Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Gift for a "Domestic Goddess"

...which isn't ME..
but I really did need a new vacuum cleaner, so I was excited !

It cleans both carpet and tile..

Here is my old vacuum
it is not a dyson **heavy sigh***
it was $40 at Walmart when I bought it 2 years ago.
I loved it at the time - but who doesn't LOVE a new vacuum cleaner?

Now it clogs up and picks stuff up and moves it to other parts of the floor
but the worse thing..
it overheats which means you have to "vacuum" fast or you might not get one room completed..
(or at least have the dirt distributed equally across the floor - giving the appearance of clean since it has the "vacuumed" tread marks)
If you are looking for such a vacuum, let me know.. but hurry fast
I might put it on craigslist.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What To Get A "Foodie"

Rachael Ray's Expandable Lasagna Lugger
 in Green

It has 2 insulated levels.
This is the bottom...

...and this is the top...
I also got the lasagna dish as well.
Perfect Christmas present!

Another Great "Foodie" Gift

A Microplane "zester"...
This is one of those things I've been wanting.. and just never bought myself.
Well, I got it for Christmas
My life is now complete.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Strike a Pose

Is it a Gap Commercial?

No, just my son being a goofball.
Although, I believe everything he is wearing is from the Gap..

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Day - PW's Potato Salad

We had Christmas dinner at my house
My stepsister brought the ham and my neighbors brought the pork

This is Pioneer Woman's (PW) Perfect Potato salad.
It is one of the best I have ever tried.

Click here  to go to PW's site for the recipe.

I made it exactly as directed.
I didn't have a fresh dill from the garden or a potato ricer
so I just mashed them the old fashion way
they were very creamy
(BTW - I do want a potato ricer now!)

Christmas Day - Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole

I made this on Christmas Day.

The recipe is courtesy of "chaos in the kitchen"

Click here for the recipe.

It is the best broccoli-cheese recipe I've made yet.

I was leery of the onion and celery,
I will forever use onion and celery from now on
I did change things up a little
I used a can of cream of chicken-mushroom soup and a can of cream of mushroom soup.
(I accidentally picked up a can of "Light Italian Wedding Soup" instead of the Chicken Mushroom..
Thank goodness, I had one of the staple cream soups in my pantry.)

I used also fresh broccoli
I ended up with more broccoli and rice than the recipe called for
I compensated with extra milk and extra colby jack cheese
(because you can NEVER have enough cheese)

 To stay true to my love of cheese,
I even topped it off with more SHARP cheddar cheese

Christmas Day - Simple Spinach & Strawberry Salad

Forgot to take a picture of the pretty holiday salad

imagine red sliced strawberries on a bed of green spinach leaves

 click here
to get the recipe from Whole Foods
It is easy and colorful and delicious!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Test Kitchen - PW's Enchiladas Experience

PW's Beef Enchiladas

This is the first recipe I made out of The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook.

It was actually at the request of my son!
Test Kitchen consensus - Pretty Good!

I just let the corn tortillas get too soggy when I cooked them in oil and dunked them in the sauce, so they basically disintegrated into the dish - making this an enchilada casserole.

The following week, I have made PW's White Chicken Enchiladas!

I have been on a quest to discover the best Chicken Enchilada recipe.
This one is a keeper.

The last recipe I tried called for flour tortillas... and the "test kitchen" feedback confirmed that flour tortillas are just too thick and gooey for chicken enchiladas.

 I was so excited about this cream sauce, I had to take a picture.
Unfortunately, I forgot to get a picture of the finished product.

If you click the link above the picture, you'll see PW's beautiful picture.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Parmesan "Fire Bowl"

This is a parmesan cheese wheel

Iron Chef Mario Batali "flambe'd" it
then tossed pasta in it


I am scare of "flambe"
I tried it once making bananas foster - and was so scared,
my son and I ended up eating the dessert with the liquid rum

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bringing Bundt Back...

I do not know about you, but I have about 3 different style of bundt pans that I hardly ever use.

I made this cake the other day with a pan a friend gave me recently when she moved.
Something about a bundt cake that brings back good childhood memories.
(yes, I believe this dates me a little bit)
I do not think I've ever had a bad bundt cake.
(well, except the time that I just mixed all the ingredients in one bowl creating a very dense cake which I do not recommend - when EVERY baker knows you mix the wet ingredients separate from the dry before mixing them all together GRADUALLY )

I even received one this year for my birthday back in March from

The fun thing baking a bundt cake - is praying and hoping that when you turn it over,
the cake comes out flawlessly without sticking!

Cooking Tip: Coat pan with butter or spray it with PAM, then dust it with dried cake mix instead of flour.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cute Coaster Idea


cute napkin

Coaster with Cute Napkin

I received this as a belated house warming gift.
It was waiting for me when I got home on Friday evening.
I love unexpected surprises!
This is a cute idea that I wouldn't buy for myself, but loved receiving it!

Click here for a website that sells them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gaylord Texas Christmas

This was my first visit to the Gaylord Hotel in Grapevine.
We went to see the ICE Sculpture exhibit - featuring Dr Seuss "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
(more pictures to follow)

Test Kitchen - Fiesta Taco Lasagna

This is very delicious.

I got this recipe from Southern Living.

I followed the directions exactly.
Well, almost exactly... I added sharp cheddar on top as well.
You can never have enough cheese!

It was extremely quick and easy to make.

I LOVE the "no boil" lasagna noodles. 

I will definitely recommend!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Emeril's Shrimp & Pasta in a Tomato Chile Cream Sauce

I made this recipe for the first time back in July 2008.  I've since made it about 3 times, and have recommended it to friends as well.  It's a hard recipe to "google" because Emeril has many shrimp pasta recipes so I decided to re-post it so that the recipe is more readily available. 

Click here to see the original posting.

If you try it, I'd love to hear your comments.  I will warn you, it is SPICY!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Southern Living's Turtle Trifle

Southern Living Turtle Trifle

This trifle is amazing.  It is made with pecan pie, mascarpone whipped cream, caramel & chocolate sauce!  

Sometimes I top it off with candied pecans, but it is so decadent without them too! 
I've been making this dish for over 5 years!  
It's a hit every single time

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pretty Poinsetta

This Poinsetta cost only $2.00 at Lowe's.
That's right $2.00.
Isn't it gorgeous?
It was normally $5.98
I bought 4.
2 for the porch
1 for the dining room
1 for the breakfast room
Yes, it's real...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rosemary Brie Cake with Apricot Preserves

This cake was a little labor intensive, but it was well worth it.
The key is to serve it warm.
The presentation is phenomenal.
It literally looks like it came straight from an expensive bakery when in reality all I did was slop a bunch of apricot preserves on an otherwise very simple looking (not simple to make) cake~!

Click here for the recipe.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Can you see it?
Yeah, not to thrilled with the iPhone camera today.
We had a very cool snow "flurry" this morning.
Unfortunately, it was too warm to stick to the ground.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Making Homemade Marshmallows

You may ask yourself, who makes "homemade marshmallows"?
Well, I saw Martha Stewart do this on Oprah back about 8-9 years ago.
I was intrigued, and thought they would be perfect for our
Thanksgiving Eve Bonfire.

Mix 4 packets of unflavored gelatin with cold water. Let sit.

Mix Karo Syrup with sugar - cool to the softball stage

Mix using the "whisk" attachment.  Stay tuned for an update on my hand mixer vs Kitchenaid.

It almost looks like white meringue.
Let it sit in a 13X9 pan for 3 hours or overnight.

Dust work surface with powdered sugar.
Cut into squares or circles like I did here...
You can even use a cookie cutter.

Marshmallow goodness!

Click HERE for Martha's recipe.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has a great holiday!
I have many things to post...
my homemade marshmallows for starters

so stay tuned

it might be Friday or Saturday before I get to it

off with my pumpkin fudge, corn dip, homemade rosemary bread, artichoke dip, and marshmallows for
a good ol' country bonfire~

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Making Pumpkin Fudge

only requires 1/2 cup - so you might want to find something else to make that has pumpkin in it

This is what it looks like with the first 6 ingredients mixed together before it gets to 234 degrees (soft-ball stage)

This is the soft-ball stage - 234 degrees.
Remove from heat & add

The stickiest stuff in the whole wide world.

I didn't take a picture of the toasted pecans.. they aren't as exciting.
Also didn't take a picture of the pan with all these ingredients post soft-ball stage.
It's hard work, and you have to move fast.
I recommend adding EVERYTHING - marshmallow cream, white chocolate chips, pecans, and vanilla all at once.. then, stir stir stir with a heavy wooden spoon until you can't stir anymore.

CLICK HERE for the actual recipe and a picture of the end result.

Oatmeal Scotchies- Finally!

Making cookies
The base of all "Nestle" Tollhouse recipes...
sugar, butter, eggs
(I always use REAL unsalted butter)

Nestle Tollhouse Butterscotch Morsels
(Ok, is it just me, or is "morsels" just a weird word? I feel very uncomfortable typing it let alone saying it out loud.)
 Nestle is the best! Do not attempt with imitators!

Yes, one is missing!
 These are very crumbly. The one in the middle crumbled, and I felt it was my responsibility to "taste test" it.

These are very delicious cookies. I've been making them for YEARS.  Just taking them off the pan to cool takes me to a very "happy" place. They are my son's fav-O-rite! Knowing how happy they make him, makes me feel like the bestest mom in the whole wide world.  So much, I almost can't wait for him to get off work today. I thought I'd take them to him at work, but then he'd have to share.. and I don't think he'll want to. He's been only been asking me to bake cookies for a couple months now.  Finally!

Click the title of this blog post or click here for the complete recipe.

Ree Drummond - The Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummond is going to be in Dallas on Tuesday, 12/1 @ Borders off Preston/Royal promoting her new cookbook.

If you haven't checked out her blog before, click here.  If you have plenty of time on your hands, and you are looking for something to read, check out her Love Story on how she met her Marlboro Man.  I promise you, make sure you have the time, because once you start reading it, YOU WILL NOT WANT TO STOP!
For the book tour information, click here!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 Countdown - 3 Days

I dream of an elegant Thanksgiving - with a glamourous table"scape" ...

like this one from Pottery Barn..

but alas.. that's not how we roll in my family

Ours is a potluck, and because there are so many people, there are a lot of small tables (that do not match) - more like "country" chic, and we typically eat with paper goods similar to these below...

It's still fun and festive, just a little bit "rustic".. you might say.
For those of you who are new to my blog, click here to see how my son and I spend our Thanksgiving festivities.  Or as Jeff Foxworthy might say...

"You might be a REDNECK, if you use a John Deere tractor to get your cooked turkeys out of the oven ground.

Caprese Portobello Mushroom

Just Add Mushrooms Caprese Mushroom I adapted it from a couple recipes.  You can use whatever mozzarella cheese you have on han...