.

WHAT AN AMAZING LIFE I LEAD.

Pumpkin-flavored everything

Happy fall, y’all! I know what you think this post is going to be about — especially if you heard me raving on Monday and Tuesday about how much of a genius I am for having the idea to order pumpkin spice syrup to add to my coffee at work…and then heard me rant on Thursday and Friday about how my pumpkin spice syrup was STOLEN by a certain household that must not be named…but that’s not what this blog post is about at all.

I made a bunch of other pumpkin-flavored things, and i wanted to share the recipes with you, because they’re amazing.

Pumpkin Cranberry Quinoa Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup tri-colored quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 onion
  • Garlic powder
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cranberries (I used dried cranberries, AKA craisins)
  • maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbs. ground flaxseed
  • parsley
  • cinnamon
  • a teensy bit of salt

Directions

  1. Place cranberries in a bowl, and drizzle with maple syrup. Stir.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine milk, pumpkin puree, and ground flaxseed.
  3. Separately, boil a cup of water and add quinoa. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Read a Buzzfeed article about Snapchats from cats. #snapcats
  5. LOL.
  6. Chop an onion.
  7. Cry over a letter from the Covenant House. Put the letter down. Walk away. This is exactly how you ended up accidentally signing up for $100 monthly contribution online the other day. What a mess. You had no idea you were going to check the monthly box — you forgot to even adjust the amount.
  8. Why would they assume that everyone’s going to give $100? Or expect people to notice that $100 is the default?
  9. No one has that kind of money.
  10. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, and add the onions and garlic.
  11. Top it with parsley. Call it a party. Invite the whole family.
  12. By “invite the whole family,” I mean combine everything — quinoa, cranbyrup, pumpkmilk (milpkin?). Add cinnamon.
  13. More cinnamon.
  14. MORE.
  15. You kinda overdid it on the cinnamon.
  16. This is when you’re supposed to add the salt, too. If you want. I’m not much of a salt girl.
  17. Mikey D’s calling! Finally. You’ve been trying to reach him for ages. Ignore it for now – you need to write this down. He’ll understand.
  18. Put the mixture in a casserole dish. Were you preheating the oven? You should’ve been preheating the oven to 350. If you hadn’t done that already, you can do it now and start the cookies (below).
  19. Is this Soko singing Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” on Spotify?
  20. No, but it’s a cool acoustic version by Allison Weiss.
  21. Bake your casserole for 30-35 minutes, let cool for about 10, and then enjoy!

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pie Cookies

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pumpkin pie spice, as much as your little heart desires
  • a teensy bit of salt
  • the rest of the pumpkin puree
  • 1 cage-free, free-range brown egg (I swear, chicks who are treated better make tastier babies)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • peanut butter chips

Directions

  1. Beat the sugar and butter together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Tweet about #pumpkinbasedcrime, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Combine flour, oats, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in another bowl. (And add brewer’s yeast if you’re still trying to produce breastmilk. All cookies = lactation cookies.)
  4. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to the sugar-butter mixture, and gradually stir in the dry mix.
  5. Ideally, you’d now let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
  6. I didn’t do that.
  7. Add peanut butter chips, and roll gooey mixture into balls (if you can – you really should’ve waited the night. Patience is a virtue. Did you really need cookies tonight?)
  8. (Of course you did.)
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  10. Let them cool.
  11. I said let them cool!
  12. Enjoyyyyyy!