On the Menu: Southwest Cornbread

Southwest Cornbread

Active Prep Time: 30 minutes 
Bake Time: 30 minutes


1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion – chopped finely
Salt and pepper – to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 8 1/2-ounce box corn bread and muffin mix
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 can cream-style corn
2 cups pepper jack cheese – shredded


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter the bottom and sides of a large casserole dish.

Brown and drain ground beef and onion.  Add seasoning and stir well.

In a small bowl, combine corn bread mix, egg, milk, and corn.  Stir well.

Pour 1/2 cornbread mix in casserole dish.  Add ground beef and spread evenly.  Add cheese evenly.  Add remaining cornbread mix.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes.

My Changes:

When browning the beef, I added a minced garlic clove and beef base in addition to what the recipe calls for. I may have also added some chili powder and a smidge of cayenne at the last minute but don’t tell my hubby that. He’s blissfully unaware *evil grin*.

My Thoughts:

I did enjoy this recipe but I think I’ll make some additional changes the next time. The cornbread, while delicious, kind of overpowered…well just about everything else. I think I may try cutting the cornbread mixture in half and only putting it on top when baking. I would also add more corn (regular corn, not cream style).

Recipe & Image Source: The Meal Planning Mom Blog

TBR Jar -Trial and Error

I decided to try something new...well new for me at least. I made a TBR Jar for the books I want to read most. At first I started with only romancey books since that's what I'm into right now. They're greens and white.

Then I decided to add paranormal books and really anything other than romance in blue.

This way I can decide if I want romance or other. I've never tried something like this so we'll see how it works for me.


**Update - since typing this post I have decided I'm going to redo the color coding a little. I will keep the 'other' as blue but I'm going to change the rest. 

I have a method for choosing some of the romance books I want to add to my list so I want those to be one color so separate them. Want to know my two part secret? 

1. I stalk Karen's (For What It's Worth) reviews, lol. Kidding...not kidding. I noticed she doesn't give 5* reviews easily so I know if she rated a romance 4* or 5* then I have no doubts I'll love it. 

2. I want to have heard of the book previously. I'm actually kind of picky about the type of romances I read so I want it to be already on my radar...and if I'm lucky already on my kindle.

How do you decide what to read next? 

It's Survey Time!

I saw this survey on Tabitha's (Not Yet Read) blog and decided to take part.

Four names that people call me (other than my real name)

1.     Sista – A friend who’s not actually my sister calls me this.
2.     Jen – Pretty much everyone calls me Jen
3.     Jennabear – Only one aunt gets away with calling me this…everyone else will have eye daggers shot at them. No one out there better get it in their heads to call me this lol.
4.     I can’t think of any others…I really don’t have any cool nicknames.

Four Jobs that I’ve had

1.     Campground – I worked in the little store signing up equipment rentals, scooping ice cream, and running the cash register
2.     Smorgasbord – Someone has to refill those buffet lines.  I only lasted 6 months at this.
3.     Gift shop – 40% off books, hells yeah! I worked here for a few years until they ended up closing.
4.     Administrative stuff – Random admin stuff at a couple different places

Four movies I’ve watched more than once
There are soooo many movies that I watch over and over and over and over…Just ask my hubby, he hates it lol. I’ll just list the first few that come to mind.

1.     The National Treasure movies because it seems like they’re always on TV
2.     The Proposal and Two Weeks Notice for the same reason
3.     Volcano and Dante’s Peak because I love me some natural disaster movies
4.     The Day After Tomorrow…same reason

Four books I’d recommend
Another impossible list so I’ll list the four most recent books I’ve enjoyed

1.     North of Need by Laura Kaye
2.     Molly Harper’s Naked Werewolf and Jane Jameson series
3.     The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
4.     Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones
5.     Penryn & the End of Days series by Susan Ee
6.     Elemental Series by Brigid Kemmerer (ok I totally cheated and snuck in two extra…sue me ;))

Four Two places I’ve lived
I’ve really only lived in two towns in the same state (Pennsylvania). Three places in each town. Because of that I’m splitting this question into two.

1.     ‘Amish Country’ (no I’m not amish). I grew up around all of the towns that people/tourists got a kick out of. Bird-in-Hand, Intercourse, Blue Ball, Paradise, Bareville, Virginville…you get the drift.
2.     I moved two counties away for college and I still live in the area.

Two places I’d love to live

1.     Colorado
2.     Maine or another New England State

Four places I’ve been

1.     Bermuda – a cruise with hubby and his fam
2.     Vegas Baby – It’s impossible to see everything in just one trip so I’m hoping to go back someday
3.     Cancun – I went in high school with a friend and her parents

4.     West Virginia to go whitewater rafting

Four places I’d rather be right now

1.     Back in my bed finishing the dream I was having last night. A woman on the run protecting her research. John Cusack helping her run even though he doesn’t know why yet. Something about a bear costume was mixed in there somewhere. Lol.
2.     Colorado
3.     Alaska
4.     Australia or New Zealand

Four things I don’t eat

1.     Sushi
2.     Peppers
3.     Cabbage
4.     Any meat/fruit flavor combos

Four of my favorite foods

1.     PIZZA!!
2.     Pretty much anything starchy. Various forms of potatoes, mac n cheese, bread, corn, pasta
3.     Chips…I’m a saltaholic
4.     Auntie Anne’s garlic pretzels…extra garlic

Four tv shows that I’ve watched.
Only four, you’re kidding me right?! Do you know how much TV I watch!?

1.     Zombies! Walking Dead and Z Nation
2.     The Big Bang Theory is my go to show if there’s nothing else on. Although I’ll have to find a new one soon because I’ve now seen most of the reruns.
3.     Various cooking-foodie shows over the years.
4.     Various Alaska shows over the years.
5.     Tiny House Nation

Four things I’m looking forward to this year

1.     Getting back into reading and blogging
2.     My hubby (maybe) working a normal schedule for once
3.     Spending more time kayaking and playing with my stand up paddleboard
4.     Maybe getting a new car? I’m not sure about this one yet.

Four things I’m always saying

1.     Just saying
2.     I call bullshit
3.     Sofa King – Because my dog is so f***ing cute. Get it?
4.     Pita – because my dog and my hubby can seriously be pita’s sometimes lol.

Four people I tag

I’ll be nice and not tag anyone. If you want to get your survey on you’re more than welcome to.

A New Look

At Random has a fun new look!

A quick thank you to Corinne at The Blog Decorator! Not only did she create this design, she also created Krista's (Krista's Dust Jacket) as well!

Thanks again Corinne!

Stuff aka I have no creative titles in mind

Since my last post...


I read a second book! Maybe, just maybe, my book drought is a thing of the past. This book really was a good choice for me. North of Need by Laura Kaye is about a snow god. It's sweet and sexy and perfect for my snow loving heart.

Aaaand if you can believe it, I just read a THIRD post drought book today! Can it be? Is the drought REALLY over?! Mayhem by Jamie Shaw was another great pick for me. I loved it...nerdy girl, hot rocker guys...sigh...so good!

I'm definitely craving romance books right now so I'm sure my next read will be more of the same.


I stumbled on a couple covers that drew my eye.


I found another good (and easy) recipe. Parmesan Chicken and Rice Casserole. My rice ended up a little runny but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. Every few bites I couldn't help but mumble "so good".

I also had a dud of a recipe but I kind of knew I wouldn't like it ahead of time. It was a lemon garlic chicken with red potatoes and green beans (I don't have the link anymore, whoops). I'm just not into lemon or green beans but I tried it thinking hubby would appreciate me using green beans without any arm twisting involved (heh). Turns out he's not a fan of lemon either! Good news!

- - -

A few things I've never tried but definitely plan to...hopefully sooner rather than later...

Leeks - I found a potato leek soup recipe that looks amazing. I also found one here so I'm not sure yet which I'll try first.

Hot Sauce - Can you believe I've never used it? I grew up on bland Pennsylvania Dutch cooking and just never learned to cook with it.

Quinoa - I never even heard of this until I stumbled on a Quinoa chicken chili recipe.

Hominy - Another item I hadn't heard of until my friend Anna (Annaberry Reads) schooled me.

I'm pretty sure I'll have to sneak some of these things into my meal schedule without telling hubby. He's not always adventurous when it comes to food. Heck he wouldn't even try a chili omelet until I made one for myself on a day he wasn't around. I raved about it and then all of a sudden he wanted to try it, haha. Men.

Well that's all I have for now. Until next time...