Panda Orange Chicken

So Matt and I love Chinese food! But he hates Panda because of a bad night after eating there, and really I can’t blame him. But since it’s the only fast food Chinese in town, we are sunk. Until I got brave and decided to try to make it at home. Yes folks, this was my first Chinese recipe attempt at home… How it waited for 22 years is beyond me. Now that I have started, however, this will be a new usual!

So I found a recipe for orange chicken, and since we’ve made it twice in the last week I can verify that it is amazing.
Here’s where I got the recipe:
http://www.food.com/recipe/panda-express-orange-chicken-103215

And here’s my adapted recipe:
Cook chicken in a skillet and then remove.
Deglaze pan with 2 tbs red wine vinegar.
Add the 1tsp garlic, minced.
After 2 minutes add the orange sauce recipe: adapted version below.
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red chili pepper
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons white vinegar
1 orange, zest of and juice (I used a cutie)

Mix the sauce together and then pour into pan.
Add 1 Tbs cornstarch and cook until thickened.

Serve over rice.

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The Difference a Day Can Make

Yesterday we had so much amazing support from family and friends! We are so blessed!
I’ll start with before pictures. This is proof of all the hard work, elbow grease, and diesel that was used and given. The proof that one day can make a world of difference.
Before:


During:

And After:

And I can’t wait till we can put yard back here, it’s already so much better!! We can walk all the way around the house! A feat that was not possible just two days ago!!

I can’t thank the people who came out to help¬†enough!! And am so grateful for the friends who will let us borrow equipment and spend their days off working.

Style…

Maybe I’m finally learning how to dress myself.

My whole family will most always admit that I am fashion clueless.

But some days, I get it right.

Like when I bought this dress:

So, maybe I’m getting there…

But even if I don’t, I felt pretty, the dress is so cute and soft.

I got the dress off http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=417942&u=919127&m=43745&urllink=&afftrack= and if you get something you like through my link, it will help me buy more cute dresses too ūüôā

And I wore my hair flower from my wedding again, for the first time since July 6th :]

 

Waffle Iron Hashbrowns

I am making these as I write this post, and Matt is devouring the first one off the iron, so I’m assuming they must be good!

Recipe:
3 potatoes, washed and grated, and rinsed (alter to feed however many people you have, I’d say 1.5 potatoes per normal eating person. If I was feeding my brother-in-law, for example, I’d grate 4 just for him!)
You could also add: grated onion, carrot, zucchini, squash, whatever is in season.
Seasonings: salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.

Mix veg. together and squeeze out excess liquid. Add seasonings and mix.

This is a great recipe to add different things to and experiment.

Turn your waffle iron to high, spray with oil, spread the potato mixture out in it, and cook until crispy and golden brown. It took us about 7 minutes? It would have taken less if I quit opening the iron to look at them.

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I like mine with ketchup and Siricha.
Matt likes just ketchup.

Spinach, Tomato, and Olive Quiche

This yummy dinner came about tonight because we had a Costco sized container of spinach in the fridge that was looking like it was about to turn. So I added it to a onion, garlic, olives, and sun dried tomatoes, some eggs and cream cheese and baked it all up.

This is a crust less quiche, but if you wanted to you could stick it in a pie shell, prebaked.

Recipe: One onion, diced Four cloves of garlic, minced
1Tbs olive oil
3-4 cups spinach, washed. (To use frozen just drain it first)
1/4 cup cream cheese
5-6 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup olives, chopped
1-2 Tbs sun dried tomatoes

Sauté the onion and garlic, when translucent add the spinach and olives. When the spinach is wilted add the cream cheese and take off heat. Mix until the cream cheese melts into the mixture, let cool 10 minutes, add the tomatoes and eggs.
Pour into a greased pie tin and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until done.

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Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

I make this cake regularly. Once a month or so sometimes. It is amazing, even for me and I don’t like a lot of chocolate. This cake and a cup of milk is sometimes a craving that is beyond hope.

Recipe:
1 cup oil
2 cups cold water
1 tbsp vanilla
(Combine in a mixer)
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. Cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 cup sugar

Add the sugar into the water mixture, then sift all dry ingredients and add them slowly into the wet mixture.
Pour into greased 9″ rounds and sprinkle the top of each with 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Frosting:
1/2. Cup butter or shortening
8 tbs milk
5 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4. Cup cocoa powder

Mix together, slowly adding the milk until it’s the right consistency.

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The recipe is so easy!
And it’s so fun to take different fillings and make it pretty ūüôā

It’s great because you can use different fillings or just the frosting and it will taste amazing!

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This one was given a shot of buttershots per cake after it was baked and then I added buttershots to the frosting, which is a butterscotch tasting liquor. It’s yummy!

Quinoa Chili

A week or so ago I was making a pot of beans with the intention to make a bunch of homemade freezer burritos (a post will be coming for those). I am not good at eyeballing beans however, and made WAY too many. Try double or triple what I needed for the burritos.

So since I had just bought my first bag of quinoa and was anxious to see what it tasted like I decided to make chili with my beans, some of the hamburger I had cooked for the burritos, and quinoa.

The recipe:

Beans: I have dried beans that came straight out of the combine when we were harvesting them but 2-3 cans kidney, pinto, black beans or mixture of them would work.
Meat: (optional) I used about a half pound of ground beef, already cooked.
Onion: half to one onion, chopped
Garlic: I used three cloves, minced.
Tomatoes: I used a 16 oz can of crushed and a 6 oz can of paste.
Quinoa: (precooked) 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water, cooked like rice.
Chili Powder: 2 Tablespoons
Red Pepper: 1/2 Teaspoon

Mix it all together and let it simmer for a while (10 minutes).
It was way better the next day, after the quinoa soaked up the chili flavors.
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We froze half of the batch so that we would have easy meals for when I’m swamped with school. I will be¬†making this again, it was amazing!! I loved taking it to school for lunch with some chips to eat it with!
Enjoy!

Stuffed Peppers

I made these the other day. They were yummy and healthy :] Of course, not so much when we smothered them with cheese. But it made them all the better.

Recipe:                                                                                                                                                          1 cup rice, precooked                                                                                                                          1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced                                                                                                               1/2 onion, chopped                                                                                                                                 1 Tbs oil                                                                                                                                                     2 garlic cloves, minced                                                                                                                           1 tsp salt (seasoned or plain)                                                                                                            1/2 tsp garlic powder                                                                                                                          1/2 tsp pepper                                                                                                                                          4 bell peppers, tops cut off and seeded

Sauté the mushrooms and onions together. Mix with the rice and spices.

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Stuff the peppers, put into a pan, and add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Tent with foil.

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Bake at 350 degrees until the peppers are cooked, about 30 minutes.

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Now is the time when you can add cheese to the top and melt it in the oven for a few minutes. My hubby loved taking these in his lunch instead of a sandwich, helps break up the monotony of packed lunches.

Here are some optional add in’s that are quite yummy also: sausage (add cooked to the rice mixture), spinach (saut√© with the mushrooms), celery (saut√© with the mushrooms), any other combination of vegetables would work also.