Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review: the new Hawaiian Roast Beef Sandwich at Arby's

I tried the new Hawaiian Roast Beef Sandwich at Arby's.  I hadn't seen any commercials about it (but hey, we watch everything on DVR and zoom through commercials).  I saw it advertised on their sign out front.  So, I thought, "I like Hawaiian bread.  I will try that."

How was it?  Meh.  No better or worse than the regular roast beef.  Just different.  Probably more calories.  I probably won't order it again.

It does come in a fancy cardboard box, though.  See?

***Reminder:  Please vote daily for Rhy!  See more info here!***

Monday, April 29, 2013

Vote for Rhy to win $1000 for her Bedroom Make-Over

Update:  While we didn't win the $1000, we did redo Rhy's room.  Check it out here!
The State Bank of Cross Plains (our bank) has a Pin It to Win It contest going on right now.  Voting opened today for you to vote on Facebook for the home improvement projects that should win $1000!  We entered Rhy's room and hope beyond hope that she might win!

You see, Rhy (sophomore this year) is in her second year of German language classes.  Back in November she applied for the school trip to Germany this summer:  3 weeks, and 2 of those are spent with a German family going to school!  She was selected as one of the 19 going on this trip - yeah!!!  The family she is staying with has a daughter Rhy's age who is studying English, and she will stay with us in the fall for a few weeks!

That means we need two separate sleeping areas in Rhy's room.  Here's what she has right now:

stuffed animals, beads hanging from her light fixture, a moon on the wall - eclectic, just like Rhy
She's long wanted a loft in her room - we do have 11 foot ceilings after all so it would work.  If she wins this contest, we should be able to give her the room of her dreams!  A loft bed, with stairs instead of a ladder, and a loveseat-sized sofa bed underneath.  Here's some inspiration:

still with stuffed animals, but a bit more sophisitacated, with storage, stairs, and a lofted bed - I am so sorry I don't know the origins of this photo....
So, if the spirit moves you, please log on to Facebook*, go to the State Bank of Cross Plains page, and vote for her room.  There are 5 pages of pictures, and the page Rhy's room is on will be ever-changing, because the pics are in order of most votes to least.  Just look for that picture up above with the quilt (made by Loretta) and the shelves.

In closing, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!!!!!!!

*I don't have a Facebook account, so I hope these links work!  And please, remember to vote 5 times per day EVERY DAY through May 19th!

FYI - looks like you CAN'T vote via moble device nor if you're under the age of 18 (sad face).


Plus, um, not that this should convince you or anything, but being able to redo Rhy's room would really give me some new things to write about on this blog...  *eyebrow waggle*

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sugar Free Applesauce Raspberry Jell-o Salad - no, really, it's good!

Lesley at work (Hi!) gave me a recipe of a Jell-o Salad that her Mom makes for the holidays.  It involved applesauce, which I had NEVER heard of putting in to Jell-o, so I took it as a challenge and made it!

Um, she didn't give me a name for the recipe so I'ma gonna call it...

Applesauce Raspberry Jell-o Salad

Yes, descriptive.  I know.  We are a descriptive lot, my family.  After all, our pets included Kitty (later renamed Mama Kitty), Birdie, BunBun (our bunny, naturally), and Ducks (go ahead, guess).

Here's how you make it:

  • Boil 2 cups of natural or sugar free applesauce.
  • Add 1 large package of sugar free raspberry Jell-o.  Stir to mix it all up good.  I use a whisk because I don't have much occasion to use one, and I'm not going to pass this up!
  • Add in 2 cups of cold Diet Red Pop.  I used Faygo.  I've also used Diet Cherry 7-Up, which I preferred.  Mix.  It'll get frothy, but will lose its froth as it sets.
  • Mix in 2 cups of raspberries.  Fresh would most likely work, but I've used frozen (no sugar added) raspberries.  In fact, I've put the Jell-o mixture into the dish first, and then added the raspberries, but this is where I'm allowing you to get a little wild and add the berries when you want, and you could even use mixed berries!  Whatever you like!  Go wild!!!
  • Now, this is the hard part:  Let the Jell-o salad set up.  Yes, yes, I know.  You want to try it.  You think, "oh, it's been two hours, it must be fine to try."  But it's not.  It really needs more time.  Give it a good 4-5 hours, or overnight even!  If you try it too soon, then it's not set up yet, and it's not tangy enough yet.

Did I mention it will be tangy?  Because it will be.

Now, did you see what I did up there?  I had you use sugar free or diet items.  This should make it lower in sugar and lower in calories.  Hopefully that makes up for the fact that I made some this morning and it's already gone.  Let's see, how many servings of fruit did I end up having today????  I swear Jeff helped eat it!

Let me know if you like it!  Or any versions that you might come up with.

Have a great day!

Jeff's chocolate birthday cake.

We're not big on birthday presents.   Or Christmas presents, either.  The first birthdays we had together, we gave gifts.  But now we pretty much just try to make sure each other has a good day.

So, for Jeff's birthday*, he wanted a chocolate cake.  In fact,  I'm pretty sure he wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate with chocolate with chocolate.  And moist.

Well okay then.  Chocolate.  I can do that!

I started with...

...yep, cake mix, canned frosting, store-bought pudding, and Oreos.  Nothing says home-cookin' like starting with processed foods.  :-)

After I made the 2 round cakes (and undercooked them because I didn't realize my appointment was at 9, not 9:30, so I had to jet out of the house earlier than usual), I let them cool while I was out.

Next came the "moist" part, as well as the "chocolate with chocolate" part.

I took the Oreos and crunched them up...
...and then added the Oreo pieces to the pudding (ended up being total of 6 Oreos and 2 pudding cups).
Tasted way better than it looks...
I put all that on the first round cake, and then added the second on top.  That's right - pudding with Oreo in the middle instead of frosting.  I'm a rebel like that.

Pinterest said that by adding powdered sugar to your canned frosting and beating it will make it better.  So I tried it.
I have to disagree with you, Pinterest.  I couldn't tell the difference.

I then used a star tip and piped the chocolate icing on the cake, basically because I was all worried that my frosting job would be, well, not Birthday Worthy.  Plus I bought a Wilton Beginner set back in December and it's fun to play with them.  :-)

It looked a bit like like a tree stump, but a delicious tree stump!

When Jeff & Rhy got home, and after dinner (stupid "rules" about eating dinner before having dessert anyway!), we had Jeff's Birthday Cake!  The pudding softened the Oreo pieces, and then the pudding was basically absorbed by the cake.   It was definitely chocolaty and moist,  per Jeff's request.

*Yes, this is a Belated Birthday Cake post.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

the perfect oatmeal cookie recipe

We had our second round on the Fellowship team a week ago.  I cut up some oranges and made M&M cookies that turned out average at best.  But that wasn't all...

I was craving oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chip cookies, so I was on the hunt for a good recipe.   Mom said that her oatmeal cookies always flatten and spread.  Lois said that her recipe was nothing special.  

So I turned to Pinterest.  And this is what I found:

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

  • ½ cup (1 stick) plus 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups oatmeal (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup coconut flakes
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.
  3. Add flour, baking soda and cinnamon, mix well.
  4. Add oats, raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips and coconut, mix well.
  5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 9-11 minutes (9 for me) or until the edges are golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool. Store in airtight container.

I will never need another oatmeal cookie recipe!   It was amazing!   The cookies did not spread!   In fact, they didn't even lose their shape when baked.  And they stayed soft!

I used a cup of white chocolate chips and a cup of craisens, and wished there were more craisens.  I'm looking forward to making them again!

So, Mom - here's a good oatmeal recipe! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Growing Green Onions in Water & Reviewing The Pioneer Woman's Sour Cream Noodle Bake

We have a bundle of green onions sitting in a mason jar of water on the kitchen counter.  Pinterest said it would work, and it did!

I purchased the bunch of onions as a recipe ingredient, a recipe I found (where else) on Pinterest.  Sour Cream Noodle Bake.  Very yummy.


From The Pioneer Woman:


  • 1-1/4 pound Ground Chuck
  • 1 can 15-ounces Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 8 ounces, weight Egg Noodles
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 1-1/4 cup Small Curd Cottage Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Sliced Green Onions (less To Taste)
  • 1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown ground chuck in a large skillet. Drain fat, then add tomato sauce. 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.
To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.

The first time I made it, I had all the ingredients except for the green onions.   So I cut up fresh spinach instead.  We all liked the recipe, so a week later I stocked up on the ingredients again, including the green onions (you can really taste the difference between spinach and green onion).  That was a week ago, and now they've grown so much, I needed to cut and use them in a recipe again!

So last night I made potatoes to go along with the baked chicken (coated in Italian seasoned crumbs) and microwave steamed broccoli.  I fried them with garlic salt and pepper, and added in green onion.  I just cut off the ends of each of the onions and used scissors to cut pieces off.  They're short again, just taller than the cup.  Will they grow again?   

And how was the meal?  Yummy!  Rhy said we need to eat meals like that more often...  I sure wish I liked cooking better...