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Soup’s On!

So I don’t really like soup. Or rather when I was younger I hated soup and every year I start to like soup a little more. Since I thought I hated soup I never tried to make soup. Tonight though, I decided I was going to make soup, eat the soup and maybe, just maybe like the soup. It has been very cold here, for me that is, and I have been craving something warm and cozy. So I decided that I was going to make soup to kill that craving. Since I am not in love with soup, I should try something hearty and filling to ease me into soup. I settled on taco soup. It is full of veggies, beans and meat, and of course I added cheese. So here is the recipe, which I got from Paula Deen. It is fantastic, and now I have a new recipe, a new soup recipe for the cold days and nights.


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
  • 2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
  • 1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
  • 1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
  • Corn chips, for serving
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Grated cheese, for garnish
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish
  • Pickled jalapenos, for garnish


Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.


* Note, I don’t have a crockpot so I definitely simmered on the stove. I also used diced chicken breast instead of ground beef because that’s what I had on hand.



Because 3 is better than 1

More is better. Almost always. I had such a great day I decided to cook and bake. This is usually hard for me because it requires double the focus, and attention to detail is not exactly my strong suit. But I was feeling ambitious. So for dinner I had Firecracker Chicken, a sweet and spicy Asian inspired dish. Then I made cinnamon rolls and sugar cookies that looked like candy corn! And candy corn is one of my favorite candies, so I couldn’t go wrong with cookies that look like my favorite candy!

So first the chicken. I LOVE spicy food, and this was SPICY! yum! It is so pretty with the spicy glaze once it comes out of the oven. Be advised that as the glaze dries, it hardens and is sticky! Here is the recipe (taken from )

*Serves 4-6

2-4 tablespoons canola oil
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs, beaten

1/3 cup hot sauce (like Frank’s brand for hot wings, for instance)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Place the cornstarch in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Put the chicken into the bag with the cornstarch and seal, tossing to coat the chicken. Whisk the eggs together in a shallow pie plate. Dip the cornstarch-coated chicken pieces in the egg and place them carefully in a single layer in the hot skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then flip each piece over to cook on the other side until nicely golden but not all the way cooked through. Place in a single layer in a 9X13-inch baking dish and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour over the chicken in the baking dish. Bake for one hour, turning the chicken once or twice while cooking to coat evenly with sauce. Serve over hot, steamed rice.

Then there were cinnamon rolls….In the interest of space I will just post the link to the recipe and the pictures I took. Also, I don’t use the frosting included with the recipe…I had some cream cheese frosting and I melted it so I could glaze my rolls. Just beware because these ARE delicious. Seriously delicious, especially if you steal one away right after they come out of the oven.

And last, candy corn. and cookies. Candy corn cookies. These are probably one the cutest and yet simplest cookies I have seen for Halloween. I mean simple, to get that great shape and all. And they are bite sized so don’t feel bad when you eat 2 or 3…or 5. Recipe:

Here is the dough after I let it chill for 2 hours and turned it out of the loaf pan. I thought it was so cute that I couldn’t resist the pictures!

Here are my candy corn to be. How easy this is to just cut the dough into slices and the slices into rectangles! They look just like candy corn to me!

Done! So stinking cute!

Wrapped and ready to go!

Now go into your kitchen and start getting ready. I promise you these recipes are worth it…unless you hate cinnamon rolls and sugar cookies, and spicy things…then I promise that you can make them for some lucky person and they will love you because they will be in heaven eating this stuff. Enjoy!

Brown sugar and garlic? Sounds like a winner

So I actually wasn’t going to cook anything fancy or special today…I already had some baked chicken in the fridge. But I wasn’t feeling it (I will probably use it for salad tomorrow). I saw a recipe on pinterest (and boy do I see recipes on pinterest!) for baked garlic and brown sugar chicken. It is simple and tasty. It actually tastes like it belongs with some asian stir fry vegetables, so maybe I will think about this as a marinade for meat in an Asian inspired dish another time. Anyways… here is the link to the recipe and pictures follow…

Mince 4 cloves of garlic


Sautee garlic in about 3 tablespoons of oil ( I actually used grapeseed oil, yummy!) Then take off heat and stir in the brown sugar.


Put the chicken in a lightly greased dish and cover with the garlic sugar mixture.


Bake in oven (at 500, and I do mean 500 degrees!) for about 20 minutes (this is a little more dependent on how thick your chicken breast are).

Ta-da! (as one of my students would say) I put my chicken with some brown rice and it was sure tasty!


Mini red velvet cupcakes

I love to cook. It relaxes me and definitely gives me something to do in free and not so free time.

Today I made Red velvet cupcakes. Mini. The recipe is from Southern Living. the first time I used this recipe I made cake balls…and those turned out fabulous! Here is the link to the recipe…and here are pictures of my process. Oh and by the way, I didn’t use the recipe for the amaretto frosting included in the recipe…I had some cream cheese frosting on hand.

First, I beat the butter (*Note, I only made half a batch, so the amounts in the pictures will look small)

Add the sugar and then beat into the butter.


Then add the eggs one by one…


Next add the vanilla and red food coloring.

Then add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately into the red butter mix. I forgot to take pictures of this part! Spoon into muffin tin and bake…

Let cool completely and frost. Ta-da!