Friday, December 31, 2010

u can do it once a year

There has been talk about holiday traditions all over blog land recently, and it got me to thinking.  What are our traditions?  Which ones am I carrying on with my own family, and what new ones have I created?  Like New Year's Day and black-eyed peas (and not 'imma be' or 'i got a feeling') but those nasty, grayish colored PEAS.  Every. single. New Year's. For as far back as I can remember, these will make an appearance on my parent's dinner table.  But not in the Mo'betta house.  no way, no how, no thank you. just can't do it. 

However, my grandma has a tradition of her own.  For as far back as I can remember, my grandma has cooked up some of the best cornbread.  FRIED. THIN. CRISPY.  She's never prepared it any other way that I know of.  It's just a lil' slice of heaven, ya hear.  However, once again, frying does not happen in the Mo'betta house.  Except for the occasional bacon.  or an egg.  BUT, I decided...you can do it once a year.  You can fry up some of this fabulous cornbread.  Of course, she probably cooks hers in lard or bacon grease that's been sitting in a container on the stove for God knows how long.  So don't do that.  Use canola oil.

I present to you a Southern tradition - Lacy Cornbread
Lacy
sexy
you know you want it.

I'd give you the recipe, but I don't really have one...it's just some corn meal thrown in a bowl with some water and salt.  One of those recipes that Grandma says, you add enough water so that it's thin enough.  and add a little salt (her little and my little tend to differ). (Think pancake batter...pourable. It will look too watery, but that's how you want it.)  But listen, she says, most important...you gotta cook it 'real thin', so it's lacy.  Okay.  Thanks Grandma, got it.  However, I followed her precise instructions and it was soooo good.  My kids were so impressed.  And disappointed when I told them it was a once a year thing ;)

Happy New Year peeps!

Also - want a FREE bottle of the brand new Purex Complete Crystals?! Leave a comment here before Sunday at midnight (eastern standard time). *giveaway has ended*

Top 10 for 2010

I'm sure lots of people will be doing posts like this, but I thought it would be fun to look back and choose my top 10 favorite recipes/blog posts of 2010!  (Well, since June anyway!)  These are not in any particular order, but it was fun to look back and see the changes I've made (of course, my choices have gone down hill for the holidays!  Time to get healthy again!) and my photos have improved quite a bit!  It's also amazing to see how much my kids have grown, just since June.

So...some of my favorite are -
 Pickled peppers (my first "canning" experience)
 Homemade yogurt in the crockpot! (so glad I discovered this!)
 Day 2 of my exercise training for my 1st 5K back in September (it makes me laugh, and makes me realize how far I've come, from walking 3 miles to mostly running 3 miles! But not lately)
"Cinnabon" popcorn (so good!)
Garden pics
My first 5K
Pumpkin Oatmeal (love this stuff!)
Spiced Pumpkin Scones with crystallized ginger
Light the Night (great experience)
Faux Toffee aka Christmas Crack

This was actually harder than I thought it was going to be!!  I have discovered some really yummy dishes these past several months.  Pumpkin oatmeal, homemade yogurt, and the "Green" Monster have become pretty regulars in my breakfast routine.  Homemade mac & cheese and homemade chicken nuggets are favorites of the kiddies.  The asian noodle salad and shrimp & grits are also things I'll definitely be making again! 

I need to figure out how to make an index of my recipes....hmmm, that will require some computer skillz, time, patience and probably a lot of cursing.  I better call in my sister, Reed, for reinforcements.

So, now that I've shamelessly promoted revisited several previous blog posts, I should say what I am truly thankful for in 2010.  This has been THE MOST difficult year of my life.  My Dad (who is only 59 y/o) was diagnosed with Leukemia at the end of 2009. 2010 involved hospitals (literally months in the hospital), chemotherapy, lots of prayers, tears, fears and hours upon hours of scouring the internet learning about blood cancers, promoting bone marrow drives, and talking to anyone and everyone to get more people registered as a bone marrow donor (http://www.marrow.org/ for more info).  AND then this summer, a miracle happened.  A donor was found, and my dad had a life-saving stem cell transplant (this is how most bone marrow transplants are done now, with the collection of stem cells).  Since then, he has been recovering.  Transplants are extremely hard on the body, and he still has a very weakened immune system, but he is CANCER FREE.  He just had a bone marrow biopsy for the 6 month "anniversary" of his transplant, and the results show no evidence of Leukemia.  I'm am so thankful, I can not even begin to put it into words.  I am thankful to God, for modern medicine, for the doctors at Chapel Hill, for the doctors at Pitt, and for his donor - who is anonymous to us.  I love this person!!!  Because someone chose to become a registered bone marrow donor, my family has my Dad for 2011.  I think it's going to be a great year! (I'm working on being positive as well.  New Year's Resolution!)

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!!  Be safe celebrating!  I have no plans, as usual.  Will probably hang out in my sweats, drink mimosas and eat everything in the house.  Oh yeah, I did that last night.  hmmm.  Maybe I'll write out my New Year's resolutions and blog about them.  Then maybe I'll actually follow through on a few of them.   But then again, maybe not.  Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be POSITIVE :)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

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*edited post* New Purex Product - review & giveaway!

**EDIT 12/29/10**See bottom of post for edited info

A few weeks ago I posted about Purex for Sensitive Skin.  It was a product I was excited about and wanted to share.  Since then, I've become a part of the Purex Insiders team.  As a welcome, Purex sent me a sample of a brand new product, just released yesterday in Wal-Mart stores, called Purex Complete Crystals Softener.  All opinions of the product are my own.

Yes, crystals.  They're pretty cool looking and smell great.  But what I found really interesting (and a little disturbing) from the information Purex sent is that most brands of traditional liquid fabric softeners are OIL-BASED, meaning they work by coating your clothes/fabrics in OIL.  Yuck.  Of course, this explains the oily looking mystery spots I have found on numerous clothing items  (which really irritates me!)  The oily residue can decrease the absorbency of your towels, it can impair the effectiveness of the flame-retardants on childrens' sleepwear, and reduce the effectiveness of the wicking properties of sportswear. Yikes!

This new Purex Complete Crystals are 92% natural and NOT oil based!  They work by penetrating the fabric and infusing fibers with freshness that they say lasts for weeks, not days.  I've only just started using it, so I'll have to let you know if the scent stays around that long!  However, it does leave a nice, fresh scent...and what's better than the smell of fresh laundry?! Except for maybe freshly baked chocolate chip cookies....but that's a different post all together.  (Now I want cookies)

Purex has come out with 3 different scents
I think I'll be trying them all! 

If you are interested in trying this, just leave me a comment.  Purex is giving away three $2.00 off coupons for a **FREE BOTTLE of Purex Complete Crystals to Mo'Betta readers so that you can try their new product.  Just leave a comment before midnight Sunday, January 2, 2011 (2011??!!  Holy cow!) and I will choose three winners!! 

Yep, a free bottle! That's an "upgrade" from my previous post :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

lil' nuts are mo'betta

or Mini Baked Donuts :)

My sister gave me a mini donut pan for Christmas...it is adorably cute
Wilton Nonstick 12-Cavity Mini Donut Pan
So, naturally, I had to try it out.  I never buy donuts (or doughnuts...somewhere along the way the spelling changed).  However, the kids love them (and who doesn't) but they are horribly bad for you, with all their trans fat and what not.  When I saw baked donut recipes popping up on different food blogs, I knew it was something I wanted to try!  Thanks to my lil' sis - I got my chance today :)
How cute are they?

This was Mr. Two's first donut experience due to his food allergies...
 He's a fan.  I think he ate half a dozen. 

Baked Chocolate Cake Donuts from Got No Milk
1 cup AP flour  *I used 3/4 cup AP and 1/4 cup whole wheat

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup sugar  *I used 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup Splenda

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt

2 tablespoons margarine

1/2 cup soy yogurt, thinned slightly with a tablespoon soy milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg  *I used an egg replacement of 1 T. vinegar, 1 T. milk, 1 t. baking powder

chocolate glaze **I didn't use the chocolate glaze, which I'm sure would be amazing.  I used a simple glaze of confectioner's sugar and cocoa.

Directions -
  • Lightly grease a donut tin and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda, and then whisk in the sugar, nutmeg, and salt. Add the margarine, and using your fingers, rub it into the dry ingredients until it becomes coarse crumbs.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, vanilla, and egg. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix, or your donuts may be a bit rubbery.  My batter was very thick and a little dry, so I added another T. of milk.  Probably due to the lack of egg in my recipe.
  • Fill a ziploc bag with the batter, cut an opening in one corner, and pipe the batter into each cup 1/2 to 3/4 full. It’s important not to overfill, or as the donuts rise, you’ll lose the hole.
  • Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until the donuts spring back when touched. Let cool slightly on a wire rack before glazing.  It only took abt 5 minutes for the mini donuts.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Oreo Truffles

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas! I can't believe it has come and gone...I know I said I was not going to be posting any more sweet treats for a while, but I have one more :)  Christmas Eve Eve I made these.  More balls. 
Or you can call them Oreo Truffles.

I wanted something super quick to make for my neighbors since they brought over a gift and I had nothing, and I had seen these all over the place (meaning all over foodie blogs).  They are so easy, and soooo good.  If you like Oreos.  And honestly, who doesn't like a freakin' Oreo.  (The Devil's creation to make all of us commit one of the 7 Deadly Sins - gluttony!)

All you have to do is take a bag of regular Oreos, dump them in a food processor, grind them up until they are fine crumbs, then add a block of softened cream cheese (I used the 1/3 less fat b/c that's what I had).  This will make a nice dough...roll it into balls, stick them in the fridge for a few minutes while you are melting your choice of chocolate.  I used white chocolate, white Almond Bark, and mint chocolate chips.  I also rolled some in powdered sugar.  The best is the white chocolate - they taste like a....well, a white chocolate covered Oreo, and the mint chocolate tastes like a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie!!!  Roll the Oreo dough-balls in chocolate, place on wax paper, and you can stick them back in the fridge to harden.  You can also decorate with sprinkles before the chocolate hardens to make them pretty :)

So, if you are having a New Year's Eve party and want a quick, yummy dessert to make, go make these!!!  Or, if you are going to binge this week prior to going on a diet January 1st...then go ahead and add these to your splurge.  Not that I am going to do that.  *wink wink*

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Christmas Eve Eve!!

First, I have to say how excited I am to have over 200 followers now! Yay!! Thanks everyone :)  Second, I should probably warn you about the total randomness of this post.  I have several things floating around in my head, and decided to stick them all in one post...probably the last until after Christmas!!  It's Christmas Eve Eve!!!  I can't believe it! and I still have more shopping to do, but at this point, it probably just won't get done.  Shopping with 3 kids in the last 2 days before Christmas does NOT appeal to me.

So...anybody want to hazard a guess as to what this is?
THIS is what happens when your husband wants to help make Gingerbread Men
Go figure.  He makes a turd.  But, what I'm really wondering about is the fact that this was left on my counter during my Christmas gathering last weekend, where I had about 15 family members here....and no one said a word.  Nobody said anything about a turd looking object sitting on my kitchen counter! Hello?!  What does that say? Please don't answer that.  I swear, it is not common to see turd lying around my house.  I have 3 kids, but still, it's not a common occurence. 

Anyway, enough turd talk.  Anyone still reading?  If so, I wanted to share a couple more recipes.  If you follow my blog, you know I like things that are simple, quick and easy to prepare because I'm lazy and impatient.  This one can't get much easier....

The combination of sweet and salty always goes over well, and it's quick to throw together and makes a large amount.  Not that it last all that long around here! 

For anyone that may have allergies, or know someone that does - I made "Peanut Butter" Blossoms, and I made them peanut and egg free!  (and they are edible, bonus!)
Original recipe comes from 9to5to9

SoyNut Butter Blossoms (they're good, I promise!)

1/3 c. white sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 c. SoyNut Butter (original recipe used Sunflower butter, I used what I had on hand)
1/2 c. shortening
1 T. milled flax seed with 3 T. warm water as egg replacer
4 tbl. milk
48 Hershey kisses, or however many you need...depends on the size of your balls (hahahahaha)
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine sugars, SoyButter and shortening, mix well. Add milk and egg replacer. Slowly add dry ingredients. Shape a teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in white sugar. Bake 8 to 10 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet. As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, press a Hershey kiss into the middle. Let cool a few minutes then remove from sheet. The cookies still will be soft, so handle with care. The kisses will remain soft for a while so check for firmness before stacking cookies for storage.

Of course, I went to all this trouble to make this so Mr. Terrible Two could eat them...and he doesn't like them.  I shouldn't be surprised, he doesn't like hardly anything.  The child lives off cereal, mac and cheese, and spaghetti O's.  I, however, have not had a problem consuming my baked goods at warp speed.

Here is a little list of goodies I've consumed made so far this year....
FUDGE  Best.stuff.ever.
Faux Toffee aka Christmas Crack
Nut Balls/Mexican Wedding Cookies/Snowballs/Russian Tea Cakes
Pretzel Treats/Rolo Turtles
Homemade Twix Bars
Sausage Balls and Shrimp Wrapped in Bacon (bacon makes everything mo'betta!)
I also made these, and haven't even posted them! oops!  (I used 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 c. butterscotch chips -instead of peanut butter chips, and 1 cup white chocolate chips.  Otherwise I followed the recipe!)

I'm sure I'm forgetting something...but anyway, lots to do, lots to do!!!  I hope everyone has a very safe, very Merry Christmas!!!

Oh, I'll also be making Monkey Bread - so easy - for Christmas morning.  My kids get up SOOO early, that I need a no-brainer breakfast. Plus it's so yummy fresh from the oven! (and all the kids actually like it!)  I'm sure I'll have some more sausage balls to go with it.  And coffee.  Lots and lots of coffee.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


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