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I wanted to do something special with the kids today, so I thought COOKIES. But of course my boyfriend’s house doesn’t have the necessary ingredients. I did, however, have a cake mix handy. I took about a quarter cup of mix out to add in case it was too thin then added two eggs and about a third cup of oil to the rest of the box mix. The cookies are delicious plain, but I turned the grown up batch into snicker doodles and let the kids decorate some for daddy. :-)

I know this isn’t a meal idea, but I figured I would give it a shot.  See my crazy face?  Yeah, my boyfriend wouldn’t kiss me while it looked like some giant had splooged on me.

Remember when pore strips actually worked?  Me too.  NOW you can do it at home TO YOUR WHOLE FACE.  And for cheap!

One packet of UNFLAVORED gelatin (4 packets come in a box, it’s about 1 tablespoon)

Stir in about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of milk

MIX, MIX, MIX quickly! It turns into gelatin really quickly.

Microwave about 10 seconds (I skipped this part, I won’t do that again).

Spread over your face.  I’m pretty sure mine was so lumpy because I didn’t microwave it, it’s supposed to make it creamier.

After about 10 minutes or so, you won’t be able to laugh.  Five minutes after that, talking won’t happen either.  When it gets real tight and hard, peel the sucker off!  Your skin will be SUPER smooth!

We got cheap, easy, and a crowd pleaser!  Chicken pot pie isn’t really difficult no matter what, but Progresso makes it ridiculously easy.  Like prep time is less than 10 minutes, you throw it in the oven, and enjoy a delicious meal in 35 minutes.

The first pic is the can of Progresso.  It’s a meal starter - THE RECIPE IS ON THE CAN.  The only things you need that you probably don’t already have is a bag of mixed veggies and a rotisserie chicken.  I actually used southern hashbrowns and corn because I don’t do peas and carrots. but to each their own.  From your cupboard, you will need poultry seasoning, flour, salt, and pepper. 

There’s a bunch of other “meal starter” soups from Progresso, so check them out.  I found it at WalMart, but didn’t see it at my local grocery store.

So my friend’s birthday is tomorrow, and we have ladies league at the pool hall.  I’ve been known as the cake girl for years now, and everyone feels like they can just request shit.  And they can.  Because unless someone special-orders something, I most likely have no problem putting something quick and easy together for them.  This weekend, I am ridiculously lazy.  I have played my little-miss-suzy-homemaker role all week and have worked overtime, (yes, I’m a nanny, it’s still work).  I really just want to curl up into a ball on my boyfriend’s bed and cry with a bunch of Kit-Kat bars while watching Law and Order SVU marathons.  Or Criminal Minds.  Or NCIS.  However, I know she will be disappointed if she doesn’t receive cupcakes from me, so here we go.

Any chocolate cake mix will do, I used dark chocolate.  (Told you, lazy).  When there’s about 4 minutes left or so on the cupcakes, put a large marshmallow on each and return to oven.  Let it puff up and melt a little, you can move them around if need be.  Garnish with a piece of graham cracker and VOILA. 

Pan-Fried Cube Steaks

Okay, not healthy at all.  There’s breading and oil and salt and gravy… but OH MY GOD is it good!  This is one of those go-to southern comfort foods that every fat kid loves.  I served it with smashed red potatoes and corn.

Recipe

About a cup of flour

Some garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper… and I probably added some oregano or something.  I just add all kinds of shit, but you could probably just add a packet of dry Italian dressing seasoning and be good.  Or ranch would be good!

Coat each side of the cube steak (no egg wash needed unless you want a thick breading) and lay on a floured plate.

Put a large skillet on the big eye on your stove and let it heat up, add enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  The easiest way to figure out if the oil is hot enough is to touch the bottom of the pan with a chopstick, or any wooden utensil.  It will sizzle when it’s hot enough.  Once it’s hot, add about a tablespoon of butter and let it sizzle and pop.  Add 3-4 cube steaks and brown for 2-3 minutes until the sides start to brown.  Flip to the other side using tongs and let it bleed out.  Once the juices run clear and it isn’t bleeding, it’s done.  You may want to do another flip rotation.

The finished product should be moist, but not super tender.  That’s what the gravy is for, duh!  I promise all your husbands and boyfriends will love this dish, but you may want to surround it with healthy meals throughout the week!

This is a great summer lunch food!  Healthy, light, and delicious!

Fresh Italian bread

Whipped cream cheese

English cucumber

Alfalfa sprouts

Salt and pepper

Thinly spread cream cheese over a slice of Italian bread and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Layer cucumber slices and alfalfa sprouts.  I also occasionally add a shred of deli sliced buffalo chicken for a protein kick.

Each slice will yield about 80 calories minus the chicken.  Also think about adding avocado or tomato slices!

It’s hydrangea season!  Why not make a cake (or cupcakes) that resemble the summer flower?  My best friend’s birthday was smack dab in the middle of a busy week inside a busy month for me, but her boyfriend requested my chocolate cake… so I figured I’d get it banged out all easy and junk.  I am absolutely in love with the hydrangea technique and it’s SOOO easy.  I don’t care if you never decorated anything in your life, you can do this… and there’s a wow factor.  Use any cake recipe or cake mix you desire, I used chocolate because it was requested and because I was using a vanilla buttercream. 
Vanilla Buttercream
2Cups vegetable shortening
1TBS meringue powder
1TBS vanilla extract (preferably clear)
1TBS butter flavoring
2-4TBS water
4Cups confectioners sugar
Combine the first four ingredients plus 2Tbs of water and mix with hand mixer.  Make sure this is well blended, you mixing oil and water here.  Add confectioners sugar one cup at a time, blending completely before adding more.  It will start to thicken, add wee bits of water as needed.  Be careful though, it can’t be runny to use for decorating.
This recipe is for one pound of frosting.  I made two.  One pound with Wilton’s Violet food coloring and the other with Sky Blue.  I made a three layer cake and used purple to fill one layer and blue for the other. 
Now, get out your pastry bag and 2D Wilton decorating tip.  You don’t need a coupler for this tip.  Layer in violet then sky blue buttercream, trying to get them mostly side by side instead of on top of each other.  This will cause both colors to come out simultaneously for the effect of a hydrangea.  Also consider using light pink, as there are so many hydrangea color combinations.  Just google it.  Keep the tip perpendicular to the surface, squeeze, stop, pull.  Start at the bottom and spin the cake, spiraling upward.  The entire decorating process took me about ten minutes on a three layer cake, but even a novice can do it within 30 minutes.  It’s super easy and super cute!
Zoom Info
Camera
iPhone 4S
ISO
200
Aperture
f/2.4
Exposure
1/20th
Focal Length
4mm

It’s hydrangea season!  Why not make a cake (or cupcakes) that resemble the summer flower?  My best friend’s birthday was smack dab in the middle of a busy week inside a busy month for me, but her boyfriend requested my chocolate cake… so I figured I’d get it banged out all easy and junk.  I am absolutely in love with the hydrangea technique and it’s SOOO easy.  I don’t care if you never decorated anything in your life, you can do this… and there’s a wow factor.  Use any cake recipe or cake mix you desire, I used chocolate because it was requested and because I was using a vanilla buttercream. 

Vanilla Buttercream

2Cups vegetable shortening

1TBS meringue powder

1TBS vanilla extract (preferably clear)

1TBS butter flavoring

2-4TBS water

4Cups confectioners sugar

Combine the first four ingredients plus 2Tbs of water and mix with hand mixer.  Make sure this is well blended, you mixing oil and water here.  Add confectioners sugar one cup at a time, blending completely before adding more.  It will start to thicken, add wee bits of water as needed.  Be careful though, it can’t be runny to use for decorating.

This recipe is for one pound of frosting.  I made two.  One pound with Wilton’s Violet food coloring and the other with Sky Blue.  I made a three layer cake and used purple to fill one layer and blue for the other. 

Now, get out your pastry bag and 2D Wilton decorating tip.  You don’t need a coupler for this tip.  Layer in violet then sky blue buttercream, trying to get them mostly side by side instead of on top of each other.  This will cause both colors to come out simultaneously for the effect of a hydrangea.  Also consider using light pink, as there are so many hydrangea color combinations.  Just google it.  Keep the tip perpendicular to the surface, squeeze, stop, pull.  Start at the bottom and spin the cake, spiraling upward.  The entire decorating process took me about ten minutes on a three layer cake, but even a novice can do it within 30 minutes.  It’s super easy and super cute!

Oven Roasted Potatoes
Okay, not the healthiest side dish in the book… but SOOO good!  Matt ate 2/3 of the entire dish.  Super easy side for almost any entree.
Recipe
3 Yukon Gold potatoes
2 Red potatoes
1/4 shredded cheese (whatever your like)
2 tsp grated Parmesan
Olive oil, salt, pepper, dried parsley
(I don’t do a lot of measuring… I go mostly by visuals and taste, but I’m pretty good at guessing!)
Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces and boil until FORK TENDER.  We aren’t mashing them.  Leave the skin on, it’s prettier.  Strain and let cool.
Drizzle olive oil into foil-covered baking sheet.  Spread with fingers.  Sprinkle salt and pepper all over.  Dump potato pieces on baking sheet and spread so there’s only one layer.  Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over them.  Roast at 400 for about 12 minutes, turn potatoes, roast another 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with a few dashes of Parmesan cheese and a little bit of shredded cheese.  Roast for about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, turn potatoes, add remaining cheeses.  Roast another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle dried parsley and serve piping hot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
This recipe yields about 4 servings and about 170 calories per serving.
Zoom Info
Camera
iPhone 4S
ISO
800
Aperture
f/2.4
Exposure
1/15th
Focal Length
4mm

Oven Roasted Potatoes

Okay, not the healthiest side dish in the book… but SOOO good!  Matt ate 2/3 of the entire dish.  Super easy side for almost any entree.

Recipe

3 Yukon Gold potatoes

2 Red potatoes

1/4 shredded cheese (whatever your like)

2 tsp grated Parmesan

Olive oil, salt, pepper, dried parsley

(I don’t do a lot of measuring… I go mostly by visuals and taste, but I’m pretty good at guessing!)

Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces and boil until FORK TENDER.  We aren’t mashing them.  Leave the skin on, it’s prettier.  Strain and let cool.

Drizzle olive oil into foil-covered baking sheet.  Spread with fingers.  Sprinkle salt and pepper all over.  Dump potato pieces on baking sheet and spread so there’s only one layer.  Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over them.  Roast at 400 for about 12 minutes, turn potatoes, roast another 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with a few dashes of Parmesan cheese and a little bit of shredded cheese.  Roast for about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, turn potatoes, add remaining cheeses.  Roast another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle dried parsley and serve piping hot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe yields about 4 servings and about 170 calories per serving.

Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream…ish

I think it has more of a gelato texture to it. The banana flavor was a little intense, but could probably be diluted with some milk.  I chose to do a lactose free version.  I also crumbled 100 Calorie Fudge Shoppe cookies over top of my serving to add texture.  I would definitely suggest toppings.  This is a super healthy alternative to store bought ice cream, and surprisingly easy to make!

Recipe

4 Ripe Bananas; sliced 1/4-1/2 inch

Just over a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder

About two tablespoons of peanut butter to taste

Toppings optional

Freeze the sliced bananas on a baking sheet for about two hours or until solid. Feed into food processor on pulse.  They will start to resemble popcorn then pebbles, I added a dash of water to help cream them but milk would work as well.  Even a bit of applesauce maybe.  After bananas are creamed, add cocoa and peanut butter and continue to pulse until mixed thoroughly.  The immediate product will be like froyo, gelato after freezing.

This recipe yields *about* five servings and averages to 70 calories per serving.

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