Uncategorized

Homemade Oreos

homemade oreos

There is something about a chewy chocolate cookie sandwich filled with cream cheese frosting that makes me smile.

How about you?

I have used this recipe for years and shared it with many.

I prefer to use a milk chocolate cake mix, but if you prefer a darker chocolate, you can use a devil’s food cake mix or Betty Crocker’s Triple Chocolate Fudge is delicious as well.  I can’t say it enough… make sure you use a quality cake mix ie… Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, etc. I have found the off-brand mixes to be grainy at times and they just never seem to mix up smoothly. So take my word for it. You’ll thank me later.

What makes these cookies so special {besides the delicious chewy chocolaty cookie goodness} is the rich cream cheese frosting. Because…frosting! Add some food coloring for a special touch or simply roll them in delicious sprinkles for a special occasion.

The BEST OREOs ever

Ingredients:

  • 2 chocolate cake mixes (I like Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate best)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup oil

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 2/3 cup powdered sugar (+/-)

Directions:

  1. Mix cake mixes, eggs and oil together.  Drop by teaspoonfuls (or use cookie scoop) on cookie sheet. I like to line mine with a SILPAT but it isn’t necessary. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE! Cool completely on cooling rack.
  2. Mix frosting ingredients together.  Frost the underside of a cookie with frosting and sandwich together. Roll in a bowl of sprinkles if you want to.

http://www.becauseican.me

 

 

 

Uncategorized

It’s that time again…

hello spring.jpg

I have always loved flowers. I love warm weather.  To me, the new beginnings of spring is like breathing new life. Every blooming flower makes me happy and fills my soul with happiness and warmth.

I planted some spring flowers in pots in the house so that I could enjoy them while I was healing up from surgery.  They have all bloomed now so today Kenzie is going to help me plant them outside so they can continue making me happy for years to come.

They deserve to be able to be outside reaching for the sunshine.

Happy Spring everyone!!

Much love,

Teauna

Uncategorized

A bump in the road….

Every once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life when you think you’re finally on top of your game, the doctor throws you a curve ball and tells you he needs to operate in 5 days.

And that you’ll be down for 6 weeks.

Ummmmmmmm. It’s finally springtime and I NEEED to do some serious yardwork.

Well, I was expecting the surgery. And honestly I was thinking of asking for it.  I had it all planned out what to say to him. Like…. “Come on. I have good insurance. Let’s do it now.” Or “I’m not leaving here until you agree to just taking it all out.” But he beat me to the punch.

But because it was necessary. NOW.

And still. I was shocked and speechless.

I have had my fair share of issues over the years but this last little while has been awful and I knew that I was eventually going to be needing surgery.

Anyhow….

I’m a week out of surgery now and I feel crappy. I really thought I’d bounce back faster than this and I’ve been seriously irritated that I really have had to spend so much time in bed feeling like crap on crackers.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

A hysterectomy….

I’m still young….. or am I?

I mean, I realize I have 2 teenagers, 1 being an adult teenager! He graduates in 2 months! What? I know that my child bearing years are over for sure.

But wow.

Okay. Well I just never had thought about it.  I’ve kinda had these parts my whole life. I mean, I was born with them. Which must mean I’m supposed to have them for life, right?

I remember that awful moment in elementary when they bring out the granny panties with an already attached big old pad and give you the “talk” about how to deal with your female reproduction parts you were born with. And the fear that’s put in place about what’s yet to come. Oh my. I still remember being so worried about the blood bath that was in my future. It all seems so dramatic and life threatening at that age.

As women, we just know that this is our life. We deal with it.

And now I don’t have to anymore. That part, I’m not complaining.

Okay… but really. I am so very glad to have it over and done with and I’m a week into the healing process. And I’m so grateful for my amazing doctor and his staff and their care they showed for me. I had a couple setbacks and am so glad I had such talented and caring people around me to make sure I was okay.10 things I learned about me

10 things I have realized thru this process:

1. I can do hard things.

2. I was blessed to carry 2 beautiful healthy babies in my womb. And so very grateful to have been able to do so.  So many women never get that chance.

3. I have an amazing support system.

4. I am hard on myself. When I’m forced to sit down and do nothing, I realize how much I actually do.

5. It kills me to watch my daughter and husband cook dinner and do the dishes and run to the store and run all the errands. They work and school all day. I’m home. That’s hardly fair.

6. I knew I was going to die to be outside in the yard so I planted tulips, hyacinths and daffodils that I bought for $1 each at Walmart in my pretty little indoor pots. They’re beautiful and all starting to bloom. So glad I thought to bring spring in the home so I could enjoy it.

7. I think my little Bella has earned her Service Dog cape. She is too smart for her own good and she has watched over me super close. She’s always walking in front of me while looking back over her shoulder making sure I’m okay. And Daizee, she is just my snugglebug. Bella has a way of making me giggle…

Bella smile

8. I don’t have a care in the world to who doesn’t love me because there are plenty of people that do.

9. My lack of appetite has helped me kick my soda pop habit.

10. I will never ever be a drug addict. Oh how I hate the way they make me feel. Pray I never have to do Benadryl thru the IV again. Not only does it burn like hell and leave your arm aching for days, but those planes bombing the hospital with flying cartoon foxes were brutal.

Thanks for being a part of my journey.

 

Much Love,

Teauna

Uncategorized

Shepherd’s Pie

shepherds-pie-1

I’m an Idaho girl.  My husband has lovingly called me “Spud” a time or two at dinnertime.  I guess this means I make more potatoes than he was used to eating before we were married. I use potatoes in my meals quite a bit. When you’re surrounded by potato farms in the summer and fall, it’s a good reminder to stock up on potatoes for the winter months.

Add some meat and veggies and a meal is made…. right?  Well it’s almost that easy.

I keep my freezer, fridge and pantry stocked with staple foods and I just love when I’m able to use these items to make a good healthy and hearty meal without making a trip to the store. And it’s even better when the meal makes it on the top 10 favorite list in our home.

We have had so much snow this winter and it’s been coooolllllllddd.  I, of course, just want to make warm comfort foods and make it all better.  This makes everything all better!

But… my favorite part of this meal is its nickname here in the Hawkes’ household.  It’s ‘Derek’s Pie’. Yes.. we are fans of Grey’s Anatomy.

shepherds-pie-2

Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 large onion, diced (approximately 1 cup)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 fresh cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 3 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/3 cup beef stock
  • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 or 5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 heavy cream (you could use milk)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the potatoes and boil them for 10-15 minutes or until they are tender when you stab them with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter and add the onions and carrots. Cook them over medium heat until they start to soften.  It should take about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ground beef, using a spatula to break it up as it cooks.  Add 1 tsp sea salt.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the beef and stir well. Add the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce.  Let it simmer until the juices thicken.
  4. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.  Mash the potatoes to break them up. {**I use a Pampered Chef Mix ‘N Chop to mash my potatoes} Add the butter and heavy cream.  Continue mashing until the potatoes are smooth and the cream and butter are incorporated fully.  Season with the black pepper and 2 tsps. salt.
  5. Add the peas to the meat mixture. Place meat mixture in pie pan or 9×9 pan, whatever you have available.
  6. Top the beef mixture with the mashed potatoes and spread them into an even layer.  Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top of the potatoes.
  7. Turn the oven to broil. Place the pie on a sheet pan and place under the broiler.  Let broil just long enough for the cheese and the potatoes to become golden around the edges.
  8. Remove from oven and serve.

http://www.becauseican.me

adapted from girl gone gourmet

 

Much love,

Teauna

 

 

 

Uncategorized

White Bread 101

I am fascinated with baking bread.

bread-21317

The process of baking bread is easier once you understand the science behind it. So I’ll give you a simple breakdown.

Fermentation occurs when yeast eats all the sugar goodness from starches, like flour, and produces all those carbon dioxide gas bubbles.  Those little bubbles are our friends in bread making.  They are the ‘leavener’ and they give the bread its texture.

Yeast is a LIVING, single-cell plant.  So it needs to grow in order to do its job. No better way to make something grow than feed it, right? Well, yeast eats sugars to grow.  So… let’s think about it for a minute. Flour is a carbohydrate.  Carbohydrates are full of starch molecules.  Starch molecules are made up of oodles and bunches of sugar molecules.  In other words, CARBS=SUGARS!

When you combine the yeast and water, the yeast becomes activated.  Adding a little sugar to the yeast and water will feed the sugar and encourage faster growth. Then you add the flour. At this point, somehow all the flour enzymes break down the carbohydrates into sugar.  The yeast then eats these sugars, which allows it to produce the little carbon dioxide gas bubbles and alcohol.  At this point, you’ll begin to notice that your gassy bubbly mixture becomes stringy. Once you add and knead more flour into the mixture, those ‘stringy’ strands become your elasticity in your bread, also known as gluten strands, or protein.During the baking process, the carbon dioxide gases and alcohol from the fermentation process bake out.

I guess what I’m saying is… don’t be intimidated by the bread making process. It really is quite simple.  And as long as you follow a few simple rules of thumb, your bread should do it’s thing and turn out just fine.

Always make sure you are using good yeast.  I always store my yeast in the fridge in a sealed Tupperware container. It keeps it fresh for a long time. I prefer to buy my yeast in large packages from Sam’s Club. The yeast does not need to be stored in the fridge until it has been opened.

Always use good quality flour.  I don’t use bread flour. I have never tried it.  I just prefer a good All-purpose unbleached flour.

Always place bread in a warm area of your home, free from drafts. You can warm your dishtowel in the dryer to place over the dough to give it a head start in rising.

I have simplified this recipe so whether you are a beginning bread maker or a seasoned one, this recipe will work for you.

White Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3 Tbsp yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cube butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 9+cups flour

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar. Let set aside for yeast to activate.

In a medium-size glass bowl, combine milk, butter, salt and 1/3 cup sugar.  Microwave uncovered for 3-4 minutes, until butter is melted.

Add cold water to mixture in glass bowl. Combine with yeast mixture.

Add 9 cups flour to mixture.  It should still be pretty gooey, which is fine.

Spread a couple cups flour on your countertop surface. Using a spatula to get every bit of dough out of the bowl, put dough onto floured surface. Sprinkle a cup of flour over the dough. Now knead. Add flour as needed. You want to knead until it’s nice and elastic but not tough. I prefer it to be just barely not sticky.  It will be a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes.

Grease the large bowl you mixed it in. You can spray it with a PAM spray to make it easy.  Place dough back in bowl. Grease the top of the dough slightly. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and a dishtowel.

Place in a warm place and let rise. Once risen to double, punch down and let rise again. Once the dough has doubled again, punch down and put onto floured surface. Pat dough out onto flour surface. With a sharp, non-serrated knife, cut into 4 equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a roll. (Like a cake roll) Pinch ends together and tuck under ends. Place in greased bread pans.

Let rise until doubled in size.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

*  If you like a darker crust, bake at 375 for the first 30 minutes, the reduce heat to 350 and bake for 15 minutes.

Immediately remove bread from pans onto wire rack and butter tops of loaves.

Enjoy!

http://www.becauseican.me

This recipe is by far the tastiest white bread I have ever made. I bake a batch every single Sunday. It’s a great sandwich bread and it makes some seriously delicious toast!

Lots of love,

Teauna