Return of the Monkeys

OK, I know, I’ve been gone for, like, ever.  But I swear I’m back and I’ll start posting again and life will be back to normal.  I promise I have a good excuse, too–we moved halfway across the country, lived with family for awhile, and bought a house.  And on top of it all, I got diagnosed with cervical endometriosis in November.  So that meant a hysterectomy was in order (ugh!), so we decided to do it after the holiday season.  Monkey’s birthday is in December, along with about half of the rest of the family, so there was a birthday party, then Christmas, then a trip to visit MD’s family in California, and then surgery 2 weeks later.  I had a major setback yesterday and ended up back at the Dr, where I was given a new pain medication that works wonders.  Thank God for pharmaceuticals!

So I promise to try hard to keep up with this blog now.  I’ve added a million more things to Pinterest, so feel free to check out my page and follow me for lots of recipes, sewing, and kid stuff.  Note: My kid stuff only goes up to about 1st grade or so, so if you’re looking for help with your teenagers, you’re probably SOL.  Sorry about that, but take lots of notes for me so when Monkey is older I can come to you for help.  🙂

As far as recipes go, I have a few favorites lately:

First, everyone loves cookies.  I’ve tried several different recipes, and I love the Chocolate Chip Cookies  from The Cooking Bride.  The best part about them is that I can leave out the chocolate chips, throw a few on a baking sheet, and put them in the oven for Monkey, who’s allergic to milk/chocolate (I know, poor thing).  I also use dairy-free butter for her.  She’s allergic to eggs, too, but it’s a mild allergy and the 1 egg doesn’t seem to bother her.    After I make one sheet of cookies for Monkey, I add the chocolate chips and bake the rest for me and MD.  YUM.

Since I’m usually the one coming up with new recipes, and since I was mostly in bed for the first week after surgery, I came up with a few other recipes for my mom and MD to make.

I’m a part of Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) here in town, and the best part of the meetings (other than getting to socialize with other moms, of course), is the foooooood!  We take turns bringing food to each meeting, and I love that I get to try new recipes that way.  Back in October, there were 2 recipes that we all went crazy over, and everyone wanted the recipes!  They’re great for breakfast, but I would honestly eat them anytime and anywhere!  Here they are:

Pumpkin Crunch:

1 pkg yellow cake mix

1 – 15 oz can pumpkin

1 – 12 oz can evaporated milk

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla (my friend recommends Mexican vanilla if you have it!)

1 1/2 Cups brown or regular sugar (whatever you’ve got in your pantry)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt or regular table salt (again, I love this recipe because it works with whatever you have in your pantry)

1 Cup butter, melted

1/2 Cup pecans, chopped (or just eyeball it to your taste)

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9×13 pan.

Mix all ingredients **except cake mix, pecans, and butter**.  

Place mixture in pan and sprinkle dry cake mix and pecans over the mixture.

Drizzle melted butter on top.

Bake uncovered 50-55 minutes.

Totally simple, right??  Then there’s this one:

Potato Casserole:

2 lb frozen hash browns

1/2 Cup melted butter (unsalted)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 pt sour cream

1/2 C minced onion (my friend Tracey cooks them before adding so they’re not crunchy)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

10 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Topping: 

2 Cups crushed corn flakes

1/2 C unsalted butter

Mix all the ingredients **except the topping ingredients**

Place in 9×13 pan

Sprinkle crushed corn flakes on top

Sprinkle the 1/2 Cup melted butter on top

Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes

This one is a little harder to make allergy-free, since it involves sour cream, cream of mushroom, and cheddar cheese.  But I do use dairy-free butter for Monkey, which works great.  But I think this recipe will be for me and MD only.

Last weekend, I was on my feet long enough to make the Sausage McMuffin Casserole from Eat at Home.  Sorry there aren’t any pictures, but I can tell you it’s absolutely delicious.  I made a list before surgery of various recipes that I had the ingredients for.  MD chose this one on Saturday, but he didn’t realize it’s supposed to set for an hour before you cook it!  Keep that in mind!  He wasn’t willing to wait, so we baked it immediately.  It still came out great, but I think the point in waiting is to let the muffins get covered in/soak up the egg mixture, so they stay moist.  In our version, they were slightly crispy, but that was fine with us.  It still tasted great and will stay on our list of fantastic recipes.

Those are my favorites right now.  Of course I’ll add more later.  And I promise it won’t be a year later, like last time!

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