Monday, July 28, 2014

Homemade Play-Doh

Homemade Play-Doh | Aunt Bee's Recipes

         Last week my daughter injured her ankle.  Thankfully it wasn't broken but she did have a severe sprain and contusion.  This led to a week of her missing out on swimming, playing outside with her friends and just about everything else a 9 year old likes to do during the last few weeks of Summer break.  While I typically limit television, nintendo, computer time and any other electronic devices to small amounts throughout the week, to encourage more active play and imagination, when the children are sick or injured, all bets are off.  

Even though she was hurting, the first 2 days she really enjoyed unlimited Mario and Frozen on repeat :-)

and then..... she got bored.   So I had to get creative :-)

I remembered this homemade play-doh we made a few months ago on a rainy day and even though it made a bit of a mess, my kids (ages 9 and 4) had a BLAST making and playing with it!  Worked like a charm!  

Homemade Play-Doh | Aunt Bee's Recipes

Homemade Play-Doh (source)

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
Up to 1.5 cups boiling water (adding in increments until it feels just right)
food coloring
few drops glycerin 
Directions
Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl
Add food coloring TO the boiling water then into the dry ingredients
Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough
Add the glycerin
Allow it to cool down then take it out of the bowl and knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness has gone. This is the most important part of the process, so keep at it until it’s the perfect consistency! MY KIDS LOVED THIS PART! :-)
If it remains a little sticky then add a little more flour until it just feels right (We had to do this several times)





Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Honey Dijon Braised Chicken

Honey Dijon Braised Chicken | Aunt Bee's Recipes

         We eat chicken 4 times a week at least!  I am always coming up with new and different flavor combinations.  We had this chicken one day last week and it got 2 thumbs up from every one of us!  The little bit we had leftover made AH-MAZING chicken quesadillas the next day! The only thing I will do different next time is double the recipe! We served this chicken with a green salad and mashed potatoes!  You MUST serve this chicken with mashed potatoes!  Oh my gravy, the gravy!!!!  

Honey Dijon Braised Chicken

Ingredients
2 Tbsp oil
salt and pepper
4 chicken breast (We used boneless, skinless)
1 large onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup liquid honey
2 tbsp of dijon mustard
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 lemon, juiced
fresh parsley or green onions for garnish
Directions
Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat.  Sprinkle chicken breast with salt and pepper and add to the pan once oil is hot.  Leave it alone and brown for 3 minutes on each side.  Remove chicken from pan and add onions.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Add water to the onions and garlic and stir up any browned bits of flavor.  Next add thyme, honey, dijon mustard, soy sauce, and lemon juice.  Stir to combine and place chicken breasts back in the pot down in the sauce.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Every 10 minutes, stir and turn the chicken over and baste in the sauce.  Garnish with fresh parsley or green onions and serve with mashed potatoes and lots of gravy!  

Other recipes you may like:


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ground Beef Stroganoff

Ground Beef Stroganoff | Aunt Bee's Recipes

        We were getting ready to eat one of our favorite comfort food dinners the other night when I realized I didn't have this recipe on my blog!  I couldn't believe it!  Then I went to snap a quick pic of my hubby's plate and saw how NOT PHOTOGENIC this recipe is and realized why I hadn't felt the urge to blog it before.  But I promise you, what this meal lacks in the looks department, it more than makes up for with TASTE!  *Bonus* It makes a super quick weeknight meal!  This time we served it with Southern Style Green Peas and cucumber and tomato slices!

Ground Beef Stroganoff
Ingredients
1 lb ground beef
1 bell pepper, diced
8 oz mushrooms sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups whole milk
8 oz sour cream
12 oz egg noodles, cooked
salt and pepper to taste
Directions
Brown ground beef with bell pepper and mushrooms.  Drain off excess grease and add onions to mixture. Cook for a couple of minutes until onions are softened then add garlic.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the mushrooms soup and milk.  Stir until incorporated and heated through. Stir in sour cream, cooked egg noodles and salt and pepper.  Serve!  <3


Monday, July 21, 2014

{stir-fry} Chicken Fajita Salad

{stir fry} Chicken Fajita Salads

            This is our new favorite weeknight meal!  It seriously comes together in 20 minutes and is so tasty, we have had it 3 times over the past few weeks!  I came up with the idea to stir fry the chicken because I forgot to marinade the chicken for grilling and it turned out SO delicious! We have been making Fajita Chicken Salads with this chicken, but it also makes THE BEST chicken fajitas!

{stir fry} Chicken Fajitas
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1 lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp worcestershire
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp hickory liquid smoke
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 chicken breasts, cut into fajita meat sized strips
Directions
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and pour into a skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir often, and cook until the sauce is reduced and cooked completely into the chicken.  

Fajita Peppers and onions
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp oil
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
salt
Directions
Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over high heat.  When very hot, add onions and bell peppers and stir as little as possible for the first couple of minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until they are as done as desired.  Add salt to taste.  

For Chicken Fajita Salads
Layer in order:
Tostada shells, warmed
refried beans, warmed
shredded cheese
lettuce
Fajita Chicken
Fajita Peppers and Onions
more cheese
dressing (we like ranch or catelina!)
salsa 
sour cream

For Fajitas we set up a little Mexican Taco Bar with: tortillas, fajita chicken, fajita peppers and onions, corn, mexican rice, refried beans, shredded cheese, lettuce, salsa, and sour cream!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Phone Case Made Out of Rubber Bands!

 
              I had to share this with you guys!  My phone case was broken and my daughter surprised me and made me one out of rubber bands!!!  (Like the kinds kids are making all the bracelets with!)  I thought it was so cute, I had to share!  I will link to the video with instructions she followed to make the cover!  The instructions were for an iphone 5 and I have an iphone 4 so she made mine a little smaller!  (She added the hole for my camera after we snapped the pics!)  Hope y'all are having a fabulous Friday!  Here is the video with instructions!  >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVjnFHUdGIo


Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies



My sweet friend Nicole was one of my very first blogger friends!  We started our blogs around the same time and it has been so much fun to grow together!  Her blog is wonderful and her specialty is DESSERTS, especially cheesecakes! Oh and in her spare time she is also studying towards her PhD in Biochemistry/Neuroscience.  Not too shabby huh? I was SO thrilled when she offered to do a guest post for my blog!  And OH MY GOODNESS is this a great recipe!  Here is Nicole from PicNic!

~~~

Aunt Bee's Recipes is my absolute favorite food blog so I am delighted to have created this recipe just for Aunt Bee and her readers. I knew straight away that I wanted to create a dessert recipe. Something both decadent but simple to make, something cooks at any level could whip up with ease. I think this Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie ticks all the right boxes. 

The brownie has a fantastic thick, fudgy texture. It would be great on it's own too, especially with some chocolate chips or nuts added!


Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies
Makes 20 pieces

Brownie:

200 g (7 oz) butter
200 g (7 oz) quality dark chocolate
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup plain flour
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract

Cheesecake:

500 g (18 oz) cream cheese
1/3 Cup sugar (caster/superfine would be best)
1 Cup smooth peanut butter
1 Cup cream, whipped

1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line the base of a slice pan with baking paper. Make sure there is some paper overhanging the sides to make it easy to lift out of the tin at the end.

2. Make the brownie by melting the chocolate together with the butter before whisking in the sugar and eggs. Sift in the flour and cocoa and stir well to combine. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool (leave it in the pan).

3. Make the cheesecake by beating together the cream cheese, sugar, and peanut butter until light and lump free. Fold in the whipped cream and spread the mixture over the cooled brownie.

4. Cover and refrigerate until set. Once set, lift out of the tin and cut into small squares and enjoy!

~~~
Amazing right?  You can follow Nicole here:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Blogger Inspiration Part 2: Deep South Dish

        

       I am SO thrilled to talk to you about a blog that I have followed for YEARS.  Not only do I credit Deep South Dish for inspiring me to start my own blog, I feel like Mary was one of the folks that taught me how to cook! I remember the first time I came across Deep South Dish.  I was a new mom and a working mom and I wanted our family to eat homemade meals, but I was still learning.  After much (much) trial and error, I realized the crock pot was my friend.  I started scouring the internet for slow cooker recipes and landed on her Crockpot Ropa Vieja (Latin Style Beef).  I had a hard time buying that you could make flank steak in the crock pot.... well Mary made a believer out of me!  I can honestly say, I have probably made more than 50 recipes off her site and every single one of them turned out spectacular.  I think it is kind of funny that a Spanish style slow cooker recipe is the first one I made of Mary's when she is SO well known for her southern style cuisine!  

        I was a huge fan of hers from that first recipe.  Since then I have read her blog from beginning to end and I can tell you, not only is Mary's food TOP NOTCH.  The way she writes, its like no other.  There is nothing fake about her.  She is as real as it gets and when you read her blog, its like you are sitting at her kitchen table drinking a tall glass of sweet tea having a conversation!   I gotta tell you though, when I stumbled upon her facebook page last year, and saw the way she interacted with and made time for her MANY, MANY fans: 'liking', commenting and answering every single question so courteously, I knew she was not only a food blogger, but a Southern lady, that I wanted to be more like!  

        Whenever I tell someone about the Deep South Dish blog, they always ask me the same question: What are my favorite recipes off her site, so here they are!  
1) Mississippi Roast My Way
2) Brown Sugar and Mustard Glazed Baked Ham
         Mary, MADE MY YEAR, by letting me interview her for the blog!   Y'all are in for a treat! (I made the recipes we discuss below, hyperlinks to save y'all time cuz I KNOW y'all are gonna want them for your own collection!)

What made you decide to write your very first blog post and what was the recipe?
I would love to say that my first recipe was Mama’s banana pudding or her red velvet cake, chicken and dumplings or fried chicken, but those actually came later. I’m not sure what my first "Southern" recipe was, because Deep South Dish wasn’t my first venture into blogging and the recipes evolved from that. Let me flashback to 2005… I actually had a long term and pretty glamorous career in the legal field for many years –an important corporate position, supervising others and managing multiple cases, along with the opportunity to go on trips and travel around the country in our corporate jet for trials. Then Hurricane Katrina came along and among thousands of others, my life was changed overnight. Because my company decided to move corporate operations west, and I didn’t want to go, I lost my job, and an awfully nice income. Shortly after that the economy tanked and finding work became an impossible task.
One day I was searching the internet for something, went down a few rabbit trails as we tend to do and discovered a variety of general interest blogs that I started reading. Soon after, I decided to start one to occupy my mind and my time and found that I enjoyed being able to talk to the world in a blog – even if it was to myself. Then a funny thing happened. People started commenting and I realized there were folks reading my blog. Somewhere along the line I shared a recipe, and then another, and another and soon the recipes sort of took on a life of their own and led to my creating Deep South Dish, a place where I could focus on mostly Southern recipes, and share what I was cooking from my kitchen every day.
How long after you started blogging, would you say, it became more of a part time job/full time job and less of a hobby?
I had always enjoyed writing and cooking, but when I began blogging more about recipes than general topics, and moved my recipes over to a dedicated Southern recipe page - that, is when, the potential of doing them both for a living became very real. First, like many other beginning bloggers, I adapted the recipes of others, but then, as I began to dive into cooking, researching and writing my own recipes from scratch, and sharing them along with my memories  – that was when I knew this was my passion.
I have heard it said that you should find a career that involves doing something that you love and have passion for, and then the money will come. I found that to be so true. I’ve received letters from folks looking for advice from me, thinking that they could just slam up a website of recipes, stick some advertising on it and make millions in zero time. It just ain’t so. It takes hard work, and, it takes time, and if you aren’t truly passionate about what you’re doing, you’re not being authentic, and when you aren’t authentic, it shows.
You started your blog before facebook and pinterest had taken over the world.   To a newbie blogger like myself, it blows my mind to think of doing it that way today.  How did you get your blog out there then?  
The blogging world was the social media of the day back then and for people to know who you were, you had to spend a lot of time and effort, visiting and socializing with other bloggers, who in turn would visit and socialize with you as would their readers. It was quite a lot of work! That still goes on, of course, but social media made the ability to communicate with those and many other people much more widespread and efficient.
What did you eat yesterday?  Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks etc...  (This is so fun to ask!)
This is going to sound so cliché for a Southern recipe blogger, but I actually had a fried chicken breakfast biscuit! Now… I usually eat 2 eggs, scrambled, with a piece of whole wheat toast almost every single day, but yesterday, since my husband and I had 4th of July plans that fell through, I decided at the last minute to do a whole bbq menu. I got up, had a quick coffee and made a trip to the grocery store early in the morning, before the crowds, and even before eating breakfast. I saw some Tyson Southern Style Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches in the freezer section, they sounded awfully good so I grabbed those and stuck one in the microwave as soon as I got back home to start the ribs. It was delicious! I’m guessing you know what came next… I prepared all my favorite, homemade cookout foods; 2 racks of ribs, baked beans, potato salad and because I couldn’t decide between the two, macaroni salad, Silver King corn on the cob, marinated tomatoes, Texas toast and iced tea. For dessert I just pulled some pineapple sherbet from the freezer, because I no longer had room in the fridge to store the strawberry cake I had planned to make!
As a newbie blogger, I am astounded at the time I am spending on social media trying to get myself out there.  How much time do you spend on the computer a day/week?
I blog full time now, so it’s my career and trust me, it’s not 9 to 5. It’s just my husband and me these days, so I get up early in the morning, have my coffee, eat breakfast and work on blog related activities literally all day – either with social media shares, responding to comments there and on the blog, or researching and developing recipes, shopping, cooking, writing posts and working on behind the scenes stuff like coding. Family always comes first though. Always. Sometimes I take breaks to do chores and take care of personal things. Sometimes I take afternoons off to spend with my grandkids. Sometimes I just take a whole day off to myself to have a breather, or to spend the day with my husband or my family, and I always try to take weekends off… with the exception of cooking. Truth is, I work on my blog like I did my previous career – constantly. If my creative energies are flowing in the evening, I work at night, and sometimes late at night. I seriously have awakened in the middle of the night with a recipe or an idea that I had to get up and take action on. Honestly, I don’t know that I really want to truly know just how much  time I actually spend on my blog, whether it’s in front of the computer, or in some other capacity, but when you are able to do something you love and you’re passionate about, but still stay focused on the other important people and things in your life, it’s all good.
How many new recipes do you develop a month?
I don’t really have a number – I write as the inspiration comes and it might start with an email, a cookbook, a magazine or something I’ve seen on television. I’ll see something that inspires me, I start researching and from that I write my own version from scratch before cooking it. Sometimes my first writing hits right on target, more often there are several revisions before I am happy enough that I feel it’s worthy to publish.  There have been times where I have written, and cooked, six new recipes - in one day! I allow my creative juices dictate when and how I write and sometimes it does kick into high gear.
What is your favorite local restaurant and favorite out of town restaurant?
We don’t eat out much at all and we rarely go out of town unless it’s a quick specific purpose – like last weekend I had a quick flight to Dallas for a wedding. We do have a hole in the wall, local buffet restaurant here called Hartz Chicken Buffet, where they serve buffet style fried and baked chicken, gizzards and livers, and catfish, but my favorite part is that there are always many different salads and vegetable choices, and that’s what I load up my plate with – carrot salad, green pea salad, potato salads, coleslaw, butter beans, black-eyed peas, mashed potatoes and chicken gravy, buttered corn, green beans, cabbage, fried okra, greens, cornbread and yeast rolls. For dessert they always have some kind of cobbler and soft serve ice cream with all the toppings.  Good, homemade food, under ten bucks - you really can’t beat it. I do love that place and when I want a big plate of veggies, with a side of chicken, we go there.
If you had only 1 meal left, what would you pick?
Speaking of which … hands down, no doubt it would be juicy, tender and crispy fried chicken, homemade mashed potatoes and chicken gravy, slow stewed green beans, sliced Creole tomatoes with salt, pepper and a dab of mayonnaise, homemade yeast rolls with honey butter, sweet tea and peach cobbler with homemade vanilla custard ice cream. What a way to go!
What is the all time most popular recipe on your website?
Because sharing past posts on social media generates traffic to them, it’s difficult to determine statistically what are the true, most popular posts and there are actually several that are very popular. I think the number one has to be the Chicken and Dumpling Casserole.  It’s a unique casserole form of chicken and dumplings that is super easy, fast and tasty and since I first published it in 2009 and it has held its own in popularity. The Fall Off The Bone Oven Baked Ribs, Bacony Chicken and Rice, Baked Spaghetti and Salmon Patties are all very popular too.
Other than www.auntbeesrecipes.com (wink wink), What are some of your other favorite food blogs to read?
When I first started blogging I had much more time to visit and socialize with other bloggers, and I do have a few that I manage to swing by occasionally, but as my own site has expanded and grown, I spend far more time in recipe development and unfortunately don’t have time to visit like I once did. Thankfully, many of them understand and they come and visit me and help me to stay connected and for that I am grateful.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Isn't she spectacular?  Here are the ways you can follow Deep South Dish: