Monday, February 21, 2011

Mississippi Mud Cookies

To my knowledge, I've never had Mississippi Mud Cake. So, I can't vouch for these cookies tasting just like their namesake. I can vouch for the fact that these cookies are something special.

I was looking through the fabulous cookbook M gave me for Christmas, Southern Living's 1001 Ways to Cook Southern, for an easy cookie recipe. I had all the ingredients and I had some marshmallows that needed to be used. It was a match! The recipe is simple, but the marshmallows make the cookies extra chewy. After one bite, I was hooked! They are chewy, chocolatey, fudgey, and just plain good!

I found a link to the recipe from Southern Living's site. You can view it here if you like. I made a few changes. The cookies don't look like much, but I firmly believe yummy food doesn't have to be pretty :)

Mississippi Mud Cookies
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup softened butter (room temp)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (large or extra large)
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips
around 1 cup marshmallows

1. Preheat oven to 350. Microwave semisweet morsels in a small glass bowl 1.5 minutes until smooth, stirring after 1 minute.
2. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed in mixer until creamy, add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended. Beat in vanilla and melted chocolate.
3. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Gradually add to chocolate mixture. Mix well. Stir in milk chocolate chips to combine.
4. Spoon onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Press 3 marshmallows into each piece of cookie dough. Bake for 12 minutes.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Puppy Love

Happy Valentine's Day from M, Beth, and Bailey :)
And Happy Birthday Mom!

This is Bailey. The new addition to our little family. She's a miniature long-haired dachshund. We got her on Saturday and are loving her to pieces!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tater Tot Casserole

I first heard of tater tot casserole when watching an episode of 19 Kids and Counting. It sounded like something I could really support! I started looking at sites like and the Duggar family website for a recipe to make this yummy looking dish. None of the recipes I looked at seem just right. I made up my own as I went along, and I've been tweaking it into the recipe I'm sharing today. My family seems to like it, and I hope you do, too! This is the first dish I made and considered a success, so it holds a special place in my heart. Plus it's cheesy, comforting, and really tasty.
I usually serve this as a main dish with a salad and rolls. It can be put together and refrigerated in the morning, and you can pop it in the oven when you get home from work. That makes this a pretty simple meal to put together. No, it's not the healthiest thing in the world, but it sure is good.

Note: Because I added to and modified this so much, it makes a ton. I use a 9x13 glass pyrex dish plus a smaller size glass dish I have. Just know it makes more than will fit in a normal size casserole dish. You can probably get away with dividing it into two 9x13 dishes. It just won't be as deep.

Tater Tot Casserole

2 pounds tater tots
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
finely chopped onion to taste
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 (8 ounce) package shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 dash minced garlic
1 teaspoon seasoning salt (I use Lawry's)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup softened butter
grated parmesan cheese (to taste)
2 pounds ground beef* (optional - I always use it because it makes this a more filling meal)
3 cups Cornflakes cereal

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray an extra large casserole dish or two regular 9x13 dishes with cooking spray.
2. If using, brown ground beef in a skillet, drain.
3. Place tater tots in a large mixing bowl.
4. Combine soup, onion, sour cream, cheddar cheese, a few sprinkles of parmesan cheese, garlic, seasoning salt, and softened butter in a small bowl. Pour mixture over tots. The mixture will be very thick. Mix the tots and the mixture together until all the tots are covered with the mixture.
5. Put ground beef in the bottom of the casserole dish. Add the tater tot mixture on top of the ground beef.
6. In a medium bowl, mix cereal and melted butter. Pour over casserole. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese and extra cheddar if desired.
7. Bake, uncovered for 45 minutes - 1 hour, until brown.

Alabama Snow A

Our claim to fame? My husband's genius snow creation. We won 2nd place in a local snowman competition. When M first suggested we make a snow A, I had no idea what he had in mind. I admit to trying to get him to give up when I saw what he was starting to build. I thought there was no way he could pull it off. Shame on me. Four hours later, this is what we had in our yard.

He's amazing!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Office Space: Before and After

A space to write. A space to study. A space to read. A space to create. I have always had high hopes for our home office. When we picked out our house plan, I immediately knew that the front room would be "my space". I loved the large windows and the french doors opening into the living room. I was excited about buying a desk and setting up an office. However, we had to be realistic newlyweds. Furnishing other rooms had to come first. That's why my room sat emptily until last weekend. It was big, pretty, and very, very empty. This is what the office looks like now....

It's a work in progress, but at least it's not an empty room! M found the desk at Sams. I love how spacious it is. I can spread out different reference books and notebooks and still have room for my macbook. I borrowed the lamp from our guest bedroom until I can find the perfect lamp for the space. We are going to hang our framed diplomas above the desk. All in all, I'm happy with it. The chair was a quick DIY project to keep from having to spend more money. I took an old desk chair that M had in college and painted it. I know it's not fancy, but for less than 20 bucks we had a nicer desk chair. That works for me! Plus, I really love taking old things and giving them a new look and purpose.
Like I said before, this is definitely a work in progress. I'd love to hear some suggestions for cute (and cheap) things we can add to the room.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Life Without Internet

Until two days ago, M and I have had an internet-less home. Surprisingly, we survived! It wasn't as terrible as I expected, but I still feel like we're emerging from the dark ages into the 21st century. There were some maddening moments for sure. We had to rely on spotty 3g service on my phone. My poor husband has spent many frustrating hours trying to pay bills on a small touch screen. I've wanted to throw my phone against the wall while waiting on pages to load. Let's face it, we live in a connected world. Life without internet can be peaceful, but I'm not complaining about finally having affordable options for service in our subdivsion!

One thing I've learned.... it's hard to blog without normal internet. Please, please forgive me.