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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Loaded Nachos

Loaded nachos are a great treat!  It’s also a great way to use up fiesta left overs!


Warm up the ground beef in the microwave (or cook fresh ground beef with the taco seasoning).  Spread tortilla chips over a plate and sprinkle with shredded cheese and microwave until the cheese is almost melted.  Spread the ground beef over the cheese and microwave for a few more seconds until the cheese is completely melted.  Use any ingredients you have in the house to load up the nachos.  I used fresh tomatoes, green chillies, red onion, guacamole, sour cream and finely diced jalapenos.


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Mexican Rice

This rice turned out really well.  It was really simple to prepare, which is always great for entertaining.  The pan was completely scraped clean, which as a host of a party is always gratifying!

It can easily be adapted to feed 2 or 20.  These amounts served 10 or 12 of us.


1 box of brown rice (I used the instant boil in a bag type, all 4)

3/4 cups sour cream

1/2 can fire roasted tomatoes with green chilis

1 small can green chilis

1/2 packet taco seasoning

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Prepare the rice according to the package directions.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13 dish.  Spread the rice into the dish and mix in the taco seasoning, sour cream, tomatoes and chilis.  Sprinkle cheese over the top.  Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

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Fresh Salsa

Fresh salsa is so unbelievably delicious and simple to prepare.  It is way better than store bought because you can tweek it to your taste!


Fresh tomatoes

Red Onion

Fresh cilantro

Green Pepper

1 lime



Chop the tomatoes, onion and green pepper in a small dice.  Chop the fresh cilantro and mix in with the tomatoes, onion, pepper.  Dice the jalapeno in very small pieces (this will help get the heat, but will hopefully not give a mouthful of spicy) and mix in.  Squeeze the lime over the fresh salsa.  If you want even more heat, you could do a dash of hot sauce into the mix.  A bit of salt and pepper gives extra flavor.  If you don’t want any major heat, leave the jalapeno out.  I did a bunch of “mild” without the jalapeno and then another with.


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Slow cooker chicken with peppers and onions

This chicken recipe is a bit like a fajita style, but done in the slow cooker.

1 or 1 1/2 chicken breast

1 green pepper

1 red pepper

1 small white onion

1/2 can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted with green chilis)

1 cup chicken broth

1 TBSP Tastefully Simple Fiesta seasoning (or just use taco seasoning if you don’t have that)


Slice the chicken breast in thin strips.  Sprinkle and massage the fiesta seasoning into the chicken.  Place the chicken in the slow cooker and cover with the chicken broth and about 1/2 of a can of diced tomatoes.  Cook on low for about 5 hours (since the chicken is sliced so thinly, this gave it plenty of time to cook through.  After about 3 hours, add in the peppers and onions (I think if they were cooked for the full time, they would’ve become too soggy).


Voila!  A simple and flavorful meal that is simple and delicious 🙂


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Pork Carnitas

This pork is the  It is amazing because it’s done in the slow cooker and it only takes a few ingredients.  This pork is so amazing that a couple of friends took cupfuls home as a “snack” for the drive home haha (even after tupperware was offered).  I found this recipe on, and used other reviewers advice and doubled the spice rub (which is how I’m listing it below).

It is rich and slightly sweet and overall completely yummy!

1, 3-4 pound pork shoulder roast (I used bone in roast)

1 tsp salt

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried crumbled oregano

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp cinnamon

4 bay leaves

2 cups chicken broth

Mix together all the spices.  I used about a 3 pound roast with the bone in and was using a smaller crock pot, so I actually cut the roast in half.  This did work out well so that I could coat more of the roast with the spice mixture.  Rub the spices all over the roast, you want to make sure it is covered and that you really rub it in.

Place the bay leaves in the bottom of the pot and place the coated roast on top.    Pour the chicken broth around the roast, being careful not to rinse the spice mixture off.

Roast the pork on low until it shreds easily with a fork, about 10 hours.  The original recipe advised to flip the roast after 5 hours, which I did do (though several reviews said that this is unnecessary).  Carefully find and remove the bay leaves.  Some reviewers said to remove the pork, shred and place on a baking sheet and cook the pork on a fairly high temperature to crisp up the meat.  But, for my taco bar, I just shredded the meat and left it right in the crock pot.

Sooo delicious!  I will definitely be making it again very soon.

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Fiesta! Fiesta!

This post is LONG over due!  It has been a crazy and exciting couple of weeks for me, and I have been terrible about turning on my oven or computer!  The reason I have been so overwhelmed is because I got a new job!  I started at The American Heart Association and love it so far!  I’m getting a hang of the schedule, and am getting caught up here.

Luckily I have lots of goodies to post!  And appropriately, several of the upcoming posts are for a fiesta I had recently.  If getting a job with your dream organization doesn’t give cause for a celebration, I don’t know what does!


My sister and brother-in-law gave me 3 section crock pot (a completely fantastic Christmas gift!) and I had been itching for months to use it.  It is perfect for a taco bar!  I made pork carnitas, chicken fajitas, and ground beef for the tacos, chips and fresh salsa and guacamole and cheesy Mexican rice.  And a pitcher of margaritas (ok, it was 2 pitchers!)


I found sombreros a the dollar store, perfect for decor and fun props!  I used a table clothe with peppers all over it and red and white silver ware.  My friend and I both made some colorful tissue paper pom poms to brighten up my place.


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We will never forget

There are events that change you, that change the way you look at each other and at the world.  I had long heard that there are events that you remember every detail about; where you were, who you were with, how you felt, ect.  These events include Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK and of course September 11, 2001.


I was fresh into my senior year of high school; full of excitement for a great year and promise of my future.  September 11, 2001 was picture perfect, blue skies with clouds doting the sky like they were painted in.  I was a member of student council, and we had a monthly meeting called student forum where members of student councils from different area schools met.  Our first meeting of the year was that day, and I was getting a few things ready before we left.  I was walking down the hallway when I ran into my video drama teacher, Mrs. Franks.  She looked as if she had seen a ghost, her face pale and her mouth still open.  First period was her prep, and she had the TVs on in the TV studio.  She saw the news right after the first tower hit.  I believe that she was the first person in the building to hear about what was then thought to be a tragic freak accident.  When we met in the hallway she told me what happened, and I walked with her to the office so she could tell the office staff and principals.  We turned on the news in the office to watch the coverage and to make sense of what was happening.  Within just a minute or two, we watched live in complete horror as the second plane hit the tower.

Still not knowing what was happening, we went to student forum and gathered with other student council members.  They rolled a TV into the room so we could updated with what was happening.  One of the teachers wanted to turn the TV off so that we could focus on the meeting.  Luckily the majority of the students and a few other teachers won out, and we focused more on the events as they occurred and not on the scheduled agenda.  Soon after we watched in eery silence as the tower came down.  They leaders decided to dismiss the meeting, and we all filed out to our cars trying to make sense of what was happening.  We decided to still go into Uniontown for lunch (which was our custom after attending these meetings).  We went restaurant to restaurant finding hand written closed signs on the doors.  I called my mum, who worked at the Uniontown hospital to hear her voice.  She let me know that they had been put on high alert, because they were the nearest hospital to Shanksville.  The whole staff was eagerly awaiting the call to let them know survivors were in route.  Sadly, the only call they got was to let them know there would be no need.  All perished in the crash.  We stopped to see my mum, and we both started crying when we saw each other.  She hugged me and my friends and helped to comfort us.  We headed for home.

We happened to have been having some work done in our kitchen that week.  When I got home that afternoon, the contractor was still there.  The poor man had no idea what was going on.  My sister had called early that morning and left a message on our answering; she was basically crying and yelling something along the lines of “those poor people, oh my God, those poor people”.  The poor contractor didn’t feel comfortable turning on our TV, so he heard the message (this was when people still actually had home phones and answering machines) and was beyond confused.  I filled him in on the days events.  I can only imagine what he had been thinking all day, but I’m sure it was no where near the actual days events.

I still get emotional thinking of that day (ok, I start crying usually), the lives lost, the heroes in action and the way that our country united.

We truly never will forget.  I am grateful to all of the heroes who did what needed to be done that day, and the weeks and months after and who still protect our freedom today.  I’m especially proud of and thankful for my cousin, Robbie, who has served in the reserves and served several tours of duty.  He has put his life on the line, as so many other soldiers have, to try to keep us as safe as they can.

Chocolate Mousse

This recipe is delicious!  Seriously.  Amazing.  It is a great base recipe that I have adapted in several ways already.  I originally saw this in Bon Appetite magazine and it was part of an Irish Cream Chocolate Mousse cake (which can be found here which was ok.  I found that the mousse was the best part of the cake, and wasn’t thrilled with the outcome of the cake.  It was dense and flat.  But, the recipe for the chocolate mousse made it ALL worth it.  Delicious.  I am posting the regular recipe and will then put the adapted variations that I have also made.

This recipe definitely takes a bit of time and a lot of love to make sure it’s right.  It’s not something that you can rush.  It also takes several bowls, so make sure you have enough mixing bowls available!

4 large eggs

1/3 cup sugar

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 chilled whipping cream

1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur

Whisk eggs and sugar in a large metal bowl.  Set the bowl over simmering water (make sure it’s simmering, not boiling!  I ruined the base by having the water too hot once).  And make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.  Whisk constantly until the candy thermometer reaches 160 degrees, about 5 minutes.  Remove the bowl from the water.  Using an electric mixer, beat eggs until cool and very thick, about 10 minutes.

Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stir until melted and smooth.  Remove chocolate from water; let cool to lukewarm.

Chill a metal mixing bowl and electric beaters in the freezer for a bit (it helps to speed up the process of making whipped cream).  Combine the cream and Irish cream in the cold bowl; beat to stiff peaks.  Pour lukewarm chocolate over over mixture and fold together.  Fold in the whipped cream.  Cover and chill until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for it to set up over night!!

Other adaptations I’ve tried are adding about 1 TBS of finely ground instant coffee granules to the melted chocolate (still with the Irish Cream).

Another time I did the finely ground instant coffee granules and used Kahlua instead of Irish Cream (same 1/4 cup).

And the last time I made it I used Chambord in the whipped cream to make it chocolate raspberry mousse.  Delicious!  The little air plane size bottle of Chambord is the perfect amount!

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Mini Scrambled Egg Muffins

This was a really great dish to entertain with, it was easy to put together and was easy to put in the oven and forget about while I got other things ready.  You can customize this very easily, and just throw in whatever you like!  These also tastes great the next day after about 20 seconds in the microwave.  I think these would also freeze well.  I will probably be making a batch of these to freeze, soon and will confirm this theory!

This made 20 mini muffins.

8 eggs

1 TBS heavy whipping cream (I just had a little bit of this on hand, you could definitely substitute milk)

2 TBS mayonnaise

1/2 pound of sausage

1/2 can fire roasted tomatoes

1/4 cup cheddar cheese

Brown the sausage in a skillet.

Crack eggs into a large bowl and add the cream or milk.  Scramble gently.  Add in the mayonnaise (it helps give the eggs a nice puff while baking) and mix again.  Add in the sausage, cheese and tomatoes (I used fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies).  Make sure it is combined well, but don’t over mix it.  Line your muffin tin with only the foil cupcake liners.  Spoon in the egg mixture into the each opening, filling about 2/3 full.

Bake at 350 until they have risen a bit and are don’t give any wiggle in the middle when you jiggle the pan, about 20-25 minutes.

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