A Big WOW and THANK YOU!!!

June 30, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Posted in Cookies, Operation Baking Gals, Randomness | 2 Comments

If you’ve read my previous post, then you know that I have joined a wonderful group called Operation Baking GALS. I just heard about this group recently, decided to get more info, and then decided, “Hey, I’ll just dive into this head first and be a team leader this month!” I was a little nervous about taking on the role of team leader my very first time even doing anything with the program. After all, do I really know that many people who would be willing to bake a box of goodies and ship them to my chosen soldier (obviously Luke!) and his fellow soldiers?? But I decided to go for it.

The response for this – was AMAZING!!!! I posted it on both of my blogs, my Twitter, and my Facebook and I have had an overwhelming response. Normally they like to cap the groups off at 20 so of course my goal was 20. 🙂 I thought it might be farfetched but you know what? I am up to EIGHTEEN signed up so far!! WOW WOW WOW! So I just wanted to post a giant THANK YOU to everyone who has agreed to help me on my first whirl as team leader for the GALS. It means so much to me because I’ve become really excited about this project and my brother has already told his fellow soldiers that they would be getting a big load of goodies soon so they are awaiting the arrival of all the yummy goodness!

I am excited because tomorrow officially begins the shipping dates for the baked goods. The shipping dates are July 1 – July 11 for this round. I plan on baking this weekend and shipping on July 6 (which is also my two year wedding anniversary I might add!). I really really want to send my famous sugar cookies (er, Erin’s famous sugar cookies…) because my brother loves them and requested them but I’m way too scared of the icing melting I think.  I may try a few and have him let me know how it goes.  Other than that I’m making apple spice cookie bars, snickerdoodles, magic in the middle cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. 

If you are on my team and you have any questions, please let me know and I will be more than happy to help. If you were unable to help with my team this round, don’t worry. I have a feeling this won’t be my last run as I’ve had so much fun with this project 🙂



Baking for the Troops: Operation Baking Gals

June 24, 2009 at 6:51 pm | Posted in Operation Baking Gals, Randomness | 2 Comments

Recently my fabulous friend Clara at iheartcuppycakes told me about a blogging group called Operation Baking Gals and she thought I might be interested in it.  So I looked it up and yes!!  Sounds like something I would LOVE to do!  As most of you know, my little brother…er, I should say YOUNGER (19) not little, is serving in Iraq with the Indiana National Guard.  He has been there since February and we are keeping fingers crossed the  he gets to come home in either December or January.  My other blog has more information on him —->  http://militarysister.wordpress.com/


(My brother is third from the left…this is his “ride” – a Blackhawk!)

My family and I love sending care packages to him.  They LOVE receiving things from home.  When I saw this wonderful baking group, I knew it was perfect for me!  I get to bake AND do something good at the same time?  Sign me up! 

I have now signed up to be a team leader for Operation Baking Gals for the July shipment.  Now all I need is a team of bakers!  I have a few people who have already committed but I definitely need more – I need to get about 20 people if at all possible.  It’s very easy-all you have to do is make some baked goods that can be shipped overseas (basically just nothing that will melt), and ship them out between July 1st and July 11th.  The baked goods will all go to my chosen soldier – my brother – and he will then disperse them throughout his group.  How awesome is that??  I’m beyond excited to be a part of this group and I hope I can continue to be a part of it. 

An excerpt from Operation Baking Gals site:

Baking GALS (GALS stands for Give A Little Support) is a group of volunteer bakers who bake and ship homemade goodies to our heroic troops that are currently deployed.  Each soldier is “Hosted” by a blogger, and potential bakers are “recruited” from the bloggers own site as well as the GALS site.  Each Host recruits between 20-25 bakers, meaning LOTS of goodies get delivered to our soldier…so many, in fact that he or she has plenty to share with their fellow troops!

Why do we do it this way?  Why not just ship to “Any Soldier”?  Well, we don’t know “any soldier” – and “any soldier” doesn’t know us. And recieving baked goods from a stranger, while probably safe, is frowned upon and in many cases, those Any Soldier gifts could be thrown out.  Baking GALS will introduce you to a soldier.  You will know his name, a little bit about him, maybe even his favorite cookie…and he will know in advance that he will be on the recieiving end of a cookie bombardment – so everyone is prepared.  It is a safer way to treat our troops, and it helps them to know when to expect a barage of goodies.

So who wants to help out with my team???  I realize it’s kind of short notice but you have almost two weeks to get it done.  Support your troops and get to do something you like to do at the same time! 

If you are interested in being on my team, please email me at mrsabybaby@gmail.com and I will send out all of the necessary information once the team is all together. 

Checkity Check out my other blog update!

June 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm | Posted in Randomness | Leave a comment

As most of you know, I also write a blog about my experiences of having my little brother deployed in Iraq.  I’ve been doing a horrible job of updating this blog but I’m trying to get back in it just like I have this one.  I updated it this morning if anyone is interested in seeing how he is doing.  Please check it out!


Baked Chicken Taquitos

June 17, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Posted in appetizer, Cheese, Chicken, football food, Mexican food | 3 Comments

We pretty much love any variation of any type of Mexican food in our house.  I really think I could eat it every single night and I know Tommy could as well.  Tommy loves the chicken taquitos at our favorite local Mexican restaurant so I thought I would try these out.  I found this recipe on My Kitchen Cafe, one of my absolute favorite blogs.  It looked easy and tasty!  I served these with light sour cream, fresh salsa, and multi grain chips.  YUM!

Recipe from My Kitchen Cafe

Makes 14-16 taquitos as is – I halved this for just Tommy and I and it turned out great


4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup green salsa
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 green onion, sliced finely (white and green parts to equal about 2 tablespoons)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese (use pepperjack if you like a little heat)

small yellow or white corn tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray


Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix softened cream cheese, green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

You can prepare this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

Working with a few tortillas at a time, place 3-4 between two damp paper towels and microwave for 30-45 seconds, until tortillas are soft and pliable and don’t crack while rolling. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on the lower third of a soft tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Then roll it up as tight as you can.

Place filled taquitos seam side down on the baking sheet, making sure they don’t touch each other. When ready to bake, spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and lightly sprinkle some kosher (coarse) salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. (Mine only took about 10 minutes so you might want to watch this timing depending on your oven). Serve immediately. Taquitos can be dipped in in salsa, sour cream, guacamole, or any other combination you can dream up.

Pig Rating:  The Pig really really liked these and said these would be a great addition to our dinner rotation.  He said a lot of the things that we make that are Mexican taste very similar but that these had a different kick to them that was great.

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I loved these little rolls of chicken Mexican goodness!  I am definitely making these again.  I dipped mine in salsa and they were so good.  I highly recommend these for a weeknight dinner.  Easy to prepare and even kids would like them.

Cherry Mojitos

June 17, 2009 at 1:16 am | Posted in Drinks | 2 Comments

Another fabulous Katie recipe!  I never get tired of looking at her blog – always something new that I see that I need to put on my list!  I am totally into making fabulous summer drinks to sip on while sitting out on the patio.  Summer evenings are my absolute favorite!  This recipe sounded yummy and I couldn’t wait to make it!  I had never pitted cherries before and I, uh, didn’t have a cherry pitter (is that what you call it?!) so I just kind of had to improvise but it turned out okay  🙂  A new toy to invest in maybe?! 

Recipe from Good Things Catered:

1/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. fresh lime juice (about 9 limes)
1 lb dark cherries, such as Bing or Burlat, pitted
2 1/4 c. best-quality black cherry or plain vodka (I used Smirnoff black cherry vodka)
1 (750 ml) bottle sparkling water

(I halved this as it was only my husband and I and even then that was way too much!  Definitely a party recipe!)

-Bring sugar and 1/4 c. water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
-Remove from heat and let cool completely.
-Syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month.
-Halve 2/3 of the cherries and add all cherries to large drink container.
-Stir in vodka, lime, and syrup.
-Refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to overnight).
-Fill 12 glasses with ice.
-Spoon 1/2 cup cherry-vodka mixture into each glass.
-Top with sparkling water; serve immediately.

Pig Rating:  I figured the Pig wouldn’t like this one so much.  He is more of a beer guy if he drinks something.  He said it tasted too much like cough syrup?!  Um.  NO.  Perhaps he has bad memories of any cherry flavor from childhood?!

Mrs. Pig Rating:  These were YUMMY.  Too yummy in fact.  I could drink these and not realize that the alcohol is in them.  It will get ya’!  🙂  I will definitely make these again.  I highly recommend for a relaxing summer evening with friends!

Southwest Turkey Burgers

June 11, 2009 at 12:42 am | Posted in Beef, Grilling, Turkey | 2 Comments

This year, I am all about grilling out.  I grilled out some last year but for some reason this year, I can’t get enough of it.  Maybe it’s because I love sitting outside in the backyard smelling citronella and listening to the sounds of summer.  Whatever the case, I’ve been grilling a lot lately.  I love grilled burgers SO much.  Tommy doesn’t love them as much as me so I don’t make them often but I wanted a burger and I wanted to try something different.  I came across this recipe on one of my favorite blogs and decided to give it a try.

Recipe from My Kitchen Cafe

2 lbs ground turkey (you could use ground beef if you want but we never use it for anything. Also, I halved the recipe and used 1lb for just Tommy and I and it made 4 burgers)

1/2 cup minced red onion (I omitted)
1/4 cup minced green onion, white and green parts
2 egg whites, whisked
1 teaspoon ground chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
dash cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

Preheat a grill to medium-high.

In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey with the minced red onion, green onion, egg whites, seasonings and worcestershire sauce. Mix gently but thoroughly. Divide the mixture into six equal portions and shape them into burgers.

Place the burgers on the grill and cook until the turkey is just done (about 4 minutes per side) and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 165 degrees.

Serve the burgers on buns and top with garnishes.

Pig Rating:  The Pig didn’t love these as he isn’t a huge fan of southwest flavors but he liked it okay. 

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I AM a fan of southwest flavors and I thought these were wonderful!  They had great flavor to them and I love grilled burgers.  This one is easy and so flavorful.  I will be making these again…the Pig can just have plain ones and I’ll make these for myself!  🙂

Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan

June 11, 2009 at 12:37 am | Posted in Chicken, pasta | 1 Comment

I absolutely love Italian food as you know.  Probably a little too much!  Chicken Parmesan is one of my favorite classics – how can you go wrong with pasta, gooey cheese, chicken, and yummy sauce?  You really can’t.  I have made chicken parmesan before with a very basic recipe but I wanted to try another one as the old one was good but I wanted something a little better.  I found this recipe on Good Things Catered, one of my favorite blogs and figured we would give it a whirl. 

Recipe from Good Things Catered

4 large chicken breasts (about 3 lbs.)
1 egg (you could use egg beaters to make it a little healthier if you wanted)
1/2 c. milk
2 c. bread crumbs
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
pinch of salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 c.pomodoro sauce ((make your own, defrost what you have or store bought is just as delicious)
1 1/2 c. shredded fresh mozzarella 

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-In a shallow dish mix together egg and milk.
-In separate shallow dish mix together bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, and salt.
-Rinse and pat chicken breasts dry.
-Pound to tenderize chicken breasts to about 1 inch thickness throughout
-Preheat olive oil in a oven proof skillet over medium heat.
-Dip chicken breasts into egg/milk mixture and then cover in breadcrumb mixture.
-Place coated chicken breast in hot oil and saute each side until lightly browned (about 1 minute per side).
-Place skillet directly into oven.
-When internal temperature of chicken reaches 160 degrees, carefully remove pan from oven and place a spoon full of sauce and 1/4 of the cheese on top of each.
-Place skillet back into the oven and bake until internal temperate reaches 170 degrees (about 15 minutes total)
-Remove from oven and serve on top of pasta.

Pig Rating:  The Pig isn’t as huge of a fan of chicken parmesan as me, but he still liked this one pretty well.  He cleaned his plate so it wasn’t too bad right?  🙂

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I thought this was a really easy and yummy recipe.  A good comfort food at least in my book.  This is the recipe I will use from now on when making chicken parmesan for sure!!  I think the kids might even attempt this one…

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

June 1, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Posted in Cakes, chocolate, Dessert | Leave a comment

When I bake something I usually keep my coworkers in mind because they are the ones who get to enjoy most of my baked goods since neither my hubby or I are big into sweets.  I like them, but I don’t want mass quantities around the house, yet I LOVE to bake.  I know my coworkers really like a good chocolate cake and this one has been on my list to make for awhile now.  I know it’s already all over the blog world so it’s not new or original but I needed a good “go to” chocolate cake recipe and I think I have now found it!  I think you could get creative with this one and add different fillings, icings, toppings, etc.

Recipe from Hershey’s website


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Icing Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
    2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
    3 cups powdered sugar
    1/3 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

Icing Directions

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Pig Rating:  So at first the Pig was saying this was “good but nothing special”.  But then in the past 24 hours he has eaten 1/4 of the cake.  Hm.  Really?  Nothing special?  😉

Mrs. Pig Rating:  This is a VERY good chocolate cake recipe.  This will be my “go to” from now on for chocolate cakes and cupcakes.  Very moist and the icing is super yummy also.

Mrs. Pig Coworker Rating:  They were fighting over it and one CW was making threats over it.  Enough said.  🙂

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