poor jack.

I’ve murdered jack.

cut him up into small chunks.

Now, I’m boiling jack.

pureeing jack.

and freezing liquified jack.

soon I’m going to bake him in a few loaves of bread.

later this month, we might even turn him into soup.

poor jack.

(and his friend, Harry Potter.)

Check out the recipes – both with a print-friendly version in PDF:
Bread Recipe: jack-o-bread
Soup Recipe: Mom’s Pumpkin Soup

(After spending so much money on pumpkins, I can’t, in good conscience, just throw them away. Have you SEEN the price of canned pumpkin these days?) eek!

NOTE: If you BLEACHED your pumpkin to make it last longer – do NOT do this.

how to be the best mom EVER! (for a few minutes anyway)

Her children rise up and call her blessed…
Proverbs 31:28

…because she threw frozen chicken wings in a crock pot, smothered them with a bottle of barbecue sauce and cooked them on high for four hours selflessly dedicated four hours to cooking perfect, fall off the bone tender chicken wings dripping in finger-licking good sauce.

Prep/Work time? 5 minutes
End result? sticky fingers and happy kids

I’m ALWAYS on the lookout for “dump it in the crock pot and walk away” recipes, so if you have one, LINK UP or post it in a comment!!!

Click on over to check out the recipes at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa at Blessed With Grace MY past Tempt My Tummy posts can be found HERE.

Need more? Head over to Tasty Tuesday hosted by Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam MY previous Tasty Tuesday posts are HERE. Tasty Tuesday posts prior to April of 2009 can be found at Forever . . . Wherever

baking is not my forte.

it’s a BOXED cake mix, for cryin out loud.

Attempt #1, which tasted like oil.

I was supposed to be baking a cake shaped like THIS for a children’s home:

My cake was so flat it would have looked like the bunny was roadkill. (sorry kids)

It was past midnight. I was leaning toward bailing on the bunny cake commitment.

Then FavoriteSon asked: Are you starting over?

Me: No. it’s too late to start over.

FavoriteSon, mocking me: “okay…but those kids can’t start over.”


So me and Betty Crocker, baking another cake at nearly one in the morning. The good news is that this cake didn’t taste like oil. It actually tasted like cake. Very dense cake, but cake. The bad news is that it was flat AGAIN. Like, pancake flat. Roadkill bunny flat.

So I switched gears and cut out the bunny cake shape in my Easter Bunny Cake blog post of 2009. The one that got over FIVE THOUSAND hits that day. My blog is getting insane traffic on this post and I had yet to make one of these cakes since my childhood.

I cut it out, iced it and PinkGirl decorated it this morning. Just so you can get a good understanding of the flatness of this cake, the mini-marshmallows littering the tray are taller than the cake.

and now there are sprinkles stuck to the bottom of my feet.

I suppose I should clean the kitchen floor, it appears cats don’t like sprinkles.

Wassail. revised.

(I originally posted this back in December of 2008, but I’ve made a revision since then. I used to float cloves in a coffee filter, sealed with a twist tie. Not very Martha of me, I know. But I’m reformed. Check out the photo below.)

When I was in high school and college, I sang at a few madrigal dinners. If you’re unfamiliar with madrigal dinners, here’s a sampling. (and no, I’m not in this video).

Wassail Song

One thing was a constant in every madrigal dinner – Wassail. It’s a kind of warm cider drink my choral director would make every year. I’ve made it on Christmas Eve for years. It’s a family favorite and a longstanding tradition. It only takes about 5 minutes to prepare, but allow it to simmer for a couple of hours in the pot if you really want the flavors to blend together.


1/2 gallon apple juice
2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups orange juice
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 orange (optional)

Pour all juices in a pot or crockpot.
Float Cinnamon sticks in the pot.

Here’s the update:
Take an awl and poke holes in an orange in any pattern that strikes you. Then insert the stems of whole cloves in the holes. Float the cloved orange in the pot while simmering.

When it the smell starts to waft, you know it’s gonna be GOOD.


For a print friendly version CLICK HERE.

freezerburn soup.

So, what do you do with meat that’s gotten a little freezer burn because it’s been left in the freezer longer than it should have been? Don’t throw it away!

“Freezerburn Soup” is a favorite in this house. Here’s how it works:

Around the holidays, FirstHusband smokes an abundance of meat in the smoker because he can’t seem to use his smoker unless he completely FILLS his smoker. Then, for days after, we eat all the smoked meat we can eat . . . and freeze all the smoked meat we can’t eat.

Then, just before the holidays the next year, we realize we need to make room for this year’s abundance of meat, so we start pulling out what’s left over from the year before. Often, it’s on the edge (or over the edge) of freezerburn. Rather than throw it out, FirstHusband invented Freezerburn Soup.

He fills the crockpot with the the frozen meat, covers it with vegetable stock (we freeze stock and store it flat in ziplock bags). He turns the crockpot on overnight and we wake to a great smelling kitchen. (And usually a counter of boiled over stock, but today wasn’t too much of a mess.) Then he removes the meat, lets it cool, de-bones it, puts it BACK in the crockpot with whatever veggies he can find.

By FirstHusband: “Add some earthy spices like coriander, sage, parsley sometimes even hickory smoked seasoning. The mix simmers in the crockpot all day making the house smell great.”

. . . and torturing FavoriteSon with the waiting.

That meat you thought was a goner has now been infused with stock for nearly 24 hours and is moist and tender!

Second to last step, a couple hours before serving, he adds wild rice. Then in the last 15 minutes, he adds 6-8 crushed bullion cubes. (I’ve put in a request to go easy on the bullion – the sodium is a little much for me.)

And then, if we’re lucky, we end up with this: half a crockpot of freezerburn soup. Unless we’re really hungry and eat the entire pot.

There’s not really a recipe for this, it turns out different every time because FirstHusband changes the spices each time. He’s also used pasta instead of rice before. I wonder what orzo would do for this soup? hmmm.

Find more helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes! Check out MY past Kitchen Tip Tuesday posts HERE

Find more ideas over at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family. MY previous Works for Me Wednesday posts are HERE.

Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer.

we collect black bananas. really.

We go through bananas pretty quick in this house, but occasionally, we find a few black, soft bananas on our little banana hanger. Before they start to grow hair and drip, we pop them in the freezer, skin and all. We collect bananas for a few months until we have enough to bake our favorite banana bread. Then they get ignored in the back of the freezer until I feel like baking. Let’s face it, by the time I feel like baking, I always have enough to make two…three…maybe four loaves of banana bread.

This is what the bananas look like when we pull them out of the freezer:

I just put them all in a bowl and fill it full of warm water to thaw:

Then, we tear one end off of each banana:

And squeeze like toothpaste:

Add the remaining ingredients and mix!

I smell banana bread!!!

Find more helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes! Check out MY past Kitchen Tip Tuesday posts HERE

Find more ideas over at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family. MY previous Works for Me Wednesday posts are HERE.

Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer.

it’s easy to cook dinner. what’s difficult is to cook dinner EVERY DAY.

I’ve been cooking dinner. Every day. And I’m not talking frozen, microwavable meals.

this is a big deal people.

Yesterday, I made Pork Tenderloin Diane for the first time since I originally posted the recipe back in January.

It’s a fast, easy, cheap recipe with a light sauce made from deglazing a pan with lemon juice, Worcester sauce and Dijon mustard. Except I didn’t have any lemon juice. FirstHusband (a sauce man) said he would substitute Sprite, but that just seemed too sweet. I googled “substitute lemon juice” and found a suggestion to use vinegar – but half the needed amount. I was doubling the sauce for this recipe and it called for a total of four tablespoons of lemon juice so I used two tablespoons of vinegar.

PERFECT. The sauce tasted exactly as I remembered it and everyone liked it – even PinkGirl!

I’m definitely going to remember this because I probably won’t remember to buy lemon juice in the near future. I know me. But vinegar is a great substitute for lemon juice when used in small amounts.

And I wouldn’t substitute vinegar if I was making lemonade from scratch.

Me. make lemonade from scratch. yeah. that’ll happen.

Find more helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes! Check out MY past Kitchen Tip Tuesday posts HERE

EASY Easter Bunny Cake

Wilton also makes this great Easter Bunny cake pan as an alternative.
Wilton also makes this great Easter Bunny cake pan as an alternative.

I originally blogged about this Easter Bunny Cake back in April 2009, but every year around Easter, it’s my most popular post. If you make it, post a link to a photo or comment and let me know how it turned out!

Growing up, my mom often made an Easter Bunny cake like the one below for Easter. My favorite version of this cake is dark chocolate with white icing, covered in coconut!

Like a GIANT Mounds bar – but BETTER!
(page down for more decorating ideas)


Check out this great 8 day devotional and activity guide to help families teach their little ones that Easter is about more than candy and Easter Bunnies!
Check out this great 8 day devotional and activity guide to help families teach their little ones that Easter is about more than candy and Easter Bunnies!


Bake a cake, any cake, in two round cake pans. (Mine will be dark chocolate, in case I neglected to mention that. There is no reason for me to eat cake unless it is chocolate.) Let it cool and then cut it like you see in the photo on the left, below. On the serving plate (my mom always used a piece of cardboard covered in aluminum foil), CAREFULLY arrange it like the photo on the right, below. I’ve also seen the cake arranged so that one of the bunny ears is lopsided. Very cute.



Then, frost and decorate! My mom always frosted it white and covered it with coconut shavings as a base. Dark chocolate cake with coconut – mmmm – just like a Mounds bar. But CAKE!

Here’s some more decorating ideas:

I really like the whiskers and mouth on this one to the left, but I think it’s because it reminds me of a cat – which makes me wonder if this is an easy convert to a black cat cake! DOUBLE DARK CHOCOLATE. (Although at that point, it would be so rich I wouldn’t be able to finish a piece.)

Scroll down and check out a retro, kid friendly how-to video from ZOOM, a PBS show I used to watch as a kid! A Zooma Zooma Zooma Zoom!

The one on the left below looks the most like what we made when I was a kid, and I really like the ears on the one on the right. Are those red hot candies?



This next one on the left has GREAT eyes! And they don’t look too difficult. Love the strong Red Twist outline of the bow tie on the one to the right. I think I would take my favorite parts of each of these guys and put them all together on one cake. Dark chocolate, of course.



Easter Bunny Cake Revisited.

According to my WordPress Stats, I should highlight a post I wrote last year about how to create an Easter bunny shaped cake. In the month of February, that post shows 310 views and in just the first 8 days of March, it has had 149 views!

So, if you want to make a bunny cake for Easter, check out my post entitled “Easter Bunny Cake” from April 8th of 2009 for photos of different decorating ideas.

My favorite is a dark chocolate cake with shredded coconut all over the icing. Like a giant Mounds candy bar.

Menu Planning Monday 01.04.09

I have high hopes. Menu Planning. mmm hmmm. It’s easy to write a menu plan. What’s difficult is to write a menu plan EVERY WEEK. Here goes:

Monday – White Chicken Chili, Salad

Tuesday – Grilled Pork Chops, Cous Cous, Steamed Broccoli w/Cheese

Wednesday – Wet Enchilladas, Corn, Campbells Select Harvest Southwestern Style Soup

Thursday – Spaghetti Florentine, Salad, Garlic Bread

Friday – Cream Cheese Chicken (Burrito Style), Chips & Queso

Saturday – Pork Tenderloin Diane, Italian Green Beans, Wild Rice

Sunday – Paella

AND? I’ve also made bake ahead egg patties this week! So breakfast for the entire week is already cooked, cut, in the fridge and waiting to be nuked! It’s gonna be BUSY and I’m trying to be READY.

Want to score some free menu planning? Have a menu plan you want to share? Check out Menu Planning Monday hosted by Laura at Organizing Junkie.