Monday, September 28, 2009

Mouthwatering Monday: Bacon Cheeseburger Mini Meatloaves

I have to admit, I "hate" meatloaf. I never enjoyed it growing up & have basically shunned any variety of meatloaf...until now. I have been living la vida low carb since mid-July & have found some wonderful recipes online. I ran across this Paula Deen recipe for Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf, and decided that meatloaf couldn't be all that bad with these yummy ingredients. I modified the recipe quite a bit to lower the carb count & adjust to my family's personal tastes. I also wanted to speed up the bake time for this, so I opted for the mini version using a muffin pan. I was thrilled with how this turned out & will definitely be making it again...soon!

1 pound ground chuck
1 pkg. Oscar Myer pre-cooked crumbled bacon
1 (8-ounce) package sharp Cheddar, grated
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup French fried onions
2 tablespoons Ranch seasoning
1 tablespoon steak/burger seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck and next 8 ingredients, mixing well.
In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and mustard. Stir 1/4 cup ketchup mixture into meat mixture, reserving remaining ketchup/mustard mixture.
Press meat mixture into muffin pan. Spread remaining ketchup mixture over loaf. Bake 20 minutes. Pat with paper towel to absorb some of the grease from the top & sprinkle with French fried onions; bake another 5 to 10 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink. Enjoy!

Friday, September 11, 2009


I guess Mickey D's won't take my $75 or $200 bills anymore - geez! Give a girl a break already.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fruit Snack Stain Remover?

Yesterday I posed this question to several of my friends: Any idea how to get a melted red fruit snack stain out of the passenger seat of my grandmother's van we borrowed to go on vacation? Terry sat on said fruit snacks for apparently most of the trip to the beach (approximately 6 hours), so the bulk of the mess was absorbed by his khaki shorts. The rest is hard, dried & did I mention red specks in the seat of the car. I honestly have so much advice now, I don't know whether to heat or freeze or blot or scrape. Please weigh in on the poll to the right!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mod Monkey Party

I fell in love with the Mod Monkey party theme the moment I laid eyes on it back in May. Little did I know just how appropriate the theme would be for Drew's first birthday. I captured these priceless moments on video back in June, and knew that I indeed had a mod monkey on my hands.

During my time working at the local newspaper, I learned a little bit about design layout & have since created my own party invitations & Christmas cards for our family. I had seen a photo that my friend Shana took of her little boy in a monkey suit & immediately knew that was exactly what we needed for our invitation.

For the decorations, I pulled the blue and yellow polka dots from the invitation; and (of course) we had monkeys! Somehow I didn't really get many pictures of the decorations with the exception of the giant gorilla in the background of our family photo. The kids’ shirts were such a great find to really make things festive. I ordered them here from a shop on Etsy. They were very well made, and were shipped in no time flat. Now Abi doesn’t typically wear t-shirts that aren’t “girl cut,” so this one seemed a little boxy to me. SO I had the idea to frill it up with ribbon and a cute ruffle around her jeans topped off with a hair bow to match! Thanks to Chassity at Lina Bina’s for getting this done so quickly. I was also quite surprised at how easy it was to find coordinating shirts for us grown-ups to wear to complete the look.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I tend to go a little overboard when it comes to party planning. I can’t help it. I would love to do this kind of thing professionally, but just don’t live in the right market for it – especially in today’s economy. Anyway, in keeping with the monkey theme, I wanted the food to be fun, colorful & oh so mod! My sister Ashleigh always does our fabulous cakes & comes the night before to help me with the other food preparation.

Mod Monkey Party Menu:
- Deli sandwich platter
- Veggies, chips & dips
- Fruit kabobs with chocolate & cream cheese dips
- Twisty Cheetos
- Caesar pasta salad

I think the presentation of the food turned out really great. It didn't hurt that Ashleigh just happened to have that gorgeous watermelon in her fridge. We served the fruit dips in the hollowed-out canteloupe shell. We debated about how to serve the pasta salad so that everyone could get some of the romaine lettuce with their serving. I think the individual pasta cups worked out very well for the informal party setting.

In my opinion, the best part of any 1-year-old’s birthday party is the smash cake. I really wanted to stick with the yellow, blue & white theme on the main cake, so naturally the smash cake had to be the monkey! Ashleigh’s cake decorating only continues to get more & more amazing, and I think she truly captured the theme beautifully. Notice how the writing matches the font from Drew’s invitation – yep…pretty impressive! And (believe it or not) the cakes actually taste better than the look. Instead of ice cream, we served banana pudding trifle (Paula Deen's "Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding" recipe) that was out of this world.

Drew had a fantastic time smashing his cake, opening his presents and playing with family & friends. Each guest was sent home with a clear plastic cone of “monkey munch” which consisted of Sweet-n-Salty Chex Mix, blue M&M’s and banana chips tied up with blue & yellow curling ribbon. It appears that we didn’t get a photo of those either, but they were very cute.

Thanks for hangin’ around!

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