Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year Y'all

Don't forget to eat your black-eyed peas and hog jowl for luck!

Hope everybody has a great 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Did everyone have a nice Christmas? My kids seemed to have had a great one and now they are Wii-ing their little hearts out. You should see the boy playing's hilarious!
Anyway...on with the food.
I made this soup the day before Christmas (also known as Christmas Eve) because I was going to have to work the next day and thought this would keep me from feeling quite as sorry for myself if I took it to work with me. Turns out I didn't have to work after all, but I enjoyed it just the same.

Here's how I made my version:

1 lb ground beef

1/2 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 lb green pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 24 oz can diced tomatoes

1 cup water

1 cup beef broth

1-2 tsp beef base

splash of red wine vinegar

salt & pepper

cooked rice

Brown ground beef and drain fat....leave a little in the pan and saute the veggies in it until just getting soft. Add broth, water, beef base, vinegar, ground beef, salt and pepper.

Simmer together at least 15 minutes.

Serve with as much rice as you want in it.

I suppose you could cook the rice in it but I thought it would make it all thick and starchy and I didn't want that.

Update: I'm not really sure what beef base is either...but I used this stuff. There's a picture of a cow on it, must be ok.

Exciting announcement: I'm hoping to have a guest blogger soon. He lives in my house and my kids call him dad. He's going to be featuring his yummy apple cake, so stay tuned!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

There's a Grinch In My Kitchen

It's not really my kitchen. There's a guy not too far from us who completely decks out his house for Christmas, inside and out, and lets people go through and tour the place. With the expectation no one will take anything. While wearing an elf outfit. I just have to question his judgement all around, but it's his house.
And this is what he does to his dog. He just needs that giant antler tied to his head and he'd be just like the dog in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. He was really cute. Just sat there shivering on that little stool and let everybody pet him. The dog I mean....not the guy.

Mara poses on the outside of the house.

Simon next to the nautical themed tree. This guy has many many decorated trees throughout the house, each with it's own theme. Here's a butterfly one:

My favorite part was the giant Christmas village. Makes the four little houses I've got look pretty sad.

Then there's the obligatory giant moss covered moose.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Product Review: Grains & More

The nice people at Arnold's Bakeries were kind enough to send me a couple more of their new breads to try that are in their Grains & More line. They are the Double Oat and Double Omega.

I always love getting that Fed Ex box! They arrived nice and fresh, and when I opened them they smelled so yummy.

The one on the left is the double's got lots of little flax seeds in there. Also when you read the ingredients you find it's actually got some fish in it. (no it doesn't taste like tuna) Which totally works for me since I don't eat a lot of fish. Not that I don't want to, but I'm just not that great at preparing it.

They both toasted up nice and were yummy slathered in grape jam.

You can click here for all the nutrition info.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Italian Cookies

Okay I can't find the exact link now, but I got this recipe from Cathy of the Noble Pig. They looked so cute and festive I couldn't resist. I was a little afraid of the anise flavoring when I opened it and realized it smelled like licorice. (yes, I am afraid of licorice, but I'm seeking help for it) But it's really a nice addition. Adds something a little different.
Here's the recipe:
For the cookies:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons anise extract (okay to use vanilla or lemon) For the glaze
3-4 Tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon anise extract
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside. In the microwave melt butter and shortening (make sure the shortening is fresh or it will taste bad) together in a bowl. Beat the melted butter and shortening together until it is completely incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add granulated sugar and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, about 1 minute each. Mix in anise extract. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture slowly, until fully incorporated. Don't overmix. If the cookie dough is too sticky to roll in the palm of your hand, add a bit of flour. However, the dough should remain very soft, so don't add too much. Roll the cookie dough in small balls (they puff up quite nicely) and place them on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes (mine took 8 minutes). The bottoms of the cookies should be lightly browned but the tops of should remain light in color. Remove cookies from the cookie sheet immediately and move to a wire rack. Cool completely before glazing. For the glaze, slowly mix milk with powdered sugar and anise extract. The glaze needs to be thick to adhere to the cookie. Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze. I dipped about 10 cookies at a time. Sprinkle each cookie with nonpareils and leave them to completely dry. This recipe made approximately 100 cookies when dough was rolled into 3/4" balls.
Phewf! That was lengthy.
And here they are as decorated by my girl child.
We made these for a cookie exchange get together and got to visit with some furry friends on the way out there. I was tempted to share the cookies with them, but I wasn't sure if nonpareils agreed with the equine crowd.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Untitled Post

Well, I couldn't think of anything to call this post other than a hodge-podge of things from my trip home. While I was there I had a little 'cue. This is the (soon to be) world famous Shack Tater from the Bar-B-Que Shack in Paragould, AR. Yeah, there's a tater under there. I had more than my share of these when I worked in that little town, in fact, even though I hadn't been there in 7 years the owner said he remembered me. That's a little embarassing. My super cute and smart nephew recommends their catfish! BBQ excursion #2 was to Demo's Barbeque and Smokehouse in Jonesboro, AR. I got the 3 rib plate and they were nice and meaty, just enough. The beans and slaw were pretty good too. I enjoyed this trip cause I got to visit with cousins and aunts from both sides of my family that I hardly ever get to see. My friend's little girl seems to approve of the blackberry cobbler (or at least the ice cream on top) from the local diner. Look at those cheeks....I can't stand it! I really wanted to pinch them but that would have proved how old I am and just annoyed her, I'm sure. If it seems crass or in bad taste I spent the days after my dad's funeral dining around, believe me, he would have approved :) Here is Piggott Arkansas' claim to fame. Ernest Hemmingway lived in our little town for a period of time after he married a lady from the area. Leaving us with the Hemmingway Pfieffer Museum. I think this is where he was living when he got suicidal and shot himself (just kidding!) And I'll leave you with this lovely stretch of road where I was when I heard about the attack on the WTC.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I've Been Tagged

My first ever tagging...I'm so excited! Tiffany at Eat at Home let me know she was tagging me a few days ago, so here goes.

Random facts about me: (I know you're on the edge of your seat, aren't you?)

1. I have a birthmark in the shape of the number 2 on my left leg. 2. I can't not watch Apollo 13, Armageddon, or Independence Day if it's on. 3. I think the typical funeral process is a huge drain on the surviving family and I find it completely unnecessasary. Personally. 4. I spend most of my time feeling either rushed or guilty, or both. 5. I love the sitcom Wings and wish I could find a channel that plays it 24/7. 6. I'm mind numbingly boring. 7. I never thought I'd get married and have kids. But I did and I do.

So here are the folks I'd like to tag:

Lunch Bucket Bento

Even the Nice Ones

Home with Mandy

Of Food and Fat

Going Country

Chubba Girl

I'm Changing My Name to Ouisa

Monday, December 8, 2008

One Of The Good Ones

My dad passed away this Friday and I felt it only fitting that I should say a few words about him on my blog. I'm very fortunate to say that we always enjoyed a good relationship and he's definitely someone I can say I am proud was my dad. He wasn't perfect of course. He thought ALL sandwiches and burgers should be slathered in mayo. That's just wrong, but we were able to work around that. He worked hard to provide for his family and to be able to send me to school, so I'm able to do the same. I didn't realize at the time what a gift that truly was, but now that I'm older, I do. He was never ashamed or afraid to share his faith in God with the people he would meet. And not in a way that the person would feel like he was shoving it down their throat. I can honestly say there are more than a few people he touched in an eternal way. It's hard losing a parent at any age, but knowing that he always knew I loved him (even if we were disagreeing about something more substantial than mayonnaise) and vise versa helps. More than anything I know he would want people to know more about his faith. And secondly he would probably say, if you smoke...stop now!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Earthquake Cake and Etc.

I'm supposed to be sleeping because I have a flight to catch in the a.m. and have to get up at the crack of not long from now. But no...I'm sitting here typing about earthquake cake. This is what I took to work for potluck on Thursday. Everyone seemed to like it...I heard it described as evil. Is that a good thing?

Well, the picture doesn't really do it justice, but here's how you make it.

Melt a stick of butter in a cake pan, then sprinkle 1 cup of coconut and 1 cup of chopped pecans over the butter.

Mix a package of German chocolate cake mix according to package directions and pour over coconut and pecans.

Mix together 1 box of powdered sugar, 1 stick of softened butter, and 1 package of softened cream cheese. Plop over cake by spoonfuls.

Bake at 350 for about 50-55 minutes.

You may think this looks like a little crock pot full of yellow glop, but you'd be SO wrong. The girl who brought this calls it buffalo dip and it is aweSOME!

She said it has cream cheese, blue cheese dressing, shredded chicken, hot sauce and some celery. I could eat it every day from now on and be happy.

We had a nice array of frijoles.... (I was promised there was no tripe in these)

Yeah, that's bacon swimmin' around in there.

A big tub o' taco personal favorite....

And this mysterious pasta salad that we never figured out who brought. Maybe it had been sitting there all week and we never noticed. Oh well.

FYI....I'll be out of town all week due to a death in the family (probably the reason for my wakefulness at this time of night when I'm usually drooling on my pillow). I might be able to check in from there but if not, see ya when I get back!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Contest Alert

I just got word that the makers of Boboli pizza crusts are having a contest! They want you to come up with an original pizza inspired by your favorite football city.
It only runs through the end of the month so I wanted to let you know so you can be thinking of what your creation will be.
The winner will receive a $5,000 TV room makeover, and semi-finalists will win tailgating tools. I've never been tailgating so maybe it's time!
(I'll take one of these, please)
You can click on the picture of the pizza crust above to take you to their site for complete rules and submission details.
They were nice enough to rush over my very own pizza crust so I'm planning what I'm going to make, which might involve getting to know a little more about the NFL.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

M&M Kisses Pretzels

I saw these in a picture somewhere made with pretzels that were just little round circles and they were so cute. Apparently little round circle pretzels can't survive in the desert because I couldn't find ANY!
Anyway, I made these in preparation for the potluck at work tomorrow. They're pretty easy. Just set the kiss on top of the pretzel and put it in a really low oven (like 200) and leave it there just about 5 minutes until the kiss is just a little smushy. Then take them out and stick the M&M in the middle.
I'll also be making an earthquake cake and will post that as soon as I get a chance.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Merry SITSmas

Merry Christmas to everyone from SITS and thanks for all your support over the last couple of months. I hope Christmas brings you every happiness and your new year is blessed!

Thank you to Tiffany and Heather for keeping this thing going and all the work you put into it. I've met a lot of nice bloggers through SITS and gotten more than a few laughs.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Lorrie at The View From My Door. She's got more charm in her little finger than I'll ever have in my whole body!

The Nice One at Even the Nice Ones (sorry, didn't know her first name). Excellent taste in boyfriends. It's nice her husband doesn't mind.

Tiffany at Eat at Home. Yummy looking recipes!

Lorie at Be Different Act Normal. Food AND craftiness. Sometimes, food that is crafty!

There's a hundred more I could mention, but I should stop there.

I'm super excited about the GRAND PRIZE....$200 Target gift card, and to be the featured Friday favorite. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna win, I can feel it.

Here are my 2 favorite Christmas presents!

I thought it would be fun to put up the picture that made me want to start blogging in the first place. I was cracking some eggs into a bowl and one of them formed a perfect heart shape, and I thought "I gotta take a picture of that!"

Then I was addicted to taking pictures of food, and the rest is history.

SO....Happy SITSmas everyone!

P.S. Unfortunately I won't get to participate in the blogathon today very much cause I'll be at work, but I'll check out as many as possible when I get home.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Merry SITSmas Giveaway

Tomorrow is the long awaited SITSmas blogathon with prizes being given away all day long just for commenting.
The girls at SITS just announced the grand prize is a $200 Target Gift card and to be featured as the Friday Favorite.
Just think of all the stuff I could buy in the bargain bin for $200! Unfortunately I don't get to participate much as I will be at my place of employment where they have decided to block all blogs and personal sites (the nerve!).
Anyway, go on over to SITS and check it out. Maybe you could be a winner!