"Growing up Southern is a privilege, really. It's more than where you're born - it's an idea, a state of mind that seems imparted at birth. It's more than loving fried chicken, sweet tea, high school football, country music, and acoustic guitars. It's being hospitable, being devoted to front porches, magnolias, the good Lord, and each other. We don't become Southern - we're born that way."


Mediterranean Dinner

If you don't have Publix stores where you live, you are really missing out.
They have these little Apron meal stations where they cook delicious dishes and then give out samples. The other day when we were there, the dish was Mediterranean Ribeye Steaks with Pierogies a la Vodka. The kids and I tried it and we loved it.

So tonight, I made it for dinner. It was super easy, and super yummy!

Here are the recipes.

Mediterranean Ribeye Steaks

3 cups fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 lb boneless beef ribeye steaks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup pre-diced red onions
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto

  • Chop spinach; place in microwave-safe bowl.

  1. Cover spinach; microwave on HIGH 2–3 minutes or until tender. Drain thoroughly.
  2. Preheat large saut√© pan on medium 2–3 minutes. Cut steaks into 4 portions; sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper (wash hands). Place butter in pan, then add steaks and onions; cook steaks 5–6 minutes on each side or until 145°F (for medium-rare). Stir feta cheese, bread crumbs, and tomato pesto into spinach.
  3. Spread 1/4 cup spinach mixture over top of steaks during last two minutes of steak cook time. Carefully turn steaks and spinach mixture over to heat topping; cook 1–2 more minutes or until golden and slightly crusty. Gently turn steaks over and serve.
    NOTE: This topping may also be browned, using an oven broiler.

Pierogies à la Vodka

1 (16-oz) package frozen potato/Cheddar pierogies
1 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups vodka pasta sauce
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese

  1. Combine pierogies, water, and butter; cover and bring to boil on medium-high. Boil and stir 2–3 minutes.
  2. Remove lid; boil and stir 1–2 more minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed.
  3. Gently stir in pasta sauce; reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir 3–4 minutes or until hot and sauce begins to thicken. Stir in pine nuts and sprinkle with cheese; serve.
We had garlic toast with ours.

Note: I'm not being compensated in any way for this post; just sharing a good dish from my family to yours! =)


Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies!

I found the recipe for perfect peanut butter cookies, thanks to my friend Irregular Tammie.

They're from Publix's Apron Simple Meals. They're insanely easy and truly delicious!

Simple Peanut Butter Cookies


1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl.
2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Flatten with fork in a crisscross design.
3. Bake 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and slightly puffed. Cool 1 minute on baking sheet, then remove to wire rack. Serve.

Then stuff your face!


A Little Random

I posted a while back, maybe here, maybe on my main blog, I don't know, about making my own laundry soap. (awesome run-on sentence, no?)
When I started, I made the liquid version. I threw the whole first batch away because it didn't reach the right consistency (too watery). The second batch turned out the same way, so I did some research and found out that sometimes it doesn't thicken up, and that's ok. So I continued using it and it did seem to work fine. But, I kept wanting to try making powdered laundry soap. I found this blog post with the instructions and beautiful pictures, so I decided I was going to try it.
I will never make the liquid kind again! To make the powdered version, you basically just do a few of the same steps as making the liquid, and then you're done! Much easier, and it works better. Win!
Another win? You can employ child labor. (Shh...they think it's FUN!)

Elayna grating soap

Elayna & her friend Emma

This weekend I made Cabbage & Sausage and Shelbie informed that it's her favorite meal. =)
It sure is yummy!

I made peanut butter cookies from scratch last night and they turned out "meh". Does anyone have a really yummy recipe? Mine was just the basic recipe, and they were a little dry and not peanut-buttery enough. Any suggestions?

Go forth and be random!
Visit The UnMom for more of this random stuff.

Oh and visit my main blog, Putting the FUN in DysFUNctional, too.
Please. And thank you.


Baking Up a Storm

It all started with the blackberries growing in our yard.
Hundreds of them.
Then the blueberries started to ripen.
So to the interwebz I went, looking for recipes. And I began to bake cobblers.
And I made many, many cobblers with alllll of those berries. Peaches, too.
I also made muffins and pancakes.
Then, I was looking at some bananas that had turned soft and mushy and the thought of banana bread popped into my head.
So for the first time ever, I baked banana bread.
And it was good.
It is now official.
My name is Cyndy, and I'm a Bakeaholic.

{I've already posted the cobbler recipe, but if you want any of the others, let me know!}


Scotch Eggs

My in-laws are British, and for holidays they always make Scotch eggs. I'd never had them before the first holiday I spent with them, and I was missing out! They are delicious and simple. I never tried to make them at home though, because I assumed they had to be deep-fried. (I very rarely fry anything, and I don't even own a deep fryer.)
But I decided to check it out, and many of the recipes call for them to be baked. I also learned that there are many variations of this recipe, but I chose a simple one and they turned out great. John and I had them for brunch on Sunday and then snacked on them throughout the day. They're great for breakfast, brunch, or a dish for a party. There are also many different sauce recipes to go with them, but we don't use any sauce on ours.

  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 6 hard cooked eggs
  • 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs, purchased or home made, plain or seasoned
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard


On a sheet of waxed paper, divide sausage into 6 equal portions; wrap 1 portion around each egg. Roll each wrapped egg in bread crumbs. Beat egg with mustard and water; dip sausage-wrapped eggs in beaten egg mixture.

Roll in bread crumbs again;place on a rack in a shallow baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes or until browned, turning once during baking. Cut into halves lengthwise; serve hot with Dijon sauce or sauce of your choice. (or, no sauce at all!)


Black Bean Lasagna ~ Go Meatless Tonight!

While reading this month's issue of Reader's Digest, I learned that eating black beans is heart-healthy. (so I guess that song is really true! Beans, beans, good for your heart.....)
Anyway, I knew they were healthy but according to that article, one 3 oz. serving per day could increase your risk of heart disease by 40%!
Along with the article there were several recipes using black beans. This Black Bean lasagna recipe from Taste of Home sounded good to me, so I tried it this weekend.

(photo from Taste of Home)

Black Bean Lasagna

* 9 lasagna noodles
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 1 teaspoon canola oil
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 cans (16 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
* 2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
* 1 cup water
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
* 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 4 egg whites, lightly beaten
* 1 carton (15 ounces) reduced-fat ricotta cheese
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
* 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend


* Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, cilantro and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.
* In a small bowl, combine the egg whites, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and parsley.
* Drain noodles. Spread 1/2 cup bean mixture into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer with three noodles, a third of the ricotta mixture, a third of the remaining bean mixture and 2/3 cup cheese blend. Repeat layers twice.
* Cover and bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Yield: 12 servings.

This dish was very good, but it did not quite earn the rating of "Off the Chain". It was close, but hanging onto the chain by one arm. So we've decided the next rating down from "Off the Chain" will be "Slap Ya Mama". Also, it was better after it sat for a while and then we reheated it; I think the spices needed to soak in a little.

*ETA* I forgot to add, this dish is perfect for Meatless/Meatfree Mondays!!

One day a week - cut out meat!


Tangy Ranch Chicken

A couple of weeks ago, my friend posted on Facebook that she was making Tangy Ranch Chicken for dinner. I asked her for the recipe, and she passed it along.
I made it the other night and it was pronounced "off the chain". It is really good!
And not only that, but it's really cool to me that I made something from a recipe from a friend who I haven't seen in years, and who lives in Texas now. It's like a connection spreading across the miles, and yet another way that food brings people together!

So now, I'm sharing it with you.

2/3 cup ranch dressing
1/3 cup mustard (I used Hellmann's dijonnaise)
1/4 cup brown sugar
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs

Mix dressing, mustard & brown sugar in a bowl. Marinate chicken in this mixture for 30 minutes. Then bake the chicken at 350 for 45 minutes - an hour, until chicken is brown, adding leftover marinade as the chicken cooks.

I served mine over rice.


Meatless Monday

I was all by myself this Meatless Monday, so I kept it very simple & went Mediterranean. I picked up an edamame salad and some roasted garlic hummus from Publix. I bought sesame blue chips for my hummus. It was all sooooo delicious!

One day a week - give up meat!