Technical Difficulties

The first post went up this morning on the new site and unfortunately as far as I can tell it was not sent to all of my wordpress.com followers!

My understanding was that once I did the export and import to the new site all of that information would travel with me and we would be up and running.  However, with some additional research it looks like I have to contact support and have them move my followers.  The problem is that apparently support is closed until Wed the 15th!

I will contact them but I can’t guarantee that it will work.  If you would like to continue to follow me another way, the new site is up and running at http://theinvoluntaryhousewife.com I have all of my social media, email and rss feeds available and linked up.

I apologize for the mess and I hope to see you at the new site!

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It’s Official – Comments Are Closed!

Thank you all so much for your support while we make this transition to our new site.  I decided that a random and gratuitous picture of my twins was in order because they make me smile.

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The comments are now closing for this site but the new site is up and running at  http://involuntaryhw.com/while the current domain name is transferring.  Both domain names will remain active after the move so you will have access using either one once the transfer is complete.

Again, thank you all so much and I look forward to seeing you at our new home.

Sometimes you Just Can’t Win – Crockpot Bacon Cheese Potatoes

The Test:  Crockpot Bacon Cheese Potatoes

The Result:  The cheese burnt and separated, my potatoes got overcooked and it was just not pretty.  I have no one to blame for this but myself, I read the directions 4 times and still got it wrong.  It was just one of those days, but it was still edible.

I have mixed feelings today.  The new site is up and running and ready to go, my minions have tested and retested it and so far as I can tell everything is working the way it should.  Yay!  On the down side it means that I will be closing the comments and making the final export from wordpress.com tonight (Don’t worry, I will do one last post to let you know when the comments go down and the actual move is in progress.)  I am sad to be leaving wordpress.com for one reason, the community here has been amazing.  I have had the opportunity to read some excellent blogs and the support and love for my own site has been overwhelming.  Thank you all so much, I am more grateful than you can know.

After I start the process tonight it can take up to 2 days for the domain name to point to the new site.  In the meantime you can visit me at http://involuntaryhw.com/ I would love to know what you think about the changes.

Ok, before I get all sentimental again it’s time to move on to the actual test!

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Crockpot Bacon Cheese Potatoes

http://www.quickneasyrecipes.net/crockpot-bacon-cheese-potatoes/

In the midst of the current chaos I decided that I needed something quick I could throw in the crock pot so I could race back upstairs and get some work done on the new site.

This has been floating around on my boards and I decided that this was just what I needed…similar to my favorite Texas Cheese Fries with less effort, this was just the thing.

Instead of red potatoes I used russets because that’s what I had in the house.

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I sliced off bacon from the package that I keep in the freezer and got it started in a skillet while I peeled and sliced the potatoes.  Thankfully I had the bacon on a really low heat since Joe had an ant bite emergency that required my immediate assistance.  Y’all I worry about him….a lot.

I didn’t line the crock pot with foil, I used one of my Reynolds Liners (Best things EVER.)

I am not sure if the order matters or not when it goes in, but I did follow directions.  Half of the bacon, then potato, cheese, dot with butter then the same thing one more time.

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Once both layers were in, I tucked foil in around the top to steam the potatoes.

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I put the lid on and reread the directions 4 TIMES!  I swear y’all it said to cook on high heat for 4 – 6 hours and I thought that was weird but I went with it because, not kidding, I read it 4 freakin times!

At the 2 hour point the potatoes were overcooked and falling apart.  The rest was a gloopy mess that looked completely unappealing.

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I took one last look at the directions and then saw that I should have cooked them on low heat…..well, crap…they must have updated the directions while these were cooking.  I have no other explanation.

As unappetizing as these looked, I was starving.  So I dished them up and added my Homemade Ranch and then tossed on some green onions.

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They weren’t horrible but they will never make my favorites list.  I have no idea if this was because of the high heat or if the cheese would have turned out like that anyway.  I’m sorry to say that I will never know.  The chances of me trying this again are next to nothing.

Tell me, did it turn out this way because the heat was too high?  Do you have a better way to do this?  Does your crock pot hate you as much as mine hate me?  I am dying to hear all about it!

The Chaos Continues – Butter Dip Biscuits

The Test:  Butter Dip Biscuits

The Result:  Very quick, easy and good.  I was expecting more of the butter taste to seep into the biscuits themselves, instead it made a crusty buttery crust.

There has been a minor setback on the new site.  I may have had a temper tantrum last night and decided to switch to a new host.  Of course, it wasn’t really a temper tantrum but more of a justifiable extreme fit of frustration with something that has been causing chaos for weeks.

The good news is that I have done all of the hard work and just need to do some importing and copy over some settings, the bad news is that instead of going live today it may not happen until the end of the week or the beginning of next.  It all depends on how long it takes to get it moved over and set up AGAIN.  Then there is the possibility that I may have to change some of the coding that I already did and….well, I have a gift for chaos.  Sometimes the easiest things turn into the biggest messes for no apparent reason.  I choose to believe it builds character because the alternative is to hide in a corner and never touch anything.

Today I have something nice and easy for you, mostly because I am currently incapable of anything too complex.

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Butter Dip Biscuits

http://www.thecountrycook.net/2012/02/butter-dip-biscuits.html

I was craving some sort of bread with dinner and since I didn’t have a lot of time I went looking for something that didn’t require dough to rise or any major effort on my part.  I came across this, did a quick fridge check for buttermilk and I was good to go.

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I made an error in judgement and decided that since I was using an entire stick of butter in the baking dish that I did not need to actually grease the pan.  I was wrong, apparently it is important because they stuck and I had to pry them out when they were done.

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My 8×8 baking dish is currently on vacation at my sister-in-laws house, so I used an 8inch round instead.  Since the rounds are a bit smaller, I did not use all of the dough.  I wanted to make sure that there was a nice layer of butter around the edges and over the top.

The dough is really thick and needs to be spread around.  I used my hands and got a nice evenish layer.

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One of my favorite things about this is that you precut the dough in the pan so after it is baked they break apart easily.

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I mentioned that this is a thick dough, right.  It is also pretty sticky so I didn’t have perfect cuts.  It stuck to the knife and overlapped and made a mess.  My cuts were a little uneven and I had some really small pieces since I was using a round pan instead of a square.

I popped it in the oven while I put together the rest of dinner.  They came out in 20 minutes and they were beautiful!

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They look amazing, right?  The texture was good, nice and fluffy in the middle and buttery crisp on the outside.  My only complaint was that the butter did not seep into the biscuits themselves.  I was hoping for a nice buttery taste all the way through.

I had just enough honey butter from my post A Texas Twofer – Roadhouse Rolls and Honey Butter left to smear all over these and that makes everything taste amazing.

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This is a perfect recipe for a last minute addition to a meal.  Minimal time, minimal effort and a good flavor that goes with anything.   I will definitely make these again.

What do you think?  Have another quick biscuit version that you think is better?  Tried these before and have a tip for a more buttery flavor?  Tell me all about it!

90(ish) Day Review and a Look Ahead

I have a few holdovers from my years in corporate environments.  One of those is the 90 day review.  While I realize that this blog has been up for longer than 90 days, in true corporate form I am behind on the evaluation.

Choosing to start this blog at the beginning of the year was either a brilliant move or the most insane thing I have ever done.  Not only did I get the chance to see if I could maintain a consistent posting schedule and test enough to have something to write about, there was also a benchmark birthday party and a family visit to plan for.

Talk about pressure!  The juggling got insane for a while there and I can admit that I did not handle it as well as I had hoped.  There were balls that I dropped, some that went flying into who knows where and some of them are still hanging out in the corners of my house waiting for me to get around to dealing with them.

At the real 90 day mark Joe and I started talking about whether or not I was going to continue, raise the stakes or quit.  Of course, with his school schedule these discussions took place in 2 minute increments as we were wandering past each other.  The outcome of these mini conversations is that I am now the proud owner/lessee/renter of a small corner of the internet and will be moving to a self hosted site.

The goal is to have everything moved over by the middle of this month and I think it might happen before that.  I am currently spending all of my free time (Ha!) building the site and making sure that everything works.  I am very close to done and have my minions trying to blow it up whenever they can.

The new site is definitely different (no more gawdawful purple that Joe set and I have not been able to fix!)  I have a new tagline and some new features, there are still plenty of bugs to be worked out but the majority of the work is done.  I am hoping to squeeze in a few hours this weekend and get it worked out.

A new Facebook page is in the works and should be set up at the same time the site transfers.  I am pretty sure that those of you who have liked me on FB will not move to the new page so you might have to like the new one (Sorry for that!).  However, the theory is that any current blog subscribers (including the ones from WordPress) will be moved with me and it will be a seamless transition.  I absolutely don’t believe that but, I can hope.

Before we move I want to thank you all for reading my posts, for your generosity in sharing them with your friends and family and for continuing to stick with me while I make huge messes testing these recipes.  You have made this worth doing in so many ways and given me a reason to believe that this transition should be made.  Thank you, thank you and thank you again.

Now I want to know what you want to see on the new site?  Any ideas, comments or suggestions?   You know I love to hear from you….tell me all about it!

Just for fun, here is the ONLY picture of Joe and I together at his birthday party!

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Taking Out the Trash – Chicken Enchiladas

The Test:  Chicken Enchiladas

The Result:  Love, love, love these!  The sauce was easy to make and no cream of chicken soup.  This is exactly the recipe I have been waiting for.  If you are a sour cream sauce fan, this is the one for you.

I love mexican food.  I am pretty sure I may have mentioned that once or twice before (maybe more, but who’s counting?) and it is not Joe’s favorite.  Luckily, my husband has been well trained and will eat whatever I put in front of him.  One of my favorite things in the world is when he actually stops shoveling food in his face to tell me how good something is.  When that happens I know I have found something that I can make again and again.

The traditional red enchilada sauces just don’t seem to work for him.  I have been on the lookout for a really good sour cream sauce for chicken enchiladas for a very long time.  I have tried a few and they turned out OK, but nothing that I was excited about.  Most of what I found used the dreaded cream of something soup and turned out really bland and boring.

Then I found this and my world became a better place.

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Chicken Enchiladas

http://eatcakefordinner.blogspot.com/2012/10/shelleys-chicken-enchiladas.html

This is another one of those recipes that uses ingredients that I almost always have around the house.  I did substitute a few things, like I tend to do.  Instead of using a canned broth, I used my homemade broth from Whole Chicken in the Crockpot with Bonus Homemade Broth

I also substituted the green salsa for a homemade red salsa.  I swear that recipe will wind up on here at some point but since I make a big batch and then can it,  I still have some in the pantry and probably won’t make more for a while.

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The sauce goes together really quickly and easily.  The butter gets melted in the pan, then the flour goes in one tablespoon at a time with a good whisking between to make sure no lumps form.  Auntie Fran was here when I made this and she is on a gluten free diet.  Of course, when I was making the sauce I completely forgot about that (I am such a nice person) and used flour.  However, since I assume that it is just a thickening agent, you could probably use cornstarch instead.  (Anyone actually know if that will work?)

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Once it is all in there and combined, it simmers for a few minutes to cook off the flour taste.

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The stock goes in and gets incorporated with the whisk.

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Another simmer for 5 -10 minutes while it thickens.  This is a great time to stuff the tortillas and get them ready.

I prefer flour tortillas for my enchiladas but Auntie Fran used corn and she loved them.  I used shredded chicken from Whole Chicken in the Crockpot with Bonus Homemade Broth, a combination of cheddar and mozzarella cheese and some diced red onions then rolled them up.  My original intention was to add some spinach, but I completely forgot about it until I was cleaning the dinner dishes.  Oops!

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By the time these are all rolled and in the pan the sauce should be nice and thick.  It gets taken off the heat and then the last and most crucial parts are added.

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It gets whisked again to incorporate everything. Y’all I have to tell you, the smell is amazing.  I almost decided that I didn’t need to actually make the enchiladas, I could just sit and eat the sauce.  Of course, everyone else wanted to eat too so I resisted…mostly.

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Several “taste tests” later I finally managed to pour this over the top of the enchiladas.  A nice sprinkle, alright more than a sprinkle, probably more of a heavy layer of cheese over the top and then into the oven for 25 minutes or so.

The wait was practically painful, I am pretty sure I was drooling.  I know I stood staring at the timer for the last few minutes trying to make it go faster.  Sadly, that never works but I continue to hope that someday it might.

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I am pretty sure there were compliments but I wasn’t really paying much attention because I was in a state of bliss.  The sauce tasted as good as it smelled and I loved every bite of it.  You are definitely going to want to try these!

Tell me what you think.  Can you use the cornstarch to thicken the sauce instead of the flour to make it gluten free?  Do you prefer the traditional red sauce to a sour cream sauce?  Have a homemade version of your sauce that you think I need to try?  I am dying to hear all about it.

Dutch, German, Swedish? Take Your Pick – Oven-Puffed Pancake with Berries

The Test:  Oven-Puffed Pancake with Berries

The Result:  An excellent alternative to “regular” pancakes.  It is easy to put together and goes into the oven, when it is done you have breakfast for everyone without having to stand over a hot griddle.  I absolutely love this!

In the wake of Joe’s party we had a group of family that stayed on for a few days.  Cooking for 8 people instead of 2 is completely different and I had a menu planned for  meals I thought would feed everyone.  Of course, by a menu plan I mean a list scrawled on a handy piece of notepaper which was what I had at hand when I decided I needed to make a list.

Thankfully my sister had something in mind that she wanted to test on us.  Her  Overnight Breakfast Casserole worked out well since I was a little short on breakfast ideas.  In an idle scroll through Pinterest I found this one and decided that it would be an excellent breakfast to test while I had a houseful of people.

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Oven-Puffed Pancake with Berries

http://www.two-tarts.com/2012/03/oven-puffed-pancake-with-berries.html

The ingredients fall into my standard household staple category which made this a perfect last minute addition to the menu.

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I went with the measurements from the recipe, with one exception.  I used a 12″ oven safe skillet.  At least I think it is a 12″, could be a 14″….something like that.  Instead of mixed berries, I threw in some sliced strawberries since we had a ton floating around and I wanted to use them up before they went bad.

I got the oven started first, then pulled all of the ingredients together.  The butter went into the pan in the warm oven and warmed while I mixed the batter.

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Please, please, please remember to use an oven glove when you take this out of the oven.  I almost forgot, reached for it and then realized how hot it was.  Yep, I am just that good *sigh*.

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The biggest difference between this batter and a normal pancake batter is that it needs to be whisked it until it is nice and smooth.  I whisked it up and got rid of as many lumps as I could and then poured it into the pan with the melted butter.

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I arranged the strawberries on top of the batter.  By arranged I mean that I dropped them into the batter in an attempt to cover the whole thing.  Of course, when I moved it from the counter to the oven they all slid around anyway.

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It went back into the oven for 15 minutes or so and then I pulled it out and put it on a serving tray covered with foil.

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Since I used a bigger skillet with the same measurements for the 10″ skillet this turned out more like a crepe than a pancake.  The strawberries were probably not the perfect compliment to this.  In the oven they took on a different flavor and texture.  Don’t get me wrong, it was still good but not quite what I was hoping for.  However, my sister is more of a crepe person than a pancake person and she loved that this was so light and thin.

There was definitely not enough of this to serve as a meal for that many people.  Thankfully, we had bacon, fruit salad and croissants so no one went hungry.

I tested this again with a 10″ skillet and some blueberries from my freezer last week and I liked it even better. It puffed up more and the edges were airy and tasty.

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The center was thicker and was more reminiscent of an actual pancake.  The blueberries definitely made a huge difference and tasted great.

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I made this for lunch during the week and refuse to admit how much of it I ate.  I can assure you that I will not be doing that again, but I did throw one together over the weekend and Joe loved it.  This is definitely something you want to make when you have someone else to keep you from eating more of it than you should.

Both versions I made turned out amazing for different reasons and were so easy!  This is definitely something I will make again, but only when Joe is home to keep me from eating all of it.

What do you think? Are you a crepe person or a pancake person?  Have another version of this meal that you think is better?  Tell me all about it!