Our oldest daughter turns 8 next Wednesday! And while she enjoys her special day in school with her classmates, I will be making this easy treat for later!
There was a time when I had all of my babies home with me. I even homeschooled the older two their first 2 years of school. Birthdays always got two fun celebrations. They would get their special day with us, even in the middle of the week, complete with a day off from school, because, well, I was the boss. Then, they'd have their extended family celebration on the closest weekend to their actual birthday. I, of course, made cake for both.
Then we had our 4th child, and things got harder. We ended up sending the older two off to school, and I cried and cried. Last May, Chastity's was the first birthday that came up while they were in school, and it was really hard on me. I don't think Chastity cared. She enjoyed being celebrated in school, and being a special teacher's helper for the day. But Mommy cared. Mommy missed them. Mommy missed having them all to herself on their special days. I was in search of something quick and simple that could still be a special birthday treat on these busy school and homework riddled birthdays.
Y'all, I never buy cake mixes. Never, ever, ever. But occasionally they come with a deal at the store for free. This mama doesn't turn down free things. So, while I was grieving the loss of total birthday bliss control, and happened upon one of those free cake mixes, in my cupboard just begging to be used, I had an idea for my children who love pudding! And sprinkles! Because, well, who doesn't love sprinkles? Crazy people, that's who.
And the spoon? Mickey Mouse was my spoon as a child, and our 3 oldest children (#4 doesn't understand the thrill yet) always argue over whose turn it is to use him. So it is a given that the birthday child gets his or her pudding with Mickey. It's a magical moment which I hope lives on into their adult lives. *Fingers crossed* ;-)
I have had and made many delicious cheeseburger soups over the years, but they all seemed to be missing something.
That real burger flavor has always escaped me, until now! Sure, there will always be some sacrifice when you turn a burger into a soup or chowder, but I found that many recipes weren't utilizing the pickle, tomato, and bacon, as you would typically find on any delicious burger, so I made my own. With some testing and suggestions from my husband and children, we have come, in my opinion, about as close as you can get to real burger flavor in a warm bowl of chowder!
So when summer seems like it's never going to really happen, and grilling season is so close, yet still so far away, you can enjoy a little taste of summer that warms your insides.
Do you love pickles? I have always missed that flavor, in every cheeseburger soup recipe I've tried, and now, I don't have to feel guilty about dumping pickle juice down the drain. It now has a glorious purpose!
Regular diced tomatoes work just fine, but for extra flavor, try it with the basil, garlic seasoned diced tomatoes. My family loves it!
Looking for a sweet buttery side dish to compliment your chili? This cornbread recipe is one I am most proud of, and it took a great deal of convincing for my husband to sign off on my sharing it. It's really that good!
I know what you're probably thinking. What on earth is a northern white girl doing, writing about cornbread? Listen, I get it. I'm as white as white can be, and I'm a Yankee to boot (though I am a southerner at heart, but different story for a different day). What could I possibly know about cornbread?
Well let me tell you a story.
This little white girl from small-town Pennsylvania grew up and went off to college, where she fell in love with the most handsome man she'd ever met...who just so happens to love him some cornbread (read: conebread, with a southern twang). You can read about our love story here, if you'd like. :)
My only experience with cornbread was a recipe from an old Betty Crocker cookbook (circa the 1970s, maybe even 60s?) which my mom used to make. No disrespect to Betty Crocker (or my mama), but it was dry, and crumbly, and not at all sweet, and I remember sitting at the table all evening, until bedtime, refusing to eat it as a child.
So, barely 21 years old, I set out to make a cornbread that would not only please this new man in my life, but make me a believer. One of the first times I made it, one of his friends tried some and immediately told him to marry me. Thus, the infamous Catch-a-Man Cornbread was born! I spent about 10 years tweaking it to the perfection that it is now, but my husband was sold on the first bite!
This cornbread is sweet and buttery, and this goes without saying, but it is great with a steamy bowl of chili. However, we have also enjoyed it with fried chicken, fried fish, and even jambalaya. It's a very versatile bread!
This recipe can be whipped up quickly, all with one bowl and one wire whisk. It is so easy! You can create a buttermilk substitute by pouring 1 and 1/2 Tbsp vinegar into the bottom of the measuring cup, and then filling with milk until the combined liquids reach the 1 and 1/2 cup line. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. I have done this in a pinch, and the cornbread is still good, but real buttermilk definitely makes a difference!
When you mix it together, don't be afraid of some lumps. Your final mixture will be thick and a little lumpy. :)
And yes, I sometimes cut my hubby's cornbread into hearts, because this recipe is symbolic of our love, and because I can.
We are a family that loves our mac 'n cheese. This is sort of an any and all type love. You can't really go wrong with mac 'n cheese. We've enjoyed all varieties from chili mac 'n cheese to Buffalo chicken mac 'n cheese, to creamy mac 'n cheese, to even boxed mac 'n cheese, and everything in between.
Years of sampling different internet recipes has led me to this easy and basic mac 'n cheese recipe. It is not exactly unique, and one of my main inspirations, I cannot lie, was Paula Deen and her crock pot mac 'n cheese. However, I don't like to dirty a giant, heavy crock pot when I've already done all the work!
This recipe is sure to become a kid favorite in your house, as it is in mine!
By now you have probably looked at the recipe and are wondering why I make so much. Aside from the aforementioned love of all things mac 'n cheese, this keeps and reheats really well for days! It would even make a great side for preparing in advance on an occasion involving many different dishes.
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I have spent that last decade or more, cooking and baking on a tight budget. Here, I'd love to share with you some fun recipes I have come up with over the years; many with ingredients which can all be found at the very budget-friendly Aldi!