Tuesday, January 28, 2014

my favorite food blogs

Sometimes I feel really fortunate to live in this day and age.  I don't have to travel to work via horse drawn carriage.  If I have wet clothes, I can put them in a fancy drying box instead of on a line in the yard.  There is a big screen in my living room to keep me entertained at night and on the weekends.

One of my favorite things about this new fangled world we live in, though, is the fact that I can find millions of recipes anytime I want (as long as there's wifi).  When I first started to get into cooking, I would just google whatever it was that I wanted to cook.  I still do that occasionally, but I have nailed down a few "food blog staples" that I tend to check before I look anywhere else.

1) The Pioneer Woman
My favorite food blog is my girl, PW.  Ree has delicious recipes, and I love her step by step instructions with pictures!  She makes everything easy peasy.  The only thing I don't love about her recipes is that I usually have to cut them in quarters because she cooks for so many ding dang people!

Photo credit: Ree Drummond

My favorite thing that I've ever made from Ree's site is her BBQ Chicken Pizza.  We are actually having this tomorrow for dinner, and I cannot wait!

2) Eat Live Run
It's no secret that I love me some recipes from Jenna over at EatLiveRun.  Jenna's recipes are simple, healthy (for the most part), and they are great for Austin and me because she is usually cooking for her and her husband.

Photo Credit: Jenna Beaugh

The best recipe I've ever made from Jenna's site are these Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs.  This is the perfect thing for a romantic, homemade dinner.

3) Joy the Baker
Joy's blog is so fun to read because she is such a great writer.  She always has something to say, and I love the way that she presents her thoughts.  Her recipes are the ones I turn to when I'm feeling adventurous or want to try something a little outside the box.

Photo Credit: Joy Wilson

My favorite dish from Joy are these BLT Corn Salad Wraps.  I usually think of Asian food when I hear "lettuce wraps", but these have more of a Southwestern feel, and they are fantastic.

4) Two Peas and Their Pod
I don't visit this site as religiously as some of the others, but Maria and Josh have some good stuff on their blog.  Their recipes are great for families, and I like hearing about their "pod", Caleb.  

Photo Credit: Maria Lichty

These Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies are heaven sent, and they are all thanks to Maria and Josh.  They remind me of one of my favorite Girl Scout Cookies.

5) Recipe Girl
Lori knows her way around a kitchen.  She has TONS of recipes, and she is my go to girl if I need something kid friendly (which isn't very often).  I've made several things from her site, and they have all been a success!

Photo Credit: Lori Lange

My favorite thing I've made from Recipe Girl are Lori's Cinnamon Roll Cookies.  Good gravy, these cookies were the bee's knees.  I can only make these for a crowd because I really think I could eat an entire batch by myself.

Do you love these Internet foodies as much as I do?  What's your favorite food blog?  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

ms. val's beef tips

I think every guy has a meal or two that reminds him of where he grew up.  For Austin, Ms. Val's beef tips are one of those meals.  

I talked a little about Ms. Val in my last post, but in case you missed it, here's a quick run down: Ms. Val is Blake's mom.  Blake and Austin have known each other since Kindergarten and have been lifelong friends.  They were college roommates, Austin was Blake's best man, and Blake is also going to be the best man in our wedding.  They're BFFs.  

I can't tell you how many times Austin has mentioned these beef tips, and he is always telling me that he wants me to make them.  The only problem is I didn't have the recipe...until Christmas Eve!  Ms. Val graciously shared this with me while we were at her house celebrating the season, and I couldn't wait to make it.  Austin loved it, and I thought it was delicious as well.  It is definitely old school home cookin' (helllooooo cream of mushroom soup), but that's what makes it so comforting.

So, without further ado, here's how you make Ms. Val's beef tips:


1 tablespoon olive oil
3 bouillon cubes
2 lbs round steak, cut into bite size pieces
1 container of mushrooms, sliced
1 "family size" can of cream of mushroom soup
2 cans of evaporated milk


In a large skillet, combine the olive oil and bouillon cubes over medium high heat.  Break up the cubes so it looks kind of like a paste.  Get your skillet HOT.

Add the steak in a single layer, and do not touch it once you put it in the pan.  Just let it get a nice sear because that will help add some delicious flavor later.  

Once one side of the meat is brown and has some good color, flip it over and let the other side brown for a minute or so.

After the steak is brown, add in the mushrooms and let those hang out for a little bit.    

Add in the cream of mushroom soup and condensed milk, and stir everything together.  Let that get hot, and then turn the heat down to low and cover it up!

Let the beef tips cook in the sauce for about 2 hours.  Keep it covered and cooking on low, but stir it about every 10 or 15 minutes.  

Once the sauce has thickened to the consistency of thick gravy, it's done!  Serve it over mashed potatoes or rice.  

I'm linking up with Ashley and Jessica today for Taste of Tuesday!  Have a great day, everyone!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

happy holidays!

We took down our Christmas decorations yesterday, so I guess the holiday season is officially over.  Womp.  Austin and I had a hectic but wonderful Christmas, and we had a blast ringing in the new year.

We started what Austin called our "Tour de Houston" on the 22nd.  We went to Houston and stayed with my mom and dad that night.  On Monday the 23rd we headed over to my Mimi's house to help her bake.  We also got to have lunch and dinner with some of the other members of my Dad's family, which was awesome.  That evening we made the trip over to Austin's mom's in La Porte.  We spent Christmas Eve with her by going to church, opening gifts, and going to a Christmas party at Ms. Val's (Ms. Val is a very good family friend and the mommy of Austin's best man, Blake).  

We came back over to my parent's on Christmas morning and opened presents with them.  The best gift of the morning was this folding chair thing that my parents got for Austin.  They thought it was a full sized one that he could use for hunting, but it turned out to be a "pocket chair" that could literally fit in his back pocket.  It was hilarious!

No, Austin is not a giant.  The chair is just that small.

When we were finished with presents, we headed to the lake to see my mom's parents.  Little did I know, this was the last time I'd get to see my grandpa.  We had a great visit with delicious food, a warm fire, and way too many presents.

Nanaw & Peepaw opening their gifts.

This visit was also really cool because Austin got to see my grandpa's garage, complete with vintage tools and antique cars.  Toot toot!

My sister and I are headed back up to the lake this afternoon for my grandpa's viewing and funeral services.  It will probably be a hard trip, but I'm sure we will celebrate the great life that my grandpa had!  We are all comforted to know that he is in a better place and is no longer in pain.

The last holiday of the season, New Year's Eve, was a blast.  I woke up to some tough news, but Austin and I were still able to enjoy the holiday with some of our close friends.  We hung out during the day, but that evening we went over to our friend Ashley's for dinner, drinks, and one heck of a bowl game.  A&M played "Dook" in the Chick-fil-a Bowl, and it was a nail biter to say the least.  Luckily, A&M pulled out a victory in the end thanks to Johnny Football, so we were in celebration mode come midnight.

Top: I made guacamole and 7 layer dip to take to the party, and they went well with the delicious hamburgers that we had for dinner.  

Side: Cheers to 2014!

Bottom: I guess there's a point where a blogger's guy gets sick of doing everything on camera.  ;)

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  The countdown to Spring Break starts Monday!