Welcome to Military Mayhem & Miscellaneous, a blog where I will share my new life, thoughts, projects, recipes, photos and adventures as a "rookie" army wife <3

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lazy Dinners

So, even though I was sick last week, I still managed to get a hot dinner on the table every night that I wasn't working. Here are 2 of my husband's favorite lazy dinners that I make. Both of them take less than 20 minutes to prepare and less than 20 minutes in the oven. The first recipe is for french bread pizzas. I don't know about you, but I haven't found my "perfect" pizza crust yet. I've used a few recipes and tried out frozen and packaged doughs. No bueno. The solution? French bread! My grocery store's bakery always has a selection of fresh baked breads for under $2. It's so easy to just keep a loaf or two in the freezer for when you want to make pizzas, special french toast, croutons, baguette for hummus, subs for football parties or just about anything. As far as the pizza sauce goes, you can use your favorite recipe or if you're feeling lazy like I was last week, mix a tablespoon of pesto (which I always have on hand as well, Classico makes the best pesto!) with a small jar of pizza sauce to zest things up a bit. Pizza sauces can be found next to all of the spaghetti sauces at your grocery store. I paid $1 for mine and it turned out great. Use whatever toppings you have on hand. I always have a big jar of roasted red peppers and huge container of fresh baby spinach on hand. I buy both of these items in bulk at Sams Club and use them for salads, sandwiches, omelets, quiches, pasta, casseroles and protein shakes (I'll post my favorite "green" shake next week). The second recipe is for chicken pot pie. In this recipe, I used a can of biscuit dough that I had in the fridge for the crust. I also used just whatever ingredients I had in the pantry/freezer and it turned out better that Marie Calendar's. Haha. Enjoy these lazy dinners & feel free to leave comments and suggestions!


-1 loaf of french bread, halved
-1 cup of your favorite pizza sauce
-1 tbsp pesto
-2 cups shredded mozzarella
-1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
-3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
-1 package of pepperoni
-2 handfuls of fresh spinach
-3 whole roasted red peppers
-4 strips of cooked bacon

1. Preheat oven to 400*
2. Place both french bread halves soft side up on a cookie sheet
3. Mix together the pizza sauce and pesto & spread it onto the bread.
5. Layer cheese and other ingredients (I like to put the fresh parmesan on top)
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.


-2 cans of reduced fat cream of chicken soup
-1 cup of water
-1/4 cup frozen peas
-1/4 cup frozen corn
-2 carrots, peeled and thinly chopped
-2 celery stalks, thinly chopped
-1 large chicken breast, cooked & shredded
-1 tsp ranch seasoning
-1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
-pinch of garlic powder
-pinch of onion powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 can of biscuit dough (I used Pillsbury Grande)

1. Preheat oven to whatever temperature it takes to cook your biscuits.
2. In a large skillet, saute celery and carrots in a tbsp of olive oil. Once the celery and carrots are mostly cooked, add cream of chicken soup, shredded chicken, peas, corn, and seasonings; stir. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
3. Pour mixture into a casserole dish and top with biscuits. Bake for 15 minutes or until biscuits brown.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Brunch, Oreos & Football

This has been my first (and most likely the last) weekend off since Adam has been back from Ft. Polk. There was hope for a few weekends off since another assistant manager was hired at work, but it only lasted a week before an emergency came up and she had to move back home. At least I get my 40 hour weeks back, I know I'm not going to hate my paycheck. Yesterday was pretty good, Adam and I watched Big Bang Theory and sat around in our pajamas until it was time to go over to his buddy's house. One of his sergeants invited us and a few others over to his house to watch the UFC fight. I brought a big pot of Chicken Taco Chili, which Adam had requested even though I just made it literally 5 days ago, and also some oreo cheesecake truffles. If you haven't already made some of those truffles, I highly recommend them. I found the recipe on Pinterest a couple weeks ago and bookmarked the page. They were so easy to make and everyone loved them. I'll include the recipe at the end of this blog. Anyway, we had a great time hanging out. I finally met some other army wives that aren't psycho! Hopefully I'll get a chance to hang out with them again (:

As for today, we were supposed to watch football, but I'm currently watching Adam play video games & waiting for my quiche to get out of the oven so that Adam and I can have brunch. Usually when I make quiche, I just throw together whatever I have in the fridge. The combination I used today turned out great, so I'll post that recipe as well. Hopefully sometime this week I'll be able to get some poster board, fabric and a clip lamp so that I can set up a backdrop for photographs for my recipes. I'm sure you're tired of my Instagram-edited phone pics. Haha. Well, I hope you all had a great weekend. Enjoy the recipes!

(recipe via Pinterest)
-approx. 1/2 package of Oreos
-1 block of cream cheese (8oz)
-2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
-1/4 cup white chocolate chips (for garnish)
-2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp shortening


1. Crush the Oreos (pretty much the whole package, minus a handful, filling & all) until finely ground. A food processor does the best job, but if you don’t have one, throw the cookies in a ziploc bag, grab a rolling pin, and go to town.
2. Transfer 3 cups of the Oreo crumbs to a bowl and add the cream cheese. Using a spoon, press, mix and stir until the cream cheese is completely mixed into the Oreo crumbs and you have a soft, homogeneous mixture. Using a small cookie scoop (or the equivalent of 2 teaspoons), scoop/roll balls of the Oreo/cream cheese mixture and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Once you have scooped out all of the filling, refrigerate the baking sheet for at least 30 minutes, until firm.
3. In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate chips and 2 tbsp of shortening in 30 second increments at 50% power, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth. Working with one Oreo ball at a time, dip it into the melted chocolate, roll it around to cover completely, and then use a fork to remove it from the chocolate, letting any excess drip off. Place the dipped truffle back on the wax paper-lined sheet. Repeat with all truffles; once finished, return the baking sheet to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.
4. Serve the truffles, or garnish with some melted white chocolate (best if melted with 1/2 tsp of shortening to thin) and leftover crushed Oreos. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


-5 eggs
-3 tbsp all-purpose flour
-1/2 cup sour cream
-1/2 cup ricotta
-1/2 cup shredded cheese
-3 tbsp milk
-1/2 cup cooked sausage
-2 cups uncooked spinach
-2-3 whole roasted red peppers, diced
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper


Preheat oven to 375* and spray 9'' pie plate with cooking spray. Layer the spinach, diced roasted red peppers, cooked sausage and shredded cheese (I used colby jack) in the pie plate.
2. In medium bowl, combine eggs, flour, salt, pepper, sour cream, milk and ricotta. Whisk until blended well. Pour egg mixture into pie plate.
 3. Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Enjoy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Leftover Pumpkin?

I don't know about you, but I could eat pumpkin year-round. It's definitely a lot harder to find after the beginning of the new year, but it can still be found in grocery stores now. Don't get me wrong, I love traditions, but anytime I get a chance to break tradition and do something new, I go for it. I mean, I got married at a dog race in Alaska for Pete's sake! Anyway, for those of you who still have some pumpkin hanging out in your cupboard, it's time to whip it out and try this new recipe. I made these mini cinnamon cheesecakes with pumpkin pie "frosting" on Thanksgiving and they were gone within 24 hours. I took some of them to work and everyone asked for the recipe, they were so amazing. You literally take a perfect pumpkin pie and pipe it onto these perfectly spiced cheesecakes. Brilliant! I tweaked the original recipe a little bit to make it even better. Also, the original recipe calls for ginger snap crust, but I feel that the spices from the ginger would take away from the cinnamon, so I decided to make a graham cracker crust instead. The quickest way to do this is to bake the pumpkin pie first, then the graham cracker crusts, then the cheesecakes. Also, be make sure that your eggs and cream cheese are room temperature before starting on the cheesecakes. Enjoy!



Graham Cracker Crust:

-Approx. 1/2 cup crushed honey graham crackers
-3 tbsp melted butter
-1 tbsp sugar

Pumpkin Pie "Frosting":

-1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
-3/4 cup packed brown sugar
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup evaporated milk
-1/2 cup heavy cream

Cinnamon Cheesecakes:

-2 blocks of cream cheese (8 oz each), room temperature
-1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
-2 large eggs, room temperature
-1/3 cup heavy cream
-1 1/2 Tsp. pure vanilla extract
-1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp ground cinnamon

You Will Also Need:

-Regular 12 count cupcake pan
-Cupcake liners


To make the crust:

Prepare 12 baking cups with paper liners. Crush the graham crackers in either a food processor or a gallon size bag. Mix together the three crust ingredients until well blended.  Scoop 1 tablespoon of crust into each baking cup, and press down to pack firm. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then remove and set aside.

To Make Cinnamon Cheesecakes:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar, then mix on medium-speed until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla and cinnamon, and mix until smooth.  Do not over mix.  Pour batter into each crust-prepared baking cup until 3/4 full.

Once your pot of water is boiling, carefully place a large baking dish on the lower rack of your oven and pull the rack out a few inches towards you, and then pour the water into it. This will create a water bath that will give off lots of steam while the cheesecake bakes.

Then place the cheesecake pan in the oven, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the edges appear to be set and the center still has a slight jiggle to it.  Turn off the oven and open the oven door slightly for 5 minutes.  Then remove the pan and place on a cooling rack until completely cooled.  Top with pumpkin pie frosting.

To Make Pumpkin Pie Frosting:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well blended. Pour into a greased 9-inch pie pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean.  Remove and let cool, then refrigerate.

When ready to “frost” the cheesecakes, remove the pumpkin pie and spoon the filling into a piping bag.  Use as you would regular frosting.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Meatloaf Day

What a glorious morning to myself. The first part of my day was spent drinking Deadman's Reach coffee by Ravens Brew (from Alaska) and reading to further educate myself on things that may or may not be important. I'd like to thank the rather addicting website, StumbleUpon, for my findings. Today, I learned that the first emoticon to be used online was on September 19, 1982. While a transcript of an Abraham Lincoln speech from 1862 contains a ;), the earliest online use of an emoticon was in a 1982, citing :-) for good jokes and :-( for bad ones. I also learned that you can save 16 gallons of water by using a dishwasher rather than hand-washing dishes. It's the rare example where the new technology uses less water than the old technique.

Following nerd time was preparing dinner. I was feeling meatloafy today, so I'll give you all my favorite recipe. Don't judge me, I created the recipe myself. It will be at the bottom of this blog. After all of that, I baked a fresh loaf of oatmeal banana nut bread for my boss, who has to have a loaf every week, and also a new recipe I'm trying out for a lemon yogurt bread with blueberries. I'll post the recipe for that as well. I tweaked it a tad and added my own photos.

Anyway, you should try out my meatloaf recipe.


2 lbs of lean ground beef
5 strips of bacon
1 large red onion
1 green bell pepper
3 cloves of fresh garlic
3 eggs
4 slices of bread (I used 2 french rolls in this batch)
2 tsp of salt
2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 packets of ranch dip seasoning***
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup ketchup

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Place bread and eggs in a bowl and let sit for a few minutes to get the bread soggy.
3. Combine bread, eggs, ground beef, onion, bell pepper, garlic, and all seasonings together and mix. This is the part where your hands get messy. Once mixed well, place mixture in loaf pan and pat down.
5. Cut the 5 strips of bacon in half to make 10 pieces. Layer strips over the loaf.
6. In a clean bowl, mix together the ketchup and brown sugar. Spread over top of bacon. I also like to add fresh or dehydrated parsley flakes on top.
7. Bake for one hour or until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. I like to check the temperature after 45 minutes, my oven likes to randomly recalibrate itself.

And now for dessert. This turned out surprisingly well, even tweaking the original recipe before trying it out first. My favorite lemon cake has always been from Starbucks, but this one is pretty tasty without all of the preservatives. It's so moist (ugh, I hate that word) that you have to be careful when cutting it or it will crumb. Try it out.



1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
3 extra-large eggs
Zest from 2 large lemons
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups blueberries (I used frozen organic blueberries)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.

3. In separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil.

4. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
5. Mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside. When the cake is finished baking and is still hot, poke about 30 holes in the top using a toothpick. Using a pastry brush, brush cooked lemon mixture over the loaf. Let cake sit about 20 minutes before trying to remove it from the pan. I also made glaze to drizzle over the top by mixing together 1 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, about 4 tablespoons of half and half and a squeeze of lemon juice. Amazing.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy Intoxication

I was truly stumped at trying to figure out what to get Adam's new army buddies for Christmas. I don't know very much about most of them, except for the fact that they enjoy drinking. Therefore, I decided to get them alcohol. But then come the questions, what kind? How much? It won't really be from the heart if I just buy them a bottle of liquor and say "Merry Christmas," will it? Well, it would if I made it myself! So I gathered up my mason jars and bottles, poked holes in all of the cranberries, filled the jars to the brim with fresh fruit, citrus, a few tablespoons of sugar & a lot of vodka and started the infusion process.

Photo 1: Cranberry Lime
Photo 2: Lemon Cello

I'm pretty excited to see how it turns out. I don't really drink, so I'll just hope for an honest opinion from the boys. Haha.

On a side note, I'm feeling a little better today, after yesterday's four doses of peptobismol (recommended by Adam). Hopefully, now that I'm almost back to normal I'll get more things accomplished besides watching the entire 1st and 2nd seasons of Big Bang Theory in one week. I don't feel as bad since I still managed to keep the house clean, laundry done and hot dinners made every night that I wasn't at work. Speaking of work, I better go get ready now! I've got a nice 10 hour day of making people buy candles ahead of me, complete with driving to and from work in the snow and -5 degree weather (yeah, you read that correctly. Negative five. OMG). Until next time...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Marshmallow World

It's a whopping NINE degrees here in Colorado Springs today. There's fresh snow on the ground, a nice fire going and one of Adam's favorite dinners is cooking in the crock pot. Chicken Taco Chili (recipe will be at the end of this blog!). Hopefully I'll be able to eat it. I won't go into details, but I've had the worst stomach virus ever for the past 9 days (no, I'm not pregnant). I've lost 10 pounds. It's good and gross all at the same time. Hopefully Adam can get my healthcare all situated today after work so I can finally go to the doctor. Thankfully, I've been strong enough to work, but my energy level is super low and I'm constantly nauseated. My boss swears I need my appendix removed, but my side doesn't hurt or anything, so I don't think that's the problem. We'll see.

Once I feel better, I'm going to start my new workout, Metamorphosis by Tracy Anderson. I discovered the videos via infomercial during one of my sleepless nights while Adam was away last month. I watched the episode for 2 hours. Haha. A TON of celebrities use her workout DVDs to lose weight and stay fit, I saw dozens of testimonies and read all kinds of reviews online. Anyway, Metamorphosis by Tracy is a 90 day program designed specifically for your body type and transforms your muscle structure. There's also cardio and of course, a dynamic eating plan involved. I'm really excited about being a part of the Metamorphosis Community to help keep myself motivated. With my DVD purchase, I received a free membership to the social network group to interact with other women doing the program, so we can talk about our progress and struggles. Pretty awesome. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated once I begin the workouts.

On a side note, Moses is the cutest thing ever. I just went to the restroom and when I came out, he was sitting right outside the door waiting for me. I'm going to get back to laundry and season 3 of The Big Bang Theory, one of my new favorite TV shows. If you haven't watched it before, you should. It's a hilarious show about a group of nerdy scientists. I love it.

And now, for your new favorite crock pot dinner. You seriously need to try this super effort-less and delicious dinner. I even converted my traditional, southern, meatloaf-spaghetti-venison and potatoes only grandfather into a Mexican crock pot supper lover. I found this recipe last year on skinnytaste.com (my FAVORITE website for new & healthy recipes). Total prep time is less than 10 minutes, makes 10 servings and it's only 200 calories for a cup and a half! It's so filling, high fiber and great served over rice. I've modified the original recipe just a tad. Until next time... enjoy!



  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 12-oz can black beans
  • 1 12-oz can dark kidney beans
  • 1 12-oz can light kidney beans
  • 1 16-oz can tomato sauce
  • 10 oz package frozen corn kernels
  • 2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 24 oz (3-4) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, chopped (set some aside for garnish).

1. Boil chicken in large pot until done; Shred.
2. Combine all ingredients in crock pot, stir.
3. Cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4 hours.
4. Serve over brown rice and top with shredded cheese and sour cream.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Oatmeal Banana Nut Bread

1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup instant oatmeal
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350* and grease 9x5 loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in banana and vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat into creamed mixture. Stir in oats and nuts. Pour into prepared loaf pan. I also like to sprinkle oats on top before placing in the oven.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 50-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

This is by far my favorite banana bread recipe. My boss brings me old bananas once a week so I can make her a loaf! It's great toasted with cream cheese on top or served warm with butter.



Well, it has officially been 2 months since I moved to Colorado from Alaska. It was very difficult being away from Adam for so long. We've been married almost 9 months now, but I've only seen him [collectively] for about a month and a half since the Iditarod, due to bootcamp, training, my job in Alaska and of course, more army field training. I was very lucky to find a good job so quickly, I was able to start immediately after we got back from Florida. I've gotten our apartment put together for the most part. I still need to get a big bookshelf for the guest room so that bins, boxes and books aren't taking up half of the room's floor space. It could also use some more decorating, but that will have to wait until we have time to paint together.

As far as my social life, it is non-existent. I've joined groups on facebook, read local newspapers, read community bulletin boards, gone to classes on base and even tried talking to people in the mall where I work (pathetic, I know). It has never been this difficult for me to find friends... ever. It's not that I haven't talked to people and gone out with them, it's the fact that all of the army wives I've met/ attempted to socialize with are either cheating on their husbands (OMG! WTF?), talking about leaving their husbands or in the middle of a divorce. The single girls I've met so far are just so far from the level I'm on that I don't even want to be associated with them (you know, the "party" scene, pot smokers, drama queens and psychos of Colorado Springs). No thanks.

As a result of my many failed attempts to make friends, I adopted a cat from the humane society and continued to hang out with Adam's battle-buddy, Zach that he went to boot camp with and also ended up at Ft.Carson. He stayed with me while Adam was away. Basically, I was his personal restaurant, laundry mat and therapist for a month. He's a great kid, I think we'll keep him around. Well, at least on the weekends. Moses, our new feline son, is also a keeper.  I originally went to the humane society to look into being a volunteer since I had quite a bit of time on my hands with Adam being gone, but immediately got distracted when I saw cages lined up outside of a big door with no windows. I asked a humane society employee why the cages were there, and she said those animals were about to be put down because no one had adopted them. I looked into the first cage and all I could see was bright yellow eyes. She let me take the cage into the visiting room to get a look at what was inside. I sat on the floor in the empty room and cautiously opened the cage's rusted metal door. Two seconds later, out walks a beautiful, all black cat that looked like he just walked out of the movie "Hocus Pocus." Lacking the least bit of intimidation, Moses walked right up to me and headbutted my face, asking for attention. Thirty minutes later, I was signing papers to take him home.
We love him. He's so sweet and well-behaved. He follows me everywhere (I swear he's my personal assistant) and sleeps under the bed. Whatever idiot gave him up in the first place is seriously disturbed. Anyway, that pretty much wraps up everything that's going on right now in the Knopf household. I'll be posting a few of my new favorite recipes soon. Thanks for reading (: