African Chow Mien

(PS. Im sorry, this was night time photography)

I have no idea what makes this dish “African” or what African food tastes like or if they even eat chow mien in Africa. But thats what this dish is called so thats just the way it is.
Basically this is stirfry but with hanburger and cans of condensed soup. Its comfort food in its finest. I love love loved it.

Back in…September I think it was, my sisters and cousins and friend ( ie, my wedding party) threw a hugeee and amazing bridal shower for me. It was great. They made SO much food…like it was insane. They decided that the theme would be…Pioneer Woman. Because I read her site everyday. So naturally all of the food was made from pioneer woman recipes. We had pizza, pasta, salad, stuffed potatoes. I don’t even remember it all. but it was delicious. AND my dear bridal party also spent hours on the Pioneer woman website finding funny quotes from her blog and copy and pasting them to a word document. Then they made them look pretty and printed them all out and used them as place cards. I wish I had taken pictures but it was such a surprise and I was so overwhelmed so I didn’t take a single picture. I don’t know it anybody did. Thats a shame. ( I am so so so so so bad at taking picture of momentous events like that. I always forget. Hence my new years resolution to take more pictures.) But it was a great night. Thank-you bridal party 🙂
Anyways, my whole point of that long story was to tell you how I acquired this recipe. In the invitations my sisters sent for this fabulous party, they included a recipe card for my guests to write a good recipe on that I might want to cook. That was so so so great because I can bake and make desserts till the cows come home, but dinner ideas are generally a little more tricky. It could be because my husband prefers to eat zero veggies and lots of : a) Bacon, b) Steak, c) Potatoes, d) Grilled Cheese sandwiches, e) Mini Pizzas ( like the McCain frozen ones..yucky) . He will eat anything I make though…mostly. Carrots are an absolute no go. He even picks them out of soup!
Anyways, a goood friend of mine, Kristi, wrote this recipe on my card. I think it was her mom’s recipe. And then the other night I was so so so so so hungry (because I generally forget to feed myself if Gary isn’t home)  and I was grummmpyyy and tired and really wanted some sort of comfort food. I was searching food blogs with no success and we have decided to not eat out for a while or order in. So we were going to starve or Gary was going to whip out the grill to make some gilled cheese sandwiches. I did not want to eat a grilled cheese sandwich. Then I remembered back in the day when I didn’t rely on food blogs for recipe ideas and flipped open my recipe box. Tada! Great dinner ideas, that I know I like and that I know how to make. YAY. I found Kristi’s recipe card and then jumped in car and went to the store to grab some chicken soup and some chow mien noodles. The evening just went up from there.

This is super easy! and yummy and warm and creamy and the prefect thing when you just want to lay on the couch and watch a movie or veg and read a book. If you keep chow mien noodles on hand, you probably have almost everything to make this for dinner tonight.
I served this with rice and a spinach salad ( with orange pieces, crasins and balsamic dressing) and french bread broiled with butter and some Parmesan cheese. It was delish and fast and yummy.

I say yummy waaayyy too much.

I have lots to say today, I am sorry. I am home alone this morning. I called my husband but he was busy…apparently he had to work or something…
Yesterday I talked so much, my jaw was sore when I went to bed. For real.

I just about posted this recipe without actually including the recipe. Haha.

African Chow Mien

1 lb Ground Beef/Hamburger Meat
1 medium Onion
2-3 Celery stalks
1 cup mushrooms ( or 1 cup or mushrooms)
1 tablespoon oil

1 can Condensed Mushroom Soup (284ml, 10 oz)
1 can Chicken Noodle Soup ( 284ml. 10 oz)
1-2 tablespoons Soya Sauce
1/2 bag Chow Mein Noodles. ( My bag was 397grams and I used about 1/2)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1) Fry up the first 5 ingredients in a large frying pan. Cook until meat is no longer pink and onions and celery are soft and opaque.
2. Add soups, soya sauce and salt and pepper. Mix in Chow Mien noodles. Cook till noodles are soft. ( I put a lid on my fry pan and that helped it cook faster.)
3. Serve over rice. (we did that the first night but the left overs we are without rice and they were just as good!)


Texas Sheet Cake and My Favourite Spatula

Do you have a favorite spatula?
You know, the one that cleans the inside of your mixing bowl like a dream and folds egg whites like no tomorrow and fills a muffin tin without spilling batter all over the place?
Well, I have one. Its perfect. I love it. I don’t know where to find another one…but I need a new one…because mine broke…
right in half.

I still use it though…its almost more maneuverable without the handle. 
Actually I was at my grandmas the other day…and she has the same spatula in her drawer…and hers it taped together with duct tape…haha so obviously this was a bit of a design flaw…
I really like is use “…” as my only form of punctuation. I create my own grammar rules. Don’t tell my momma 
Texas Chocolate Sheet cake is sooooo yummy….

I eat it right out of the pan with a spoon. 
Have you ever had sheet cake? Basically it is a cakey brownieish thing baked in a large, rimmed cookie sheet and then covered with a really really really thick layer of chocolate icing as soon as you take it out of the oven. This results in a layer of gooey sweetness between the actual icing and the cake. Yum yum yum. 
Nuts in the icing are definitely optional, but something I like to leave out. 
Apparently it is soooo good that this is also the only picture I have of it. So here is the recipe. Adapted slightly from Pioneer Woman 🙂 
2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
4 heaping tablespoons Cocoa
1 cup of Butter 
1 cup Boiling Water
1/2 cup Buttermilk
2 beaten Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Set aside. 
2. Melt butter in a pot on the stove, and add cocoa. Stir.
3. Add boiling water and allow mixture to boil for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and pour over flour mixture. 
4. In a measuring cup, pour buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla and stir well. Add to chocolate mixture. 
5. Pour into sheet cake pan, jelly roll pan, or any medium large cookie sheet with edges. The recipe says not to grease your pan, which does work just fine, but I like to line all my pans with parchment paper. It just makes clean up 100 times easier and then if I need to use that pan before the cake is gone, I can just slip it right out. 
6. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until the cake springs back lightly. It does not take too long because the cake is not very think!
7.  While the cake is baking, make the icing
1/2 cup finely chopped Pecans
3/4 cup Butter
4 heaping tablespoons Cocoa
6 tablespoons Milk 
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3 1/2 cups icing sugar ( 1 lb bag, minus 1/2 cup) 
a) Melt butter in a medium pot ( you can totally use the same one as before)
b) Stir in cocoa and turn off heat
c) Add milk, vanilla and icing sugar
d) Add pecans and stir until smooth
e) As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the entire pot of icing over the cake and spread with a spatula. 
Eat is hot, eat it cold, eat it with ice cream or whipped cream or out of the pan with a spoon. Yum. 

Beef Brisket and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

So a couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me to help her make a nice dinner for her husbands business Christmas party. Since then my mind has been over flowing with ideas! It will be a small crowd of 6-8 people so the options are pretty much endless! 

Today we decided on the basics for the menu! 
Pioneer Woman’s Beef Brisket 
Pioneer Womans yummy yummy mashed potatoes 
There is a insane amount of butter and cream cheese and cream in this recipe but they are oh so delicious! ( AND make-ahead-able 🙂 )
and homemade buns (obviously)
and broccoli salad 
and another hot veggie side…hmm any suggestions? 
and dessert… Trifle? Cake? Cheese Cake? Pie? 
ohhh maybe individual trifles in pretty glasses? or individual pies in mini mason jars? hmmm
Anyways, I will document this event and feature all the recipes I decide to make once this fun event takes place 🙂 
PS. I used the toaster oven this morning and everything went perfectly fine! 
PSS. The Mixer is getting more and more picky…today it wouldn’t even stir 7 cups of flour into my gingerbread recipe without a fight. I think it may be on its last legs…sign Hamilton Beach…keep it together for Christmas please.