Friday, January 30, 2009

Stuffed Shells

I have to quote Rachael Ray and say these were YUMM-O. It is her recipe after all. I know she's a bit too perky but I usually have good luck with her recipes. Although I rarely complete them in 30 minutes. Let's get two rug rats nipping at her ankles and see how long it takes her!
I even went out and purchased some actual parmesan reggiano just for this dish. How fancy schmancy is that? (well, for me it's pretty fancy schmancy) I can't say my uncivilized taste buds really noticed and will probably just get the cheap stuff next time.
And that would be PW's buttery thyme bread sitting there in the background. They were great together.
Check out this wooden salad bowl I got at Goodwill for $3.99. I've been wanting one for a while but they're a little pricey. This one's a little scuffed up but it would be after I got a hold of it anyway.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wedding Gift Apron

One of the girls at work is getting married next month and because I'm insanely cheap I wanted to give her something really special, I made an apron just for her.
She's far too young to be getting married, but as it happens, she hasn't even asked my opinion. Now that I think about it, she actually is young enough to be my daughter. You know, if I had started having kids when I was 13. *cough*

She's a tiny little thing (but packs quite a punch and seems to enjoy hitting me for some reason) so I tried to make this a little smaller than the pattern.

It's got 3 nice big pockets so after she pops out that third kid she'll have a pocket for pacifers, one for hot wheels, and one for Jonas Brothers tickets. (yeah, I know, they'll be old by then)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Honey Bun Cake

I want this honey bun cake to be my honey.
1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
8 oz sour cream
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
(oddly enough, no honey)
Mix cake mix, eggs, oil and sour cream by hand. Pour 1/2 of batter in a greased 9x13 pan. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of batter. Pour remaining batter on top of brown sugar. Swirl through batter with knife. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes. Make a glaze by mixing the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Pour over cake while hot.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I haven't really made any yummy food lately. Unless you count the saltine crackers with barbecue sauce I've been munching on. Yeah, that's my own creation, I'm pretty proud of it. *insert Barney Fife type sniff here*
I did make some Peanut Butter Nutella Brownies, in my ongoing effort to try to be just like Cathy of The Noble Pig. But I managed to screw them up somehow. It was brownie soup in the middle, but the edges were great. (well, the middle was pretty good too)

I can't be like Cathy anyway. My backyard is way too small for a vineyard.

I am hoping one of the three of you who look at my blog can help me with some Superbowl snack ideas. I'm wanting to make some snackies for next Sunday but can't decide what. If you help me out you will win my undying appreciation. And what else could you possibly need :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Broccoli Cornbread

It's broccoli. It's cornbread. It's...broccoli cornbread.
"Why?" you may ask. Why would I put broccoli in my cornbread?
Why not? I feel apathy is taking over.
Here's the recipe. For the cornbread. Not the apathy.
1(10-oz)pkg. Chopped broccoli- thawed and drained
(4-oz) freshly grated mild cheddar cheese
1/4-cup milk
1 stick of butter, melted
1 Jiffy corn bread mix
Mix all ingredients, leaving the cornbread mix until last. Pour into 11 X 7 baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes or until browning across the top.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Continued Love Affair With Arnold Bakeries

This time around I received two loaves of their line of Bakery Light Breads. Both have a nice, light texture, perfect for sandwiches and maybe some toast (yeah, TOAST!) (sorry, I love the toast song)

So the girl and I decided to have some sammiches. I had a veggie conglomeration on the 7 grain.

And she had a very plain jane tuna on the whole wheat. Heaven forbid a pickle make it onto one of her sandwiches! The girl and I would definitely recommend this bread for anyone trying to shave some fat and calories off their lunch.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Potato Skins

I haven't been interested in football in years, but when I heard that today's game might mean a trip to the Superbowl for the Arizona Cardinals, I got a little excited. It feels kinda nice to get enthused about a local team since the Phoenix Suns are getting on my last nerve lately. Aside from Nash and Stoudemire, I have no idea who any of those people playing are. Well, there is that big guy named Shaq, but I digress... a great deal.
Of course you won't be shocked to learn that I found today's game another reason to rustle up a yummy snack. I've always loved potato skins stuffed with stuff but never made them at home. I found this recipe at it is for ya:
6 potatoes 1 cup vegetable oil 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese 1/8 cup bacon bits 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Pierce potatoes with a fork. Microwave the potatoes on high until they are soft; approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Cut the potatoes in half vertically. Scoop the inside out of the potatoes, until 1/4 inch of the potato shell remains. Heat oil to 365 degrees F (180 degrees C) in a deep fryer or a deep saucepan. Place the potatoes in hot oil, fry for 5 minutes. Drain potatoes on paper towels. Fill the potato shells with cheese and bacon bits. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Serve hot with sour cream.
The only thing different I did was use real bacon instead of bacon bits and put scallions and tomatoes on top. Next...the Superbowl!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shortbread Cookies

My friend Lisa informed me there are only 3 ingredients in shortbread. I didn't know that, hadn't ever even thought about it. So that makes it super easy to whip up a batch of yummy cookies any ol' time the mood hits (3 or 4 times a day in my case).
I just happened to have a giant bar of dark chocolate that she made me buy. I have a long history of wanting to do everything just like Lisa...why stop now?
Here's her recipe:
2 sticks of butter creamed with 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt if your butter is unsalted. Then 2 cups of flour 1/4 cup at a time until it all clumps into a ball. roll in balls and smash or roll it out and cut it with a knife or cutters. 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes or so - will depend on how thick you made em.
And just for kicks, here's a pic of the two of us back when neither of us had encountered as many shortbread cookies.
See, I was dressed in green just like her. That's me in the kicky beret.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Puff Pastry with Caramelized Onions and Feta Cheese

Or as I like to say...Ode to Mrs. Puff.
My son can be a in his interests, and for the last several years it's been Spongebob. I'm pretty sure I could win a Spongebob trivia contest, for whatever that will get me.
So I couldn't help thinking of Mrs. Puff after I made these little pastries I saw over at Half-Assed Kitchen.
I'd never worked with puff pastry before, but of course it's pretty easy if you remember to take it out of the freezer about a half hour before you need it. I guess I thought I was just going to slap the filling on there while it was frozen hard as a rock. Here's the recipe: 2 small onions, sliced thinly Olive oil 1-2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar Feta cheese (Or any kind of cheese) 1 box Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry sheets Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Caramelize onions by sauteing in olive oil over low heat for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. They should turn golden, but not dark brown or charred. After 45 minutes, stir in balsamic vinegar and heat for another 5 to 10 minutes. Lay out one puff pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Cut into small squares, about 1 inch by 1 inch. *I made mine larger than this* In the center of each square, place a few of the caramelized onion slices and some crumbled feta. Cut second sheet of puff pastry into small squares and lay one over each little mound of onion and feta (creating a sandwich effect). Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Can brush tops with butter/margarine or an egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water) for a more golden finish. When I got mine out of the oven the top layer had puffed up so much it had flipped over and off the other layer. But it was easy enough to squish back on there. I enjoyed these pretty well and I think Mrs. Puff would approve.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This Is Me...

....being sporadic.
Because this is what I've been doing...
For so many hours at a time my ass is completely numb. I wonder if my employer would let me take scheduled time off so I can play even more? I'll have to check into that.
And in other news, guess who decided to stand on my laptop.

Yeah, you better look worried...thank goodness you only weigh 42 pounds.

And this is what the underside of my laptop keys look like...

Fortunately my husband is smarter than I am and got it back on there. Fortunately for Simon he's one of my favorite 2 kids, and I don't think he'll stand on the laptop again.

Gotta get back to the Sims now. Could someone send over a casserole??

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sporadic Spouse Speaks

Julie, your sporadic hostess, has momentarily stepped aside and requested that I, her worse half, fill her shoes and step in as a guest blogger. And, boy, do they pinch my toes! har har Today I share with you the wonder that I have creatively coined APPLE CAKE WITH CREAM FROSTING. I've been using this recipe for many moons and don't honestly remember to whom it should be attributed. But I think I may have lifted it from a Norweigian cookbook. So three cheers for our blonde haired, Kringla snarfing, Norski brethren. Hip hip, uff da! Hip hip, uff da! Hip hip, uff da! This is pretty basic stuff as anything complicated would make my head explode I am a novice cook. Following are the ingredients for the cake: 2 eggs 2 cups sugar 1/2 cup veggie oil 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1 teaspoon vanilla 4 cups apples Vigorously and cruelly beat the eggs into full submission, wantonly mix in all the dry ingredients with blatant disregard for their comfort and well-being, and viciously beat in the apples. A word of warning -- this is a very stiff batter. You really have to work it to mix this bad boy up. Regular utilization of this recipe could leave you with overly-muscled, grossly out of proportion, unsightly Popeyesque biceps. So make sure you switch mixing arms at regular intervals to avoid the jeering and ridicule of strangers. As far as the apples are concerned, I would recommend just using your favorite. I used Galas for this batch because they were on special at Food City they are a flavorful taste treat. I think strong & sweet works best. My best of these cakes have used Gala or Fuji. The pedestrian, less tangy Red Delicious made for a rather bland cake. And, though I've not tried it, I don't believe the tartness of a green apple would lend itself well to this concoction. Also, rather than dicing them, I prefer to core and quarter the apples and then slice them length-wise as thinly as possible. The diced apples leave a rather chunky texture whereas my preferred method bakes in for a mostly homogenous, uniform blend. But if chunky is your thing, chunk away! I ain't judgin', I'm just sayin'... Place batter in a greased 9" x 13" x 2" pan. Cake bakes in about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. The frosting is also nice and simple for puddingheaded imbeciles novice cooks like myself. Just mix together the following ingredients and make sure there is enough left to cover the cake after you've done the requisite taste tests. 3 ounces of goopy cream cheese (soften first) 3 tablespoons butter Pinch o' salt 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar For the cake shown, I used maple extract instead of vanilla. I know, I know. I know what you're thinking, "Hold him back! He's a wild man!" It's all good.
Next time, I might even use anise extract for black licorice cream cheese frosting. I'm just really adventerous like that. That's how I roll.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

Tiffany at Eat at Home gave me my first ever blog award called "One Lovely Blog Award". I know that sentence was a bit redundant, but I am often prone to redundancy, over and over. Now I am to pass the award on to 7 more blogs, and here are my nominees. (envelope please!) Chez Le Fleur in Manhattan-got to meet Ina in person A Daily Dose of Toni-hosted a great Twilight extravaganza Pie O My-hot buttered rum...'nuff said In My Mind I'm Going-fellow mom of a kid with ASD Of Food and Fat-has issues with chicken butts Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine-ah...the rib roast *sigh* Supermarket Serenade-interesting ways with chai

These awardees just need to follow these simple rules to receive this award and pass it on:

Add the logo to your blog Link to the person from whom you've received the award Nominate seven blogs of your choice Leave a message on the nominees' blogs

Friday, January 2, 2009

Snackfest '09

Yesterday being new year's day seemed like as good of an occasion as any to get together with family and eat a bunch of food!
One of my favorite things to start (and end) with is a lovely pineapple cheeseball. I've made this particular one for many a gathering and always get nice comments on it. It was especially lovely after my talented daughter artfully arranged the Ritz crackers around it.
My hubby made his guacamole that everybody but me loves...I'm just not an avocado person. I know I'm wrong for it.

And I put together some yummy bruschetta. It's pretty much just diced tomatoes, chopped basil, a drizzle of olive oil and coarse salt and pepper. This is some of my favorite stuff!

I didn't take a pic but I also made some wonderful buffalo chicken dip. If you haven't tried it, go and get everything you need and do it today. I could just have a bowl of that stuff and a spoon and be a happy girl.

We had this cute football shaped shrimp platter especially with my son in mind. There have been times he could clean off one of those by himself, but he wasn't especially feelin' it today.

To make sure we got a little meat in our diet we had some pineapple chicken skewers and bacon wrapped dates. I'd never had the dates before...I enjoyed the flavor but was not sure about the squishiness level of the dates. Will have to try them again sometime.

To keep our collective blood sugars from dropping we had to have some sweets. I made some s'mores brownies that I found a recipe from Food Network's site. (recipe below) They were pretty darned good but were quite a pain to cut. Also had some cranberry bars that weren't too bad. I liked the oatmeal in them; gave them a nice texture.

Check out the inside of those brownies...super fudgey!

Crust: 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs 2 tablespoons sugar Pinch fine salt


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped 1 cup packed light brown sugar 3/4 cup white sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon fine salt 4 large cold eggs 1 cup all-purpose flour

Topping: 4 cups large marshmallows

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by-8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch. For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the brownie. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. Alternatively, put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted. Stir the light brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, (keep an eye on it, it can go quick), about 2 minutes. Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Carefully separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away. Cut into 12 (2-inch) squares.