Homemade Irish Cream

At my last bookclub meeting, one of the ladies brought some “Homemade Bailey’s” (as she called it). I wasn’t sure if I had actually had Bailey’s before, to be honest. I’d had Kahlua, which I thought was similar. I’d always imagined Bailey’s to be minty. I don’t know if it is the whole Irish-green-mint association process that sparks off in my mind or what.

Homemade Irish Cream

At any rate, I tried Kelly’s concoction and it was good. I told myself that I, too, would make some Irish Cream.

Today was the day.

In anticipation for New Year’s Eve tomorrow, I wanted to mix up something a bit festive. Normally I’m one who strays from the recipe card, finding ways to insert my own twist to cast of characters. This time, I was good, and followed the recipe. I figured if I was going to spend close to $30 on a bottle of liquor, I didn’t want to waste it with one of my haphazard “interpretations” of a recipe I had not even tested yet.

I found many variations for Irish Cream, but decided to go with this one from One Perfect Bite:

Irish Cream Liqueur

1-1/2 cups whiskey (i.e. Jameson’s Irish whiskey)
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

I mixed everything in a 4-cup glass measuring container that had a small spout, anticipating the pouring process from the container to my rinsed and empty cherry DaVinci syrup bottle. See, I’m an eager, impatient lady sometimes, when I’m bustling about the kitchen. I had to remind myself to be slow, stir careful and pour patiently. Good girl.

End result? Yummy. It’s a whiskey-tastin’ treat, yes it is. I filled my syrup bottle nearly to the top, and had about 1 cup of leftover. Frank and are sipping the extra right now over ice.


Oven Baked Pancaked (Apple)

Saturday morning, a nice day for having a “lazy” morning breakfast (not truly “lazy” since that would mean, like breakfast in bed, or breakfast out – but “lazy” in the way that I don’t have to rush to get to work and can make something homemade and delicious). Pancakes the traditional way were out, because I just wasn’t feeling the whole standing over the skillet thing. But something warm and sweet was definitely on the menu.

I googled up some baked pancake recipes, even though I have some already. I found a few of them, but stuck with this one from Moms Who Think – Easy Breakfast Recipes, after finding a couple that were very similar, only with ingrediants listed differently and slightly different measurements. I figured thebase of the recipe must be good.

Baked Apple Pancake Breakfast Recipe


3 large apples, peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar (can use more)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (can use more)


6 eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2-3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350′F.
2. Grease a 9×13 baking pan.
3. Melt butter in baking pan in oven.
4. Place the apple slices evenly over bottom of pan.
5. Bake for about 10 min, or until apples soft.
6. Remove apples from oven, and dust with brown sugar and cinnamon.
7. In a blender, combine pancake ingredients, and spread over apples.
8. Return to oven, and bake about 30-40 minutes.
9. Sprinkle with sugar topping, serve immediately.

I found this recipe slightly confusing, and strayed from it a little bit. I did not use a blender, but hand-whisked. I wasn’t sure what the additional 2T. butter were for, so I omitted. I used regular milk instead of half and half. But the end result was good. It was very good, actually. The consistancy was a bit like custard. I topped mine with blueberries and a wee bit of Agave.


Easy Roast Beef Subs

No pictures, just the goods. We were too hungry and ate this up way too fast for me to snatch the camera. I managed to snatch a camera later when I made one up for my husband who was coming home after working 2nd shift.

In anticipation of me being home with the boys on a busy night, I picked up a package of sliced roast beef from Sam’s Club, a pack of their swiss cheese slices, and  a 6-pack of sub rolls from a different store. Today I went from work to home, to briefly checking emails, and getting the boys to their locations (football practice, hunter safety class and one who went with my mom) me off to take an exam, then me racing out to see the second half of a soccer game, to back home by 8:30 pm. Got all that?

Here’s what I did with the supplies I had previously gathered (It took me about 15 minutes):

1 cup water
2 tsp Better Than Bouillon Beef Base
1 package of sliced beef from Sam’s Club/Castle Foods 1# 6oz package (or sliced roast beef from your deli – about 1 1/4 pound)
1/2 small onion, sliced
1/2 bag of frozen, sliced peppers
1 package of 6 sub rolls
10 slices of swiss cheese
1T butter
1T olive oil
dash of salt and pepper

Saute vegetables on med-high heat. After they have released the water, add about 1T. olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Keep mixing so they don’t stick, turn on low when browned. Also, bring water to boil in stockpot or deep pan. Add bullion and butter. Add slices of beef, one by one. Stir gently to heat and saturate the beef. Turn on low.

Slice buns and top with cheese, veggies and meat, and a little of the broth if you like. Enjoy.

Super easy, nice and warm. Cheaper than take-out.


Stovetop Popcorn

Popcorn made the “old fashioned” way, on the stovetop, is one of my favorites. We generally make microwaved, since it is an easy snack for the kids to make themselves, but if I’m making it — I use the stove.

And my iron pan.

A thin layer of oil on the bottom, enough popcorn to coat the base, lid and a dial set on med-high. Patience.

popcorn on the stove popping

Vent the side a bit to let steam escape; be careful for flying kernels.

salt for stovetop popcorn

Sea salt.

popcorn on the stove

A big pot of popcorn.

With some melted butter and sea salt — divine.


Chicken and Rice Casserole

I don’t even remember clipping this recipe, but, while filing through my recipe book I thought I’d give it a try. It is called Awesome Chicken and Yellow Rice Casserole. Note 2 things:

1.) I can’t ever seem to follow a recipe to the “T”
2.) Because of our large family size I doubled the recipe

Here’s the original and here’s what I did:

1 large onion, chopped in bite-size pieces
1 large (red, yellow or green) bell pepper, chopped in bite-size pieces
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 whole chickens
1 tsp. cumin (approx. I did not measure)
1/4 tsp. garlic (approx. I did not measure)
pepper to taste
seasoning salt to taste
2 cups of brown rice (uncooked)

Everything else is pretty much the same. Sweat the onions, peppers and chestnuts in the OO, Throw the chickens on top, cook for 1.5 hours (or internal temp of 180). Make rice.

Chicken done. Remove; cool chicken, toss skin and bones (I used Smart Chickens, and there’s no neck or gizzard but if you’ve got those, you’ll probably want to toss or eat those, but not throw back in the pot), shred meat and return that to the pan with rice. Add the garlic and cumin, toss it around. Put it back in the oven (uncovered) for 15 minutes. Voila. Mmm-mm-good. I sprinkled some chili and lime on mine and it was delicious. Even better reheated the next day. Super easy recipe, super delicious, too.

Cuban Rice and Chicken Casserole


Mahvelous Meatloaf

This recipe calls for pork and beef, but you could make it will beef only. Makes 2 medium loaves.

1 pound ground pork
2 pound ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 large onion
3 cloves garlic
1 green pepper
1 cup ground crackers (I used Triscuit)
1/2 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1-2 Tablespoons oil or butter to fry
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
dash of salt and pepper

Finely chop the onion green pepper and garlic. Heat oil in skillet on medium; add veggies heating until soft. In large bowl, mash the ground crackers, beef and pork together with your hands. Add eggs, mash. Add cooked veggies. Mash more. Add remaining ingredients and mash more until everything is mixed well.

In a large casserole dish (this is key — don’t use loaf pans), divide meat, forming into 2 loaves. Bake at 375 for 1 hour, remove, cover with tin foil and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Easy and delicious.


Blonde Brownies

I often clip recipes from magazines, newspapers, etc. Using a glue stick I paste them into my wire-bound notebook (which is getting a bit decrepit). Tonight I had the urge to bake something. It feels like it has been forever since I’ve baked and very much enjoy it. I found a recipe I clipped from Cooking Light and tweaked it a bit. I have a problem with following recipes and not tweaking them. I admit it.

Butterscotch Brownies
2 c. all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup white and 1 wheat)
2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (I used 2 cups brown sugar and 1/2 cup Splenda)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. of salt (I omitted this since I used salted butter)
10 T. unsalted butter (I used 1 stick butter, 2 T. coconut oil)
3/4 cup egg substitute (2 eggs for me)
Cooking spray (which I don’t think you need because the batter was greasy as heck, but whatever)

Oven, 350. Preheat it. Measure flower, combine with sugar, baking powder and salt. Heat butter over medium heat to brown it, said the recipe. I don’t like to heat animal fats (unless they’re organic) too high like that, so I kind of skimped on it (freak, I know). Cool 10 minutes. Mix the butter with the egg; mix it well. Pour butter mix over flour mix; stir until just moistened. (Here I added about 1/2 chopped pecans and 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips). Spoon into greased pan (see note about the greasing above). Cook 30 minutes, cool in pan on wire rack, cut and enjoy.

It is in the oven now. Will update later with pictures and taste evaluation.


Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread. Way too easy and way too yummy. Here is the recipe I used and some hints to go along with it.

4 cans of bisquits
2/3 cup sugar (I used raw sugar, white is fine)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter

Combine sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon in large bowl. Cut biscuits into fourths and roll in cinnamon sugar, plop into a greased pan (I used a bundt pan). Combine brown sugar and remaining cinnamon in pan, bring to boil. Pour over the sugar-rolled biscuits (to make it extra sweet sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar over and shake the pan a bit). Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Turn out and serve warm. Yummmay.


Tacos Con Carne

Tonight we had tacos con carne. Too busy eating to remember to take pictures, but I assure you they were beautiful.

Chicken and steak, both grilled. They were very yummy. I made a dry rub/seasoning for the meat that consisted of:

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Squid and Octopus Salad from Gloriosos in Milwaukee

Glorioso’s Market. Milwaukee. We go to Milwaukee often enough. And nearly every other time we do, we stop at Glorioso’s on Brady Street. My most recent trip left me coming home with some squid salad for the family members that weren’t able to make the trip.


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