Saturday, June 28, 2014

Swig Sugar Cookies

Swig Sugar Cookies
The famous Swig Cookie Copycat recipe. Soft sugar cookie with amazing frosting!
  • 1 Cup Butter, softened
  • ¾ C Vegetable Oil
  • 1¼ C Sugar (plus ¼ cup reserved)
  • ¾ C Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T Water
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ t Baking Soda
  • ½ t Cream of Tarter
  • 1 t Salt
  • 5½ C Flour
  • Frosting:
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ C Sour Cream
  • 5 Cups powdered Sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • ¼ C Milk
  • Red Food Coloring
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cream of tarter, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, vegetable oil, sugar (1¼ C), powdered sugar, and water. Add in eggs.
  3. Slowly add in flour mixture until combined. Roll the dough into golf sized balls and place onto a non stick cookie sheet.
  4. To give the cookies their signature rough edge, dip the bottom of a glass into the reserved ¼ cup sugar and press onto the cookie ball to flatten the cookie. You still want the cookie to be thicker so don’t press them to thin.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the bottom is lightly brown. The cookies stay soft so do not over bake.
  6. To make the frosting: Cream together butter, sour cream, and salt. Add the powdered sugar. Add in the milk to the desired consistency. Spread over cooled cookies and store in an airtight container.

Monday, June 23, 2014


1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar + an extra 2 tablespoons
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
for the glaze-
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and set aside.
Cream butter and 1/2 cup sugar together in stand mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in egg, vanilla, lemon extra and lemon zest. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Scoop onto prepared sheets and flatten slightly with the bottom of a cup dipped in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake 8-9 minutes, cool 2 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.
Stir powdered sugar and lemon juice together until smooth. Drizzle over top of each cookie. After a few minutes, the glaze should dry and you can eat them ALL.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Root Beet Cake

622 Chocolate Root Beer Pound Cake

  • Cake
  • 1 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 cup Root Beer
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 4 Eggs (room temperature)
  • Root Beer White Chocolate Frosting
  • 1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 1 cup White Chocolate Chips (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 12 ounces Root Beer (reduced to 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Chicken Enchiladas

These are THE BEST Avocado Chicken Enchiladas EVER!!!
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Ingredients for the Enchilada Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock - (you could use vegetable stock)
2 teaspoons of cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup mild or medium salsa verde
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
Ingredients for the Enchiladas
3-4 cups cooked chicken breasts, chopped or shredded
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
3 avocados, peeled and chopped
8 flour tortillas
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium sauce pan, saute garlic in butter for about 1 minute on Medium – High Heat. Stir in flour let it cook for about 2 more minutes.
2. Next stir in the chicken broth, cumin, salt, pepper and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream, salsa verde and cilantro until smooth (or at least as smooth as you can get.)
3. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Add about 1/2 cup sauce to the bottom of the pan. and spread out until bottom of the baking dish is evenly coated.
4. Lay out a tortilla and add chicken, shredded cheese, and avocado to the end of the tortilla and roll. Then place the rolled tortilla seam-side down and repeat until the pan is full.
5. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas. Cover with 1 cup of cheese and bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Loaded Cauliflower

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Loaded Cauliflower **Request to Post Again**
1 large head of Cauliflower cut into bite size pieces (approx 6 cups)
6-8 strips of bacon cooked and crumbled (Cooked in oven at 400° for 20 mins)
6 Tbs chopped Chives
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Sour Cream
2 cups Colby Jack Cheese ( may use cheddar)
8 oz container sliced mushrooms
Preheat oven to 425°
In a large pot boil water and cook Cauliflower for 8 - 10 minutes, drain and let cool.
In a large bowl combine sour cream, mayo, 1/2 of crumbled bacon, 3tbs chives, 1 cups of cheese,mushrooms and cauliflower and mix well... place in baking dish and cover with remaining 1 cup of cheese and rest of bacon crumbles. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted. top with remaining 3 Tbs chives and serve.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fried Rice

Serves: 5-6
•4 cups rice, prepared (use brown rice)
•½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked or shrimp cooked
•1 cup peas & carrots, frozen
•1 white onion, chopped
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•2 eggs
•3 tablespoons sesame oil
•¼ cup soy sauce
1.Prepare rice according to package instructions to yield 4 cups cooked rice.
2.Heat sesame oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
3.Add onion, garlic, peas, and carrots. Stir fry until tender.
4.Crack eggs into pan and scramble, mixing throughout vegetables.
5.Add rice, chicken, and soy sauce to pan. Stir in soy sauce and remove from heat.
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Meatloaf Cupcakes

Remember when I posted these, and wrote about the instant aversion my kids have towards meatloaf?  They can’t get enough meatballs, but when I use that same recipe and make a loaf out of it, something happens.  Well, I just solved the problem for all the mothers out there looking to get their kids to eat meatloaf.  MEATLOAF CUPCAKES!!!!
The other week a friend of mine at work came by to tell me about this awesome bakery in Chicago, called the MeatLoaf Bakery.  She described the meatloaf cupcakes and instantly my mind went racing – mostly to the decorations.  Bacon, chives, shredded cheese, black olives, a ketchup dollop on the top – I just couldn’t stop myself.  Then reality set it – but would my kids actually get into this?  Oh boy did they ever.  They begged me to make them every night for weeks, until I finally got up the nerve.  Mostly I was concerned about piping the mashed potatoes, I wanted to make sure I make them creamy enough, yet mildly stiff, so that they would hold their shape perfectly.  Mashed potatoes were never my strength.  Well – I went with two recipes from Cooking Light (adapted slightly), and they were winners.  The kids loved EVERYTHING about these cupcakes – they even ate the mashed potatoes which I have never been successful at getting them to eat.  These were just about the greatest dinner ever.
So – for all your Moms out there – this one is definitely for you.  Please make them with your kids and watch them inhale the meatloaf – be sure to take pictures, so people believe you.  I never would have believed it myself…


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • Cooking spray
Mashed Potatoes
  • 4 cups cubed peeled Yukon gold potato (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 4 pieces of bacon cooked and them chopped


Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped carrot, dried oregano, and minced garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Cool.
Combine onion mixture, 1/2 cup ketchup, and the remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl.
Spoon the meat mixture into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Top each with 2 teaspoons ketchup. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand for 5 minutes.
While the meatloaf is cooking, make the mashed potatoes.  Place potato in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Drain. Put potatoes into a ricer for best results.  Return potato to pan. Add milk and remaining ingredients; stir with a spoon to desired consistency.  If they are not creamy enough for you, add up to 1/4 cup more milk – although they need to be stiff enough to pipe on top.
Put the potatoes into a pastry bag with a wide star tip and pipe the mashed potatoes on top of the meatloaf.  Sprinkle with bacon crumbles and chopped chives.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rondezvous Diner

Rendezvous Diner Greer AZ
When you drive down the road and see more cars parked infront of your favorite Dinner than it can hold, you can only hope there is a place for you to park and a table for you.

Luckly some one finishes and provides a close parking place

Luck continues to be with us a table with a view of this years crop of flowers and a interesting use for those old Bicycles.

Now for the important part of this experience at least one of them, the Green Chili Cheese Burger
Cooked Medium

Now Part two of this experience  Black Berry Cobbler ala mode.

Life is good

I always tear my entire bed apart at this time of the year and wash and clean everything. Here's some tips you can use to do it right.
Check the content and care labels. If pillows are filled with foam, they can be washed by hand in a large sink or bathtub using mild detergent and warm water. Be sure to rinse them through several rinses of cold water. Roll them in a large towel to remove all the water that you can and then air dry them, turning them frequently. Don’t try to put them in the dryer, heat can cause the foam to crumble.
If they're polyester, the pillows can be tossed into the washing machine. Wash two at a time to balance the load, and set machine on the gentle cycle and agitate only one to two minutes. Put them through a double rinse to make sure detergent is totally rinsed out and do not use fabric softener as it can cause an allergic reaction. To freshen the pillows your can add ¼ cup of white vinegar to the final rinse.
Tumble dry on low, fluffing them often. Adding a couple of new tennis balls or a clean athletic shoe will fluff them up well and also help them dry faster.
This same washing method will work for down pillows too, however they will dry slower so be sure to fluff often and make sure they are completely dry before using.
Using a protective pillow cover that can be removed and easily laundered is a really good idea. Launder it at least monthly.
If you decide it is time for new pillows, recycle the old ones to the cat or dog for a soft bed.
It is important to read all the care tags on bedspreads and comforters. Know when you buy it whether it is dry clean only or washable.
To stretch out the time between cleanings vacuum the bedspread with the duster brush frequently. This removes dust and dry skin and also helps prevent dust mites, which can cause allergic reactions, from building up.
Most bedspreads and comforters should be laundered (when appropriate) in a commercial size washer at the local Laundromat. Use only mild soap and cool water and stay away from fabric softeners with scents, which can cause allergic reactions. Wash on the gentle cycle and remove from the washer and place in the dryer immediately. Once in the dryer, dry on the recommended heat and fluff frequently or use tennis balls or an athletic shoe as you would for the pillows.
Remember that washable down comforters will require a long drying cycle and need to be completely dry to prevent mildew. For comforters, consider a zip on cover that can easily be removed and laundered and then put back on. Especially good for kids bedding.
If your bedspread says dry clean only, then that’s what you need to do.
Do not store seasonal bedding in the plastic dry cleaning bag as it can cause yellowing and hold in the odor of the cleaning solvent. An old king size pillow case makes a great cover for things
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Sunday, June 8, 2014

5 gallon bucket air conditioner

by Debbie Hernandez,
Posted on June 6, 2014 at 10:12 AM
Updated Friday, Jun 6 at 10:37 AM

Here are the Materials and "How To" Instructions for The DIY 5 Gallon Bucket Air Conditioner:
In the event that your Air Conditioner goes out in our 100 degree plus summer heat, or your air conditioner just doesn't work very well, or one room of your home just won't cool down, or your pets need cooling down inside or out, or your going camping, or air conditioning is just way to expensive (this unit can supplement), or for any unique air conditioner deprived situation you may have, here is a very easy, inexpensive, very effective DIY Project that will really help!

-One Home Depot 5 Gallon Bucket and Lid (only Home Depot Buckets work, LOL!)
-1 1/2" PVC Couplings (qty 3)
-2 1/4" Hole Saw Attachment for a drill
-9" Table Top Fan
-Small roll of Foil Coated Insulation
-Utility Knife and Scissors
-Gallon Jug of water
-Black Marker
-Rechargeable Battery or Portable Solar Panel (OPTIONAL)

-Place Gallon Water Jug in the Freezer.
-With the Hole Saw, Drill 3 holes into the front of the 5 gallon bucket approximately 2 1/2 to 3 inches apart 2 inches down from the rim of the bucket.
-Cut a piece of the Foil Coated insulation to 42" wide by 13" high.
-Cut a circle of the insulation to fit in the bottom of the bucket as well.
-Place the insulation into the bucket as a liner.
-Trace through the 3 holes in the bucket on the insulation with a black marker.
-Pull insulation out and cut out the 3 holes, place back into the bucket.
-Insert Couplings into the holes through the bucket and the insulation.
 (easiest to brace the bucket with your hand inside behind each hole).
-Unscrew and remove the stand from the fan.
-Place fan face down on the bucket lid and trace around the fan.
-Cut out the center of the lid using a utility knife on a cutting board.
-Place frozen gallon jug into bucket inside the insulation.
-Secure lid onto the bucket with fan face down in the lid.
-Plug in to existing outlet, use a portable solar panel or a rechargeable battery.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Queen of Clean Cleans Bathrooms

Bathrooms are the most frustrating room in the house to clean. First of all they are hard to clean when you are dealing with not only germs, but hard water, soap scum and product residue on hard surfaces and, in some cases, mold. What makes it worse is that just as you step back with a huge sigh of accomplishment, someone uses the bathroom and it’s already getting dirty again!
With some simple solutions and tools you can make cleaning the bathroom easier and also safer when you aren’t using lots of harsh chemicals.
Let me break it down by problem and solution:
First let’s talk about what to do if you have mold on caulking, grout, shower curtains, etc. There is a natural way to remove it
• Take a spray bottle that holds at least 2 cups and label MOLD REMOVER. Combine 2 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of Tea Tree Oil. Find Tea Tree in drug stores and health food stores. When you see mold, spray it heavily with the solution and then walk away. The next day, combine some baking soda and a few sprays of the solution to make a paste. Apply to mold and scrub with a brush. Every time you notice mold spray it and soon you will only need to spray and not scrub. Tea Tree Oil has a pungent clean odor and the fumes are not dangerous.
• If you have just a small area of mold buy one of the bleach pens in the laundry aisle. Dab it on the mold multiple times until it disappears. Don’t get the bleach on towels or fabric or it will remove color.
Disinfecting in the bathroom is another “must do”. Here’s a simple and safe disinfectant for hard surfaces. Don’t forget to spray some on a cloth or paper towel and wipe down door knobs and light switches that are great places for germs to hide.

• In a spray bottle that holds at least 3 cups combine the following: 2 cups water, ¼ cup white vinegar, ¼ teaspoon Tea Tree Oil and ¼ teaspoon fragrance oil (optional). Shake well and spray on surface. Let sit 5 minutes and then rinse and wipe dry.
For those shower doors, walls, floors and faucets that are covered in soap scum and mineral deposits this will be your favorite cleaner because it makes it easy.
• In a spray bottle that holds 2 cups combine: 1 cup of heated white vinegar (should be hot but not boiling) and 1 cup of Dawn Original Dish Soap or Dawn Ultra. These are concentrated forms of Dawn so you must use them. Tip the spray bottle back and forth to combine. Spray heavily on the walls, doors, etc. skipping the floor for now. Let sit 15 to 30 minutes and then scrub with a brush or scrubbing sponge. Rinse well with cold water. Cold water eliminates foaming. Repeat if needed. Do the floor last using the same procedure.
One question I am always asked is about styling product residue. That’s the hair spray or gel that won’t come off the counter or the wall. Here’s a simple formula to conquer it.
• In a spray bottle that holds 1 to 2 cups of liquid, combine: 1/3 warm water and 2/3 liquid fabric softener. Spray the area, let sit and then use a scrubbing sponge to remove the residue. Rinse and dry.
Mirror and chrome can be a challenge too.
This is another formula that you can keep in the cupboard.
• 2 cups water, ½ teaspoon Dr Bonner’s Castile Soap (drug store), 3 tablespoons of white vinegar. Shake this and spray on chrome. Let sit a few minutes and rinse and buff. For mirrors, never spray the mirror, this can remove the silvering and cause a smoky look. Instead, spray the cloth, clean the mirror and buff to a great shine.
Got a toilet bowl that needs cleaning? The first thing to remember is to close the toilet bowl lid before you flush. This will keep microscopic toilet bowl water from spraying out. Make sure when you are cleaning the toilet that you clean the top surface of the seat as well as the underside and wipe down the front of the toilet with the disinfecting cleaner. This is a great formula to clean and disinfect the toilet bowl.
• Flush the toilet and then dump in about ½ cup of baking soda, 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil and ¼ cup of white vinegar. Swish well getting it up under the rim and let it sit for about 20 minutes to overnight. Swish well again and flush.
These formulas are safe for use around children, inexpensive to make and work really well. I always urge people to label the bottles carefully for safety.
I think it makes most people feel better to know that the average work desk contains many more forms of bacteria than the entire bathroom including the toilet.
My morning routine includes keeping a microfiber cloth handy and quickly wiping down the counter, sink and faucets every morning before I leave the room. It’s one of the most used rooms in the house and this quick attention will keep bigger, messier problems from developing.

It goes without saying that one is the BATHROOM! If is frustrating because as soon as you clean it, it is dirty again. Doing it easily makes it more bearable. Most frustrating area is the shower. Here is a never-fail homemade solution that works.
• In a two cup measuring cup heat one cup of white vinegar in the microwave. Heat until it is nice and hot but not boiling. Add this to one cup of Dawn Original Dish Washing Liquid or Dawn Ultra. (It must be one of these two because they are concentrated) Stir and carefully pour into a two cup or larger spray bottle. Spray on the tub and shower walls and floor. Let sit for 15 – 20 minutes and then work it in with a gentle scrubbing sponge. Rinse well, paying special attention to the floor of the shower. It will remove soap scum, oily dirt and even that ring around the tub. NOTE: if you have to stand in the shower or tub to do the walls, wait to spray the bottom of the tub/shower until you are done so you don’t slip.
So hard to clean that you hate to cook on it and especially you hate to cook anything that will spatter. There is an easy way to clean it. Most people complain that it never looks good after the first time you cook on it. Knowing how to clean it can remove that frustration and make it easy.
• Buy Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser at the grocery, home store or big box store. It is a mild pumice cleanser that will not scratch. Always wet the cooktop surface before applying the cleanser. Work in with a mild scrubbing sponge (not a harsh pad that will scratch). Use a safety straight edge razor to gently scrape up any burned on food. Wipe off with paper towels, rinse well and buff. I love this because it works on burned on food, pasta water that has boiled over and even grease from frying or browning meat. Follow the directions on the can.
So beautiful, so frustrating! No matter what you do they seem to streak and look awful. I hated my original ones so much that I got rid of them and bought black appliances. Now I have stainless steel again because I have found a product that never fails.
• The solution is CLR Stainless Steel Cleaner. A simple spray, wipe and polish is all it takes. They resist smudging and look great. Google for a store location near you.
Most people have it. That awful ring in the toilet that is brownish, black or sometimes blue. People try all kinds of toilet bowl cleaners to remove it. A special toilet bowl cleaner won’t work.
• Shut the water off at the toilet tank. Flush the toilet. Most of the water will leave the bowl. Sprinkle in Twenty Mule Team Borax or Bar Keepers Friend. Take a piece of FINE drywall sandpaper and rub the ring. It will be gone in seconds! Turn the water back on at the tank and flush. It’s that easy. NEVER use this sandpaper on any other surface. It will scratch. A great cleaner for normal cleaning is a teaspoon or two of orange flavored breakfast drink. Drop in, let sit 20 minutes or so or even overnight and then swish and flush. Great because it is natural and the worst thing that can happen if the dog drinks out of the toilet is orange lips.
Please have used spray polish and multi-surface polish for so long and they don’t realize that it dries out and builds up on the surface of wood furniture. Furniture starts to look dull and smeary. The answer to it is to wash the furniture with warm soap (liquid dish soap) and water, rinse and dry very thoroughly. Stop using sprays! Make a natural polish that will protect and condition and provide that shine everyone is looking for.
• Combine 1 cup of olive oil and ¼ cup of white vinegar in a jar with a lid. Shake prior to each use. Apply sparingly with a soft cloth – an old washcloth works well. Buff to a brilliant shine. In between uses, dust with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. Apply the polish no more than one time per month.
My research has shown that the bathroom is the #1 room that people hate to clean, closely followed by the kitchen. I think part of the frustration is that they don’t stay clean for sometimes more than minutes. I do think that probably the bathroom and kitchen provide the most challenges. They both contain dirt that is not easily wiped away and require in depth cleaning that takes extra time to do.
There probably is no way to make cleaning fun. But involving the entire family will help. I love the idea of setting the kitchen timer for an hour or so and then assigning tasks to everyone to get done. You clean until the timer goes off. Even if you’re not done be sure to stop. Next time set the timer for a little longer. As long as everyone knows that there is a set time that they need to help out, most kids are even willing to do it. It instills good cleaning skills in kids and a sense of responsibility. Many who have tried this find that their family has become more diligent about picking up and keeping things clean. Sometimes it is up the grandparents to give the kids this sense of responsibility and teach some of the tricks of cleaning. Let’s face it cleaning is something that has to get done even if you live in a dorm. The longer you let it go the worse it is in the end.