Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chicken and Rice Soup

For once Matt requested soup for dinner.  I wasn't going to waste this opportunity since it rarely presents itself.  I had seen something similar to this but I expanded on it.  Perfect way to warm up!  Definitely hearty enough to have for dinner.  (sorry the picture sucks... my friend "borrowed" my kitchen light a year ago and hasn't returned it.... so the lighting in my house is really bad!)

Chicken and Rice Soup
Serves: 2+

-Olive oil
-1 chicken breast cut into bite sized chunks
-salt and pepper
-1 tablespoon butter
-1/2 cup diced onion
-2 cloves minced garlic
-1 tablespoon flour
-1 tablespoon dried parsley
-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
-1 bay leaf
-1 can chicken broth
-1 1/2 cups of milk or half and half
-1 cup water
-1 cup instant rice (uncooked)
-1/2 small can sliced carrots (or fresh sliced if you aren't the lazy type)
-1 stalk celery sliced
-1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1.  Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place chicken in the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook 5 minutes, until juices run clear. Remove chicken, and set aside.

2.  Reduce heat to medium-low. Melt butter in the pot. Stir in onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes. Stir in flour, and cook until lightly browned.

3.  Throw the chicken back in along with the broth, milk, thyme, parsley, Old Bay, carrots, celery and bay leaf.  Simmer 15 minutes. Then start step 4.

4.  In a Pyrex container, put the water in the microwave and heat to boiling (like 3-5 minutes).  Dump in the rice and stir.  Cover with foil and set aside for 5 minutes.  Fluff and dump into the soup.  Let it all mingle for a few minutes then serve.

**If the soup is too thick for you, just add another 1/2 cup or so of water until you get it the way you like.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Shrimp Etoufee

Yum yum!!  I combined a few recipes I found to make this winner.  We will definitely be eating this again.  (I am pretty positive I remembered the recipe for this, but if something doesn't turn out right, please let me know so I can revise it)

Shrimp Etoufee
Serves: 2+
Calories:  1300 in recipe


-about a pound of shrimp, tails removed
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon pepper
-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-1/4 cup butter
-1/4 cup butter
-1/4 cup flour
-1 cup diced onion
-1 cup sliced celery
-1 cup diced green pepper
-maybe some cornstarch
-1 1/2 cup water

1.  In a large skillet, place 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup flour over medium heat.  Cook until it gets as brown as you can get it.  The longer the better without it burning or getting nasty.

2.  Throw in the onions and rest of the butter and cook for a few minutes.  Then throw in the celery and bell peppers for a couple more minutes.  The onions should be translucent and the celery and peppers should be softened but not mushy.

3.  Throw in the salt, pepper, and red pepper with the shrimp and water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.  If the mixture isn't thickened, take out some of the liquid and mix in a teaspoon or two of cornstarch, mix until dissolved, and then return to the skillet for a couple more minutes until it is as thickened as you like it.

4.  Serve with rice.  We used Zatarains yellow rice.

I'm back... kind of.

Yes, I am a terrible person.  I abandoned my food blog for over a month.  To tell you the truth, it was feeling a little like homework and I was getting annoyed.  I think I will start posting again, maybe just a couple things per month.  The biggest problem I am facing is that after trying all these new recipes over the past year, I keep making them!  So I have nothing new to blog when I am just making the same thing all the time.

My focus has also changed for the moment.  I am now making a lot more recipes that are super cheap and easy.  Now, this doesn't mean gourmet food... and I am betting most food bloggers don't post this kind of stuff.  Too bad.  So if you are gonna get all nuts on me about opening several canned foods to make a recipe... you should probably leave now.  But if you are looking for some cheap easy recipes to add to your weekly routine, you may want to stick around because I have a couple saved up.

Thanks for coming back.... I plan on posting one recipe today and hoarding the rest for later.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Simplicity Day of Coordination is having a contest!!!!  Check it out. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Apple Crisp - 1

I love apple crisp, probably more than apple pie which is amazing. I plan on trying several apple crisp recipes in search of my favorite so I have labeled this one as apple crisp 1. This is a classic and super delicious. I cut the original recipe in half because I am the only one with a sweet tooth in this house and I didn't want to be a piggy and eat a huge pan (ok, well I WANTED to but I knew I shouldn't).

Apple Crisp 1
Serves: 6

5 cups all-purpose apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used Jonamac... select something tart for a good baking apple)
1/2 cup white sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup water

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degree C).

2. Place the sliced apples in a 9x9 or 8x8 inch pan. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and
ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples. Pour water evenly over all.
3. Combine the oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 45 minutes. Make sure you check it around 35 minutes to make sure the crust isn't burning.
**If you don't have one of those apple peeler/corer/slicer things, you should totally buy one. They work great!! BBB has them for $20 and Meijer has them this time of year for $20.

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

I had a bunch of stuff to make macaroni and cheese but Matt has been pretty annoyed with all the baked mac I have been making. He wanted something a little different so I hopped on and found this one. It was pretty tasty and Matt is really into it. I miss the crunchy crust from the baked mac, but I will be making this one again.

Crockpot Mac and Cheese
Serves: 4 dinner portions

1/2 package spiral pasta (8 oz of whatever shape... I used shells)
1 cup half-and-half cream
1/2 (10.75 ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (I used colby jack, but I don't think it was strong enough so cheddar jack might be tasty)

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a 4-qt. slow cooker, combine the cream, soup and butter until smooth; stir in the cheese and pasta. Cover and cook on low for 2-1/2 hours or until cheese is melted.

I added an extra handful of cheese on top to make it all pretty and melty just before serving. I really only cooked it for about and hour and a half and it was ready. This is good for a potluck, just double everything =) I also threw in a teaspoon of black pepper.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

~*Cider Mill Crawl*~

What is a cider mill crawl you ask? Well, have you ever been on a pub crawl? It is kinda like that except you nom massive amounts of donuts and cider in an attempt to decide which mill is king. We got this idea to visit 3 cider mills and do a tasting, oh yeah, and wear plaid =) Why? Because it is super fun! We started the day at noon at my house for a little lunch. We will DEFINITELY be doing this again next year. It was a total blast. However next year we will not eat so much or we will have to schedule a donut coma nap in the middle of the day! This is going to be a long post (which is why I have procrastinated so long), enjoy!!

Stop #1:
Franklin Cider Mill, Franklin, Michigan

PROS: Very authetic old-fashioned cider mill feel, the donuts are amazing right out of the fryer, you get to the see the old cider press super close up, in a super cute little town, relaxing little stream, fantastic if you just want to run in and grab some goodies and go, live musicians performing
CONS: Abundance of bees, very small overall but especially by the main counter, most expensive ($21.50 for 2 dozen donuts and 1/2 gallon of cider), only one flavor of donut, not a lot of activities, donuts do not hold up well (but can be revived by popping them in the toaster)

Authentic Cider Press

Selection of goodies

Did you know you could freeze cider!? We didn't either!

Cool sign made from license plates!

Front counter

One of the outside stands

Group picture by the stream in our fabulous plaid

Stop #2:
Parmenter's Cider Mill, Northville, Michigan
PROS: Lots of activities, clean and easily walkable facility, super soft donuts that hold up well, 2 flavors of donut available, cider is pasteurized, good for kids and dogs, staff made sure we had hot fresh donuts when they heard they were being judged
CONS: More of a modern feel/not very rustic, some bees, mapquest can't give you accurate directions to it, moderate price ($20.50 for 2 dozen donuts and 1/2 gallon of cider)

Carriage rides!

Front counter... apparently all the cool kids drink cider slushes

This mill has a tv... we caught Katie watching the Lions game

Types of apples in that day's cider

Outside stands with crafts and snacks

They also sell wine

Modern cider press... out of the 3 we visited, only here could you get pasteurized cider for all you preggo women

I don't have a group shot at this mill but we each poked our heads into the apple cut outs... Monica was very reluctant so she gets her picture posted =)


Stop #3:
Plymouth Orchards and Cider Mill, Plymouth, Michigan
PROS: Most activities including some barnyard animals and hayrides, large property, inside area for tasting (no bees!), more of an updated farm feel, tastiest donut of the day, lots of sizes of cider jugs, most affordable ($19.50 for 2 dozen donuts and 1/2 gallon of cider)
CONS: Worst donut of the day (powdered sugar), staff was informed of the tasting but did not give us hot fresh donuts, a little stuffy in the dining area, spread out so it is not a quick in and out, on a dirt road
NOTE: This mill is relocating November 1st

More cut outs! Jill, Katie and Stephanie

We saw this cut out from the back and the girls decided to pick a spot without knowing what they were going to be... I was cracking up taking the picture (Stephanie, Molly, Monica, Jill and Katie)

This mill had some barnyard animals and we got to see some one week old goats jumping and playing

Main building

Main counter... the cider press was back there somewhere

Group shot at the inside dining area

Last Stop:
The Tasting at Molly's house

Molly is excited for the car full of cider and donuts

Molly made us a crock pot dinner... tasty!

Martha Stewart... err... Molly's beautiful fall tablescape. We were going to have a 4th mill for tasting but Tricia was super sick (and we missed her terribly!) and she wasn't able to come, and she was going to bring something from a mill by her house.

I made little voting cards to decide the tasting winner

Franklin Cider Mill's platter: cider and plain donuts

Parmenter's Cider Mill's platter: cider and plain and spice donuts

Plymouth Orchard and Cider Mill's platter: cider and plain, powdered sugar, and cinnamon sugar donuts

I made super cute take home bags for everyone to share some yummy donut goodness with our husbands at home

A toast! To next year's cider mill crawl!

Parmenter's Cider, Franklin's Cider, and Plymouth's Cider


70 Possible points per category

1st Place: Parmenter's (59)
2nd Place: Franklin's (55)
3rd Place: Plymouth's (52)

1st Place: Plymouth's (62 for the cinnamon sugar)
2nd Place: Franklin's (53 based on immediate consumption)
3rd Place: Parmenter's (52)

I voted Plymouth's cider and Franklin's donuts (only when eaten immediately so they are still crunchy) as the winners. Apparently I like sweet cider versus everyone else who preferred the tart cider.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pet Parade

My little Murray is in the pet parade at the DIY Showoff's blog.

Check it out!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

I found this recipe and it sounded so cool and I had to make it. The cake turned out really moist and had a great texture... however it just tasted like lemon cake to me. I think this would be WAY more fun with some kind of crazy drink concentrate like fruit punch, blue raspberry, or even margarita or daquiri mix. I will definitely make this again, except only use the concept of the recipe and change it to a different flavor.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
Yield: 20 cupcakes

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Pinch salt
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
4 egg whites
2/3 c. thawed frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate
1/2 c. buttermilk
Pink food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with liners. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg whites and lemonade concentrate. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until just smooth.Add just enough food coloring to turn the batter a light shade of pink.Scoop batter into liners (fill about three-fourths full). Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting (see below).

Lemonade Buttercream
3 c. + 3 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. pink lemonade concentrate
Milk to reach desired consistency
Pink food coloring

Add the butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt, lemonade concentrate, and a few drops of food coloring to the stand mixer and mix on low using the paddle attachment until combined. Turn the speed to med-high until the buttercream is fluffy and uniformly pink. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

**I didn't have a ton of confectioner's sugar so I made it more like an icing rather than a buttercream frosting....just remember to use the milk to thin the frosting rather than adding more concentrate.

Voted Top 5 for BEST OF DETROIT!

HOLY SMOKES!! Simplicity has been voted a top 5 Winner for the 2009 WDIV BEST OF DETROIT contest in the Wedding Planners category! We were #4! A hundred thank yous for everyone who voted for us and for the support and motivation to keep doing what we do. Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Vote for Simplicity!

Ok so this is not food related.... but I could really use your support!

Please vote for Jill and I at Channel 4's Vote for the Best contest!

It only takes a minute to hit the vote button then confirm your vote in your email. Simplicity DOC is a young company and we are working hard to get our name out. We are very close to finishing in the Top 5 which would be a huge honor for us. So if you have a minute, please vote!
Thank you soooo much.

I promise to return with more yummy recipes soon.

p.s. Become my Facebook fan! You can find me at Simplicity Day of Event Coordination and I also have a travel agent page called Shelly Andrus, Brookside Travel. On the travel one I am doing a giveaway! So check it out.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oreo Cakes

Conceptually, the oreos had a lot more to do with this cake than they actually did. These still turned out delicious and everyone raved about them at the party I made them for. They were even good and moist for at least a week after. Basically, I wanted to use my mini bundt cake pan so I came up with this idea.

Oreo Cakes
Yield: about 24 cakes

*Cream Cheese Cake
3/4 cup butter softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 package cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and cream cheese. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add flour, salt and baking powder and mix until combined. Scoop into a large zipper bag and set aside.

*Chocolate Cake
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cups all-purpose flour
3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vanilla and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in some flour/cocoa/powder/salt then some buttermilk, then flour, then buttermilk etc. Scoop into a large zipper bag and set aside.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray baking spray in a mini bundt pan (If you want to be boring, I guess a cupcake pan could work, but my way is so much prettier!).

2. With your mad Oreo seperating skills, seperate some oreos. Eat the cream and put the cookies in a baggie. You will need about 12 cookie halves at least. Crush the cookies. Sprinkle about a teaspoon and a half into the bottom of each bundt cup.

3. Snip a small hole in the corner of each cake bag. Pipe a ring of cream cheese cake over the oreos. Then pipe a ring of chocolate cake over the cream cheese cake. You want to fill the cups about 3/4 full.

4. Bake about 20 minutes** or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

5. Once cool, put some powdered sugar in a bowl and mix in a little milk at a time just until drizzly. Drizzle icing over cakes as desired. YUM.

**Confession. I made these a couple weeks ago and totally forgot how long I baked them for. For some reason 18 minutes is sticking out in my head but I am not sure. So, use your baking judgement!