Monthly Archives: November 2015

Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was wonderful!

My husband & I hosted for the very first time, & thankfully everything went off without a hitch! The food was delicious & the company was awesome.

One of the best parts about hosting is that we have all the leftovers!

We had all of the traditional sides; stuffing, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes ,etc. I used this recipe for Crockpot Mashed Potatoes & they came out amazing! Everybody loved them, but there’s only so much mashed potato you can eat in one sitting. Especially when there are so many other yummy foods! Needless to say we have a considerable amount of mashed potatoes left.


When I was younger my dad used to make potato pancakes with the leftover mashed potatoes from big family dinners. This morning I introduced my husband to this novel idea.

It’s very simple – mix in some cheese to your mashed potatoes, form into patties, dredge in flour, & fry ’em up!



Once they are golden brown, 3-4 minutes each side, take them out & serve them with some sour cream & bacon bits.


These are AWESOME! They are the perfect mix between french fries & mashed potatoes. The outside is crispy, but the inside is creamy.

There are other recipes that call for eggs & flour to be mixed in the mashed potatoes, but the mashed potatoes I used were chunky/thick enough to make pancakes without the additional ingredients. Chunky mashed potatoes with the skin for the win!

My husband loved them! He says I’m a keeper 🙂

Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

Yields about 6 pancakes

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • flour for dredging
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • sour cream & bacon bits for topping
  1. Mix mashed potatoes & cheese. Form into patties.Dredge in flour.
  2. Fry 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  3. Serve with sour cream & bacon bits.
In The New House Designs

Happy Thanksgiving!


I am so thankful for my blogging family, my in-the-flesh family, & most of all my heavenly Father.

Eat, drink, & be thankful!

Easy Thanksgiving Decorations

Tomorrow is the day that lots of us have been looking forward to!

My husband & I have been shopping, cleaning, & even started prepping some of the food for our first Thanksgiving hosted in our new house.

My mom has passed on her Thanksgiving serveware & tablecloths to me, but as far as decorations I was on my own.

Thankfully, I’m a crafty girl.


It took me like 10 minutes to make 4 of these floral decorations.


I had some empty bottles *cough cough Red Stripe beer bottles* around & picked up some fake flowers at the Dollar Store. The burlap I had in my craft supplies.



These will just add an extra little something special to tomorrow’s festivities.


Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all!

National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child!

Today kicks off National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child!

National Collection Week is November 16-23

6 years ago the church I was a member of while in college introduced me to Operation Christmas Child.

What is the mission of Operation Christmas Child?

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

This ministry collects shoeboxes – or really, shoebox sized containers – filled with gifts & essential items for needy kids around the world. Once the boxes are packed, shipped, & distributed, teams from Samaritan’s Purse get with local churches to distribute the boxes to the kids. During that time, the Gospel is presented to the kids in their own language in a fun way. Aside from providing presents & necessities such as toiletries, these kids get to hear about the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ.

Once I packed my first shoebox 6 years ago, I knew this would become a tradition for me. It’s a very fun, but meaningful, way to kick off the holiday season.

I introduced my husband to this tradition when we first started dating. It’s a nice date-like activity to go shopping for the items & pack boxes together. Our current church packs shoeboxes as well, but they do it in July – like Christmas in July! I prefer to do it in November, but it is great to know that you can pack shoeboxes year round! National Collection Week just makes it easier by providing designated drop off locations.

So how do you pack a shoebox?

National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child - Mrs. Dessert Monster

The OCC website has great instructions, tips, & advise for packing a great shoebox.

First thing we did was pick what gender & age group we wanted to build boxes. My husband & I always do a boy & a girl; this year we chose age range 10-14.

We went to the store & picked up toys (puzzles, yoyo, jump rope, & stuffed animals), necessities (soap, toothbrush & paste, hairbrush, socks), school supplies (notepads, pens, pencils), & candy canes. Then we packed our items up in plastic bins. I like to use plastic bins because I feel that the kids (or their parents) can use them for something else!

National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child - Mrs. Dessert Monster

The last step is to label the box. If you give a donation online for $7, the cost of shipping, you get labels with a barcode printed on them for tracking purposes. The best part about that is that a few weeks later, once all of the boxes have been delivered, you’ll receive an email letting you know where in the world your box ended up! In the years that I’ve tracked them, my boxes have ended up in Madagascar & India.

National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child - Mrs. Dessert Monster

The most important part of this ministry is to pray for these kids around the world. Not only for the kids, actually, but for their families & the people around them. It is extremely evident in light of recent events that the whole world needs Jesus.

Operation Christmas Child is a great way to show the world that God is good, God is joy, & God is love.

Operation Christmas Child

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup

I love that a lot of my recipe posts come from cooking for company! It means I have good friends & food to go around. I am a very blessed lady!

Last night some church friends came over for dinner & to help me with some stuff for a fundraiser I’m in charge of for our sister church in Cuba.

I was looking for something easy but tasty to make for us when I remembered a recipe I’ve made a couple of times. I came across this recipe on Pinterest, & it is pure GENIUS!

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

This 8 Can Taco Soup from High Heels and Grills is as amazing as it is simple. You literally put together 8 cans of stuff plus a packet of taco seasoning & a brilliant soup comes out.


8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Ok, fine, my chicken broth came from a box & not a can – because I already had it in the pantry! Otherwise I would have bought a can.

Yes, that is a can of tomatoes. The only thing I do differently than the original recipe is I buy regular diced tomatoes (as opposed to petite) & only use the liquid. I don’t omit it entirely because I’m afraid the flavor won’t be the same if I do – & I really don’t want to mess with this soup, THAT’S how good it is. I just use the juice from the can. I put the tomato chunks back into my husband’s & my guests’ bowls, though. No need to deprive them just because I am a weirdo.

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I seriously threw this soup together in like 10 minutes. It took me longer to make the quesadillas I served with it. Also, it’s really inexpensive! The pot makes a lot; 4 of us ate generous portions & I still had plenty to take to work with me!

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

So yummy, & so, so easy!

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup

Copied from High Heels and Grills

  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15.25 oz.) can sweet corn, drained
  • 1 (12.5 oz.) can white chicken breast, drained
  • 1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10 oz.) can green enchilada sauce
  • 1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large pot.
  2. Heat until warm, stirring occasionally.
In The New House Designs

My Blogging Process

I have thoroughly been enjoying the past 11 months that this blog has been up & running!

I never considered blogging before my wedding last year, but after being inspired by so many different DIY blogs & wedding blogs throughout the planning process, I thought, “hey, I could do that! I have things to share! I have a voice!”

I jumped right into this whole blogging thing head-first. I even bought my own domain right away. It’s been a fantastic ride & I plan on recapping my first year of blogging once it’s actually been a year!

So, what’s my blogging genre? What’s my blogging style?

Mrs. Dessert Monster

This is more than a lifestyle blog; this is my lifestyle blog.

Currently, my lifestyle is that of a 27 year old woman with a full time job & a fantastic husband. I’m just doing life as it comes; and sharing it with y’all afterwards.

I don’t have a fancy camera & don’t get to set up photo shoots during the day using natural light. I don’t make things ahead of time for the holidays or special occasions so that I can share them before the day passes. I don’t have a blogging schedule.

Not that any of those things are bad! I’m an avid reader of many blogs that do follow those ‘rules’. I love looking at wonderful food photography & beautiful tablescapes. The passion behind the photographs comes through in so many of the blogs I follow.

I hope it comes out in mine, too. I hope that my poorly lit cellphone photos show how much I love cooking, or crafting, or whatever other activity I am sharing. I hope that my November 1st Halloween post shows how much fun I had.

There have been a few times when I am inspired to do or make something specifically for a post, but mostly these moments come about genuinely, & often at night after work (ergo the bad lighting!). I’m also taking my time in sharing things around me. My house is the perfect example for that. We moved back in June & all I’ve shared so far is the bathroom. But that means I have material for more posts!

Lately I have realized the importance of putting more of myself into what I’m writing. Hence this post, I suppose. The blogs that I enjoy reading the most are much more than just “here’s a few excellent photos of a cake I made. Recipe below.” I’m learning a lot from my peers.

I’m also slowly learning to take better pictures, though still using my cell phone or digital camera. Fellow bloggers have posted some great tips on backdrops & colors & angles. I’m listening.

Most of all, I’m growing, & not just as a blogger. I’m growing in my faith, though that doesn’t make it into my writing as much as I’d like. I’m growing in cooking & other skills. I’m growing as a wife.

So, what’s my blogging process?

My blogging process is much like my life; a little all over the place, but a lot of fun.

Blackened Shrimp Pasta With Corn & Mixed Veggies

Necessity is the mother of invention. Occasionally it is the mother of deliciousness as well. Like when you decide last minute to invite your father-in-law over for dinner & haven’t gone grocery shopping in a long time.

My father-in-law is definitely more of a seafood person than a meat person, so with that in mind I opened the freezer & took a look. Shrimp; check. I almost always have shrimp, thanks to Winn Dixie’s BOGOs. Shrimp is great for pasta, which is a pantry staple, but what else can I put in it? Mixed veggies with corn; perfect!

Suddenly I was inspired to create a Cajun-ish, spicy style shrimp & corn pasta dish.

Blackened Shrimp Pasta with Corn & Mixed Veggies - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I figured the spicy blackened shrimp would go nicely with the sweet corn – & I was right! The mixed veggies blend I used worked pretty well for the recipe, but next time I will add more corn!

Blackened Shrimp Pasta with Corn & Mixed Veggies - Mrs. Dessert Monster

The dish came out pretty spicy. I added a little bit too much blackening to mine, so I cut it back in the recipe below. That should bring out the other flavors a little more.

This recipe can feed up to 4 people. The 3 of us ate generous portions & there was just enough left over for me to take to work tomorrow!

Blackened Shrimp Pasta with Corn & Mixed Veggies - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Blackened Shrimp Pasta With Corn & Mixed Veggies

  • 1/2 box spaghetti
  • 12 oz frozen shrimp, thawed
  • 1 tbs blackening seasoning
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables with corn
  1. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Combine shrimp & blackening seasoning, & cook in a pan with olive oil until shrimp turn pink. Remove shrimp from pan & set aside.
  3. In the same pan, sautee garlic & onion in olive oil for 5 minutes. Then add frozen veggies & white wine to the pan. Cook until liquid has reduced by half.
  4. Add shrimp back to pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour the entire contents of the pan over the spaghetti & toss.

Pirate Trunk Or Treat

Every year my church teams up with another local church for Trunk or Treat. If you’ve never heard of trunk or treat, it’s essentially trick or treating out of parked cars that have their trunks decorated. This year my husband & I decided to participate. It was so much fun!

Pirate Trunk Or Treat - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I decided around August that I wanted to be a pirate for Halloween. No real reason, it was one of those random strings of thought. So, naturally, we did a pirate themed trunk.

I knew I wanted to keep the candy we were giving out in a treasure chest, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a prop I’d only use once. Being the crafty woman that I am, I made one out of a styrofoam cooler!

Treasure Chest Out Of Styrofoam Cooler - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Acrylic paint works well on styrofoam. For even coverage you need two or more coats, but I liked the look of one coat of the brown – it kind of looks like wood!

With the treasure chest set, we just needed a few more decorations for our trunk. I bought some accent jewels from the dollar store to look like gems & Rolos to look like gold. We used a black trash bag as our backdrop so the rest of the car wasn’t visible (held up by thumbtacks), foam skull & crossbones that I hand painted, this halloween gauze-like stuff, & a fiber optic pirate head my mother-in-law let me borrow. My Jeep actually has a 110 plug, so we were able to light it up!

Pirate Trunk Or Treat - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I’m glad I got the Rolos, because we were running out of candy near the end so I started giving them out!

Pirate Trunk Or Treat - Mrs. Dessert Monster

It was pretty inexpensive to put all of this together. Some of the other trunks went all out! This was our first time; now we know what to expect next year!

Pirate Trunk Or Treat - Mrs. Dessert Monster

We had a blast! It was great seeing the kids all dressed up. We passed out candy, eye patches & ‘pirate tattoos’ (they were really just Jake & The Neverland Pirate Halloween Stickers).

Pirate Trunk Or Treat - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I think my husband & I looked really cute as pirates – during the day!


At night we were scary pirates – I love Halloween!