Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sugar Cookie M&M Bars

What do I have to blog about today you ask?

Oh, nothing crazy, just these super delicious Sugar Cookie M&M Bars

 OMG you guys, these are SO good and absolutely perfect for the holidays!

I made these yesterday and it makes a whole 13x9 pan... THEY'RE GONE!
 Yes, you read right, gone ALREADY! Lol. In our defense, I sent some home with our friends and Mr.Hooah took some to work with him as well!

I found this recipe randomly on Facebook, someone had shared the Betty Crocker Christmas cookie list and these were on it. I was pretty much sold at just seeing "sugar cookie..." and wrote the recipe down to try. I had initially intended on making these to mail back home with some Christmas presents, but hey, every good cook/baker must test it out before feeding it to anyone else... right?! Lol.
I absolutely LOVE soft sugar cookies and these bars are right on the money!
 And by the way, anyone who knows me well, knows that I'm not crazy about M&M's in anything really... whether it be cookies, ice-cream, etc...
(I've just never really been a fan. I guess that must make me the weirdest person on the planet huh?!)
But the M&M's and the white chocolate chips really OOMPH up this simple little cookie!

These would be awesome for cookie-swaps, a quick dessert for a holiday gathering, or even gifting to a neighbor! This recipe is as simple as it gets for "homemade" cookies.
 Give it a try, you wont be disappointed I promise, and I'm pretty sure you'll get no complaints from Santa if you leave these out with a glass of milk!


Sugar Cookie M&M Bars
1 pouch (1lb 1.5oz.) sugar cookie mix
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 egg
1 c. red & green M&M's
1 c. white vanilla baking chips   

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. 
  • In large bowl, mix cookie mix, butter and egg with spoon until soft dough forms. Stir in 1/2 cup of the candies and the white vanilla baking chips. Press dough in bottom of pan. Sprinkle remaining candies over top. 
  • Bake 22 to 24 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 1 hour. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store in airtight container.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Sausage and Tomato Risotto


For some reason "risotto" intimidates people.

Not this girl though! 

I absolutely LOVE anything rice wise, it doesn't really matter what.
 I mean, I am half Korean, could that have something to do with it?!  


The first risotto that I ever decided to make was a mushroom-parmesan risotto recipe I found on Pinterest and it was pretty delicious. Since then, I realized that the combos are endless really because rice goes well with almost anything!

I probably look like a serious blog-stalker, I have been looking at and cooking so many of the recipes Emily Bites  has been putting up on her blog lately! Coincidentally, Lol, this recipe is also one of hers and Mr.Hooah & I love this as much as we do all of the other recipes by her that we have tried! 

Although, I do have to say that I think this one, so far, is my FAVORITE! 

The white wine and the rich tomato'ey sausage taste paired with the arborio rice (it is a short-grain Italian rice) which absorbs all those good flavors and pulls this dish together... It is seriously just DIVINE!

We shop on base at the commissary and if you grocery shop on payday, you better get there early because a lot of times they have already ran out of stock of some things, such as the turkey sausage we needed for this recipe.

 Usually, we get turkey sausage, bacon, and ground turkey in place of the regular stuff because it is a way we can eat a little healthier... my newest addiction though is the Hillshire Farm Cajun Chicken Sausage, SO GOOD
Anywho, this time we had to settle for Johnsonville Hot Italian sausage...
OH HOT DAMN people! 
It was actually really good and SO AMAZING in this recipe! And there wasn't any bother with removing casings etc... of course Mr.Hooah loved it, so we definitely recommend it! 

Ok, so now back to the whole risotto being intimidating to most people... 
Let me be completely honest...
Yes, it sounds super fancy and yes to some it sounds complicated, but you guys... it isn't! It is really just about patience, that's it! Waiting for the liquid to absorb so you can add in more liquid and repeating of the process.
 And oh, what a delicious process it is! Lol. 

You can find the original recipe here Sausage & Tomato Risotto. It is a serious must try and I recommend this for when you want that "MMMMM..." kind of food goodness! Enjoy you guys!


Sausage & Tomato Risotto
1 (28oz.) can of diced tomatoes in juice
3 c. water
¾ lb hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed 
1 small onion, finely chopped
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 c. uncooked Arborio rice
½ c. dry white wine
9oz. fresh spinach, chopped (I used frozen, that I popped in the microwave!)
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBSP. light butter (I used Move Over Butter)

  • Combine the tomatoes and their juices with the water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low to keep the mixture warm until needed.
  • In a large pot or saute pan, combine sausage and chopped onion, add salt & pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, breaking the sausage up with a wooden spoon until meat is brown and onions have softened. Add the rice and stir to coat the rice and combine. Cook for 1-2 mins and then add in the wine. Stir until wine is absorbed about 1-2mins.
  • Add two cups of the tomato mixture to the rice and stir. Turn the heat down to a simmer (medium-low heat) and cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add another cup and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue, one cup of liquid at a time until all of the tomato liquid has been added and absorbed. Rice will be tender and creamy. Add the chopped spinach and stir in until combined. Cook for another 1-2 mins until spinach is wilted and combined.
  • Remove risotto from heat, add the butter and cheese. Stir until thoroughly mixed. 
  • Serve immediately.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Creamy Pasta with Sausage and Mustard Seeds

Ok guys, I want to start out by saying,

Like, REALLY, what the heck is going on? 

One day you can wear shorts out, the next day you need uggs and a sweater! 
North Carolina weather is so unpredictable! 
But I will take this spastic weather over all the usual rain we usually get! I will say that when it gets cold here that it actually gets freezing cold, which makes me want comfort food more than ever this time of year! 
For me, it usually starts around October... you know, the craving for some comfort foods and Thanksgiving type of foods. 


Don't believe me, ask poor Mr.Hooah, Lol! He has to put up with all my indecisiveness of not knowing exactly what I want to eat... Bless him! 

I always keep an eye out for new recipes, it is a must as Mr.Hooah does not eat leftovers. And lately, I have discovered Coarse Mustard. I don't know what I have been doing with my life all these years without it! Seriously. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE it on sandwiches and I have a recipe to make a cranberry jelly with it (odd combo, I know!) and it is super yummy! I have never honestly thought to put it into stuff like this pasta recipe I am about to share, but Emily, over at Emily Bites did and this recipe for Creamy Pasta with Sausage & Mustard Seeds is amazing! It is filling and the sausage in it kind of makes this fall along the lines of some yummy comfort food for me. It is definitely an unusual recipe, but that's what we like though right?

This recipe is surprisingly easy and doesn't take many ingredients. The mustard gives it a little something extra and we loved how well it all came together! It is actually a little healthier compared to most other pasta dishes you can make, which is a MAJOR plus to me! All the more reason to love this recipe!

 I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did, and I apologize in advance for the photo quality... I was too lazy to drag my camera out for the pics, does that make me a bad blogger? Lol.


Creamy Pasta with Sausage & Mustard Seeds

1lb (16oz.) uncooked wheat pasta shells
2 tsp. EVOO
1 ½ lbs hot Italian turkey or chicken sausage, casings removed
3oz. fresh baby spinach, chopped (about a half a standard salad bag, add more if desired, I used frozen chopped spinach that I popped into the microwave as per box directions then drained it)
¾ c. dry white wine
¾ c. fat-free half and half
3 TBSP. grainy mustard (I used Grey Poupon Harvest Coarse Ground Mustard)
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 c. thinly sliced or chopped fresh basil (I used a few tsp. of dried basil)
  • Cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • While the water is boiling for step one, place the oil in a large skillet or saute pan and bring over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook for about five minutes or until meat is cooked through, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon as it cooks. Add the fresh spinach and stir in. Cook for another minute until spinach wilts.
  • Add the wine to the sausage and reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir together, releasing any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and cook for another 5 minutes until the wine is reduced by half. Add the half and half, mustard and crushed red pepper. Stir together and simmer for another 2 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the reserved pasta and basil until well combined. Serve.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Holiday Photog...it is my FAVORITE!

For those of you who didn't already know, I dabble in photography, it is a hobby and has turned into a little passion of mine.

I have to admit, it is actually a little therapeutic!

I am definitely no professional nor have I been at it long enough to even be considered a "pro", but I absolutely love doing it and I love that I keep getting better and better! 
I am actually pretty proud of the work I do! 
I love being able to be a part of making memories for people and my favorite photos have to be holiday photos such as the ones I am about to share with you guys now... 

This couple was the first couple I had ever shot and I am so far now from where I started then.
The first photos were pretty good for a first timer (the one above is one of them and was from last Fall), but the ones I snapped this past weekend turned out so awesome! I am in love!!!

Not only are these types of shoots my favorite because it is a Holiday session, but because these guys include their pups in all their family photos! 

Uh, pets are FAMILY too people!!! Lol.

This has been my favorite sesh I have done and I absolutely LOVE how these turned out!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Spinach and Parmesan Orzo

Ok guysss, after all that Thanksgiving goodness, I needed a lighten up! 

I am a couple of episodes behind on Grey's Anatomy...
I know, what the hell have I been doing, right?!

 So, I wanted to make something yummy for dinner and something somewhat healthy to go with these nice steaks Mr.Hooah picked up, to enjoy while I catch up on Grey's!
I have had the steaks marinating away since yesterday in this super easy-peasy Honey-Lime Marinade (it is not just for chicken!) and absolutely CANNOT wait for Mr.Hooah to grill those babies up!

I was making out our 2 week menu plan and I moseyed on over to Emily Bites  
for a little inspiration because I thought my list needed a little oomph! 
Which is how I found this absolutely delicious recipe for her Spinach and Parmesan Orzo.
And as always, I was NOT disappointed! 

Not only does it plate pretty but it is SO TASTY and HEALTHY
I absolutely LOVE adding spinach into any dish I can... Mr.Hooah on the other hand, he is picky... so the whole spinach thing is not only for me, but "sneaking it in" actually helps him realize that it can be tasty and that it isn't just a yucky pile of steamed spinach...

 Ok, let's be honest here, I hated spinach growing up too but now that I am older and there are so many new recipes to incorporate it into, and I'm LOVIN' it!

With Orzo, a little goes a lonnng way! 
So it doesn't take much and believe it or not, orzo is actually cheap! 
You can actually mix in a bit of milk, a bit of shredded cheese, and guess what?! 
Yes people, you read that right, macaroni & cheese

I have to say that Mr.Hooah actually liked this recipe and I am glad because so do I. 
I actually plan on adding this to our menu rotation! And I always have frozen chopped spinach in the freezer just in case, also orzo in the cabinet, so this is something easy that can be thrown together whenever I need a quick side dish!

 If you haven't (as I have mentioned before) visited Emily Bites, please do so because I promise you'll love her recipes as much as I do!

Spinach and Parmesan Orzo 
1 TBSP. light butter (I used Move Over Butter)
1 c. dry whole wheat orzo (regular orzo is fine too)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. fat-free chicken broth 
4 oz. fresh chopped spinach (or 1/2 a pack of frozen chopped spinach, thawed)
1 ½ oz. freshly grated Parmesan (I used grated light-parm in the can & it worked fine too!)
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt & Pepper, to taste.

  • In a large skillet or saute pan, bring the butter over medium high heat until melted. Add the dry orzo and stir to coat. Cook for about 2mins until some pieces of the orzo begin to brown. Add the minced garlic and stir together. Cook for an additional minute or so until garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the broth to the pan and bring to a boil (mine was basically boiling right away). Cover the pan and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 14-15 minutes until the broth is absorbed and the orzo is tender. Stir in the chopped spinach and continue stirring for 1-2 mins until the spinach is wilted. Add the Parmesan, basil, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper, stir together until thoroughly combined. 
Serve immediately.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Our Four Year Anniversary

THIS IS LATE... of course, LOL... with all the holiday madness going on (the planets aligned and our anniversary fell on Thanksgiving this year guys!) I haven't had a moment to actually sit down and blog this past week or so! 

Today is a blessing...
 (like everyday is, but today is a little different)
Today I got to wake up next to my best friend, the love of my life, my handsome hooah hubbie...
and tell him Happy FOUR Year Anniversary! 
I cannot explain it, but I can refer to the phrase, 
"Time flies when you're having fun with the one you love!"
It honestly feels like we were married just last November. That we survived the first year that everyone said would be so tough.
Well you guys, let me say that EVERY. DAMN. DAY is tough when you fall in love with someone who is in the military.
 There have been so many trials, obstacles, and some rough patches thrown our way... not many can say they were able to conquer them ither, but somehow our love always perseveres. 
We always assess our situations and we find another way if we come to a wall, we never just give up!


I swear it feels like 40 YEARS instead of just FOUR!
I am so lucky that serendipity brought us together... we are opposites but we are alike in so many ways. We support one another and have an unbreakable bond. Being best friends before God finally gave us a little push in the right direction to fall in love, means more than anyone could ever know. I am so thankful and blessed to have such a great guy in my life, someone who is so selfless, who puts me first above everything else.. someone who supports me and everything that I do 1500%.. who just makes life easier. I am so proud of how far we have come and how much we both have changed for the better... It is amazing to know at the end of the day we're still as in love as we ever were and that he is my person and I am his!
I am going to keep this one short to spare all of you the mushy-gushy, lovey-dovey madness...
So I'll end here with a huge,
 HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MR.HOOAH, I love you more than words can say and I will forever promise to remember that neither of us are perfect but that we are perfect for one another and to love you as fiercely as I can....Thank you for all that you do for me, for us, for our future, and for always bringing me cheesecake when you know I need it and for always encouraging me to chase my dreams! And as always, Me & You, Just Us Two babe!