Friday, November 26, 2010

a stitch in time saves nine

I know this isn't a recipe or anything but this IS a homemaking blog, and I think sewing is part of that. I hit up black friday at Joann's today where flannel was $1.29/yard instead of the normal $5.99.  Here are the match ups I bought to make receiving blankets for my peeps who are having babies soon.

And the piece de resistance...

I bought the rest of the bolt here.  almost 7 yards. Is that crazy? This fabric makes me crazy, I love it so much.

Now to get crackin'


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day Menu

This year we did the "Big Meal" all by our lonesome.  Here was my menu:

Brined Roasted Turkey - Courtesy of Alton Brown
Sweet Potato casserole - courtesy of Anne Burrell
Classic Green bean casserole - recipe below
Mrs. Baird Rolls (hey, sometimes you need a shortcut)
Cornbread Dressing - Sorry, no recipe  here unless you are related. This is family stuff here. (you know, the BEST stuff)
Pumpkin Mousse Parfait - Heck yeah!
Homemade cranberry sauce - SO easy. You'll never go back to those cans again!

Here are your recipes:

Green Bean casserole: 
2 cans green beans. Mix in 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 C. milk, and 1 tsp. Tony's seasoning. Pour into 2 quart casserole dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Then top it with 1/2 C cheddar cheese and 1 1/2 cups french's fried onions. Back in the oven for 10 minutes and then EAT! I grew up on this although my husband is 31 and has never had it. Weird.

Homemade cranberry sauce:
1 12 oz. bag on fresh cranberries
1 cup orange juice
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick

boil for 15-ish minutes until it looks kind of like jelly. It will thicken as it cools. I made this the day before and stuck it in the fridge. This is great just on bread.

Pumpkin mousse parfait

1/4 cup dark rum (or water)
1 packet (2 tsp.) unflavored gelatin powder
1 (15-ounce can) pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 extra-large egg yolks
2 tsp. grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean)
Sweetened whipped cream
8 to 10 chopped ginger cookies
Crystallized ginger, for decoration, optional
Place the rum in a heat-proof bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Set aside for 10 minutes for the gelatin to soften.
In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg yolks, 1 tsp. of orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set the bowl of gelatin over a pan of simmering water and cook until the gelatin is clear. Immediately whisk the hot gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture.
To assemble, spoon some of the pumpkin mixture into parfait glasses, add a layer of whipped cream, then some chopped cookies. Repeat, ending with a third layer of pumpkin. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. To serve, top with whipped cream and extra ginger cookies and orange zest, or slivered crystallized ginger.

And can I just say, YUM! This would also be good just spread on pumpkin bread! (which I will do tomorrow)

What did you have for Thanksgiving??


Friday, July 2, 2010

Pie crust is scary??? Not anymore!!

  I'll admit, pie crust is not my favorite thing ever. I'd rather have a crumbly topping on a pie or a crisp. BUT, when I read about the best chicken pit pie ever with this crust, I had to try it (since I'm a sucker for chicken pot pie).

Kill. me. now.

I may now die a happy woman.


I've since made 2 chicken pot pies and 2 fruit pies using the following recipe and I'm never using another one again. Ever.

adapted from : Bon Appetit

Best Pie Crust ever (good for top and bottom of one pie)

2 1/2 C. flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 C. butter/margarine, cut into small chunks and frozen. (that would be 2 sticks)(do not use shortening, that batch did not work for me)
5 tbsp (or more) of ice water.

mix first 3 ingredients and then add all the frozen butter. Mix with pastry blender (your hands are too warm) it will be very crumbly.
then add 5 tbsp of ice water and mix with your hand. it should be a little sticky and not quite together yet.

separate into 2 halves and form a disc shape. wrap into saran wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

roll out with lots of flour and make your pie.

Oh. so. delicious.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Banana Bread

  I know there are a billion banana bread recipes out there, but of all the ones I've tried and eaten from others, this is the best one I've had.

It might have something to do with the flour to sugar ratio. Possibly the amount of bananas. I don't really know. What I DO know is that with this recipe in your arsenal, you will be able to woo and influence people of your choice.

Do I jest?


taken from: Remedies for the "I Don't Cook" Syndrome

1 C sugar
1/2 C butter

cream together (yes, like you are making cookies)

2 eggs

beat well.

add 2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt


then add

3 mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla (or more)
1/2 C chopped nuts (optional - but why would you opt not?)

mix until combined and put into one loaf pan or 4 mini's.

bake one hour at 350. The crust will be very dark. That is because of the amount of sugar.

Take this to people you don't know and they will become your friends.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Olive Garden Take-out

Or is it??

The Zuppa Toscana soup from the Olive Garden is one of my favorite things to eat. Ever. It's creamy, spicy, and has the most delicious broth that is fantastic soaked up in some of that garlic bread.

So when I came across a copy cat recipe on I knew I had to try it!

The recipe had some ingredients that I knew were not in the original soup, so i adjusted it for my tastes and memory of the original. And it was just as good (if not better) than the one they serve with the endless salad and breadsticks.

Recipe adapted from

Zuppa Toscana
1 lb. spicy italian bulk sausage
2 1/2 cups kale, washed and shredded
5 potatoes (yukon gold or red), peeled and sliced
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
8 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

brown sausage in a large pot and add onion and garlic when it's finished. When onions are a little soft (5 minutes), add the chicken broth, potatoes, and bacon. Simmer for 45 minutes or so. When the potatoes are cooked, add the cream and kale and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Isn't is amazing that something so easy to make is so stinking delicious?? It blows my mind!!
soak chunks of break and serve with salad.

You may tip the cook.

Friday, April 2, 2010


I pulled some stew meat out of the freezer to thaw knowing full well that my husband does not like stew. The entire 6+ years we've been married I've made it one time. So I chose to make it myself instead of using one of those packet mixes(like I did last time). Here's what I did:

I dredged my one pound of stew meat in a flour mixture with 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp pepper. Shake off the extra flour and throw it into a heavy bottomed pot with veggie oil. once it's browned, add 4 cups of beef stock, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 bay leaf and simmer for one hour.

then add:
4-5 chopped potatoes (red or yukon gold, NOT russet)
4 sliced carrots
1 diced onion
2 stacks celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, diced.
1 tbsp worcestershire
1 tbsp A1
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp rosemary leaves

simmer for one hour.

taste for salt, adjust to taste.

serve with crusty rolls and take a nap.

I loved this. Super simple but the broth was delish.

you can add cornstarch/water mixture if you want it thicker.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fusili with Sausage and Artichokes

adapted from Giada

I made this for dinner last night. It's an old standby that I haven't used in about a year or so and Dave claimed this was in his top 5 favorites.

So here you go...

16 oz. fusili
3/4 C sun dried tomatoes, diced
1 can artichokes (not marinated ones, just in water)
1 tbsp sun dried tomato oil
1 lb. hot italian sausage (I used hot breakfast sausage - jimmy dean)
2 C. chicken stock
2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 C. fresh parsley - chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 C parmesan
1/2 C. mozzarella
some pasta cooking water if needed

combine oil, sausage, and garlic to pan and brown the sausage while breaking up. when cooked, drain any fat you want gone (mine didn't have a lot), and add the sun dried tomatoes, chicken stock, dried basil, and artichokes. Simmer covered for 10 minutes.

meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water until your desired doneness.

when pasta is cooked, add to sausage mixture and also add cheeses and parsley. mix around. if it seems a little dry, add some pasta water.

salt and pepper to taste (I added only about 1/4 tsp. salt)

serve with salad and rolls and you have yourself a great olive garden dinner (but better)(well, their bread is pretty good)

There you go, one of Dave's top 5.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shrimp Lemon Linguini

If I swore, then I would have started swearing when I tasted this pure lemony, garlicky goodness wrapped up in pasta.

Who knew that so few ingredients could be so KABLAM in your mouth??

My new favorite.

If you don't dig on shrimp, top with grilled chicken.

Adapted from


8 oz. linguini (I used fresh pasta)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
1 pound shrimp (I used precooked, frozen)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 C. chicken stock
2 lemons, zested and juiced (don't use that bottled stuff)
6 cloves garlic, diced.
1/2 heaping tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 C. grated parmesan.

boil water and salt heavily. Add pasta and cook until done. (since mine was fresh, it took about 2 minutes)
In a large, high sided skillet like this one:

heat olive oil and saute garlic for about 1 minute. Add stock, zest, lemon juice, basil and pepper. simmer until reduced by 1/2. swirl in butter until melted. add cooked noodles and thawed shrimp, stir to combine and warm shrimp. top with parsley and parmesan. Try to hoard it from your kids by giving them mac and cheese. I served it with rolls and steamed asparagus.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Citrus Semifriddo

adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

If you are looking for the perfect make ahead dessert that will be sweet and light after a filling dinner - this is it!!! Do not walk - RUN to the store to pick up what you need and serve it tomorrow!! (since it needs to chill overnight) Seriously...


1/2 C sugar
1/4 C sugar
8 egg yolks
pinch of salt
5 TBSP lemon juice
3 TBSP lime juice
2 zested lemons
1 C heavy whipping cream

What to do:
spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and layer with saran wrap with edges laying over.

In a large double boiler, whisk egg yolks, 1/2 C sugar, lemon and lime juices and salt until thick and creamy - about 160 degrees. set bowl in ice to cool completely. stir in zest.

in a separate bowl, whisk cream until thick and add 1/4 C sugar. mix until stiff peaks form.

Fold whipped cream into lemony custard. spoon mixture into saran wrapped loaf pan. Fold the excess wrap over the top and stick into the freezer. Freeze for at least 8 hours.

to serve:
unwrap and invert on serving platter. slice and top with crumbled almond cookies.

try to stop eating.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Super Yummy Rolls

There are approximately 6,572 delicious roll recipes out there. I have tried about 300 of those trying to fins one that was yummy enough to make all the time, you know...the 'go to' roll recipe. I believe I have found it! And I am sharing it with you.

Cuz I'm cool like that.

Adapted from

Mix in an electric mixer. (I have a bosch - perfect for dough making)

Throw into mixer (which is turned off at this point) the following:
-5 C flour (I usually use white, but you could do half and half or straight whole wheat, but if you do that then throw in some extra gluten - baking isle)
-1/2 C sugar
-1 tsp. salt
-5 tsp. instant yeast (I use dry active yeast - it does not need to be proofed)

Give it a little shoosh to mix the dry ingredients. then warm up the following in a microwave proof bowl:
-3/4 C. milk
-3/4 C. water
-1/2. C butter or marg. (I've used both to the same results, I'm not a butter snob)

then crack 2 eggs in a bowl and temper them with the warm liquid. (Tempering eggs: The technique used to blend uncooked eggs into hot liquid or sauce. Eggs are beaten and a little of the hot mixture is stirred into them to warm (temper) them. Tempering slowly raises the temperature of an egg, without curdling it and without heating it too fast) then pour the eggs into the warm mixture.


If you are not used to making rolls, bread, etc, please read this!! If you are pro, them skip and proceed.

*Your liquid must be warm to wake up the yeast and get it working to rise your bread/rolls. If it is too hot, then it will kill the yeast and no rise. To check to see if it;s the right temperature, then stick your finger in the liquid. It should feel warm to hot and you should be able to leave your finger in the liquid. if it is too hot for your finger, it is too hot for the yeast.*

add liquid/eggs to the flour mixture in the mixer. crank it and let it knead. You may or may not need to add more flour depending on the humidity of the day. Tonight I needed to add about 1/3 C. more flour. It has enough when it scrapes the sides clean. Let it knead for about 8-10 minutes.

Oil a big bowl and throw the dough into it, turn to coat. It should feel more sticky then dry. Use some oil on your hands if it has stuck to the bowl at all. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and stick in the oven (not on) with the oven light on. Let it raise until double.

hand knead a little and form into 24 rolls (or 12 HUGE ones). I like to put them in my muffin tins. Let them raise again for 20 minutes or so.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or so.

Eat until you need to go workout.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spicy Peach Glazed Pork Chops

adapted from

Okay, so I have made this twice in the last 2 months and it is my new favorite!!!! If you don't want pork chops, then I would imagine this would work just as well on chicken, and a couple days ago I just sliced up some pork loin  to make it. 

sprinkle on chops, ground ginger, salt & pepper, and a pinch of cinnamon. Go a little heavy on everything except the cinnamon. Sear in a pan with some oil on VERY high heat. take out and put on a plate. add 1/2 cup chicken broth to pan and deglaze. (dissolve cooking juices or solid food in (a pan) by adding liquid and stirring) 

Once little bits are scraped up from bottom of the pan, add 1 C. peach preserves, 1 1/2 TBSP worcestershire, and  1/2-1 tsp. chile paste. heat until it's all melty and delicious. add the chops back to the pan and finish cooking through.

*note* pork is easy to overcook which results in a dry, tough piece of meat. Ideally pork should still be a little pink in the center when it is done, if it is white all the way through, it has been overcooked. It should NOT feel like a cooked chicken breast, it's softer than that.

Serve with glaze on top (I like serving it with rice with extra glaze on top of the rice) add a salad and some rolls, and BOOM. you are done.

Go make this.

You will not regret it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Homemade 3 Cheese Ravioli

I wish I had taken a picture of this one, but it's gone already.

Pasta Dough
recipe adapted from The French Laundry Cookbook
1 1/4 C. all purpose flour (maybe a little more if sticky)
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 TBSP milk.

make a well with the flour and throw the rest of the ingredients into the center, swish it around until all the flour is incorporated. It should not be sticky and should be a tiny bit flaky. Knead for 10 minutes. You can NOT over knead pasta dough, so don't be scared. getting sticky? throw some more flour on the board. When it's ready, you should be able to punch your finger in the dough and the dough will try to bounce back. Wrap in saran wrap and rest for 30 m. to 1 hour. (you can refrigerate overnight, but it will need to be at room temperature to roll)

run through your pasta machine. Don't have one? Get one HERE.

place 1 tsp. size fillings (recipe below) and put another sheet on top. boil for 5 minutes (or simmer) until pasta is cooked. Top with your favorite marinara.

should make about 35 ravioli's, depending on the size.

3 Cheese filling
recipe courtesy of me

1 C. mozzerella
1/2 C. shredded fresh parmesean
1/3 C. or more of mascarpone cheese
garlic powder
basil (fresh or dried)
mix together until it all sticks together

taste it to see if it's yummy. add seasonings to taste.

Stuffed Tomatoes

I was struggling with what to make for a side dish to go with some steaks and remembered the bag of tomatoes I had that would go bad if I didn't do something, so I made roasted stuffed tomatoes!

scoop out insides and get rid of all the seedy parts but keep the rest of the guts. Chop up guts and put them in a bowl. add to bowl 4 strips of cooked bacon, cut up. (or bacon bits, whatever) Add about 1 C. bread crumbs. ( I made my own from homemade bread. just shopped them in the food processor) Add about 1/2 C. parmesean cheese. Seriously, I just threw stuff in a bowl. I also added some italian seasoning. mix together and add enough olive oil to make it a little sticky. stuff the tomatoes. I did about 6 large ones. top with a small drizzle of olive oil and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until the tops are goldeney.

Dave asked for another tomato for dessert. From a guy that doesn't like tomatoes. I'm just saying.

recipe courtesy of: me

Shrimp Etouffee

If you are not a seafood person, then please make this with leftover cooked chicken instead (please use dark meat, it tastes better). The complexity of the broth is fabulous. I This one is an absolute keeper.

Shrimp Etouffee
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter(needed a little more fat, so added 2 TBSP of oil, much smoother. it just needs to be smooth and not crumbly)

• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

• 4 cups chopped onions

• 2 cups chopped green bell peppers

• 2 cups chopped celery 
(didnt' have any, didn't use)

• 2 tablespoons minced garlic

• 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes 
(I used 3 fresh tomatoes, seeded)

• 2 bay leaves 
(I used three)

• 2 teaspoons salt 
(I cut this competely - trust me!! you can add it at the end if you need it!)

• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
(please use this. you can lower a little, but it is a cajun dish here. my 5 year old loved it)

• 2 tablespoons Essence, 
 (I used 1 TBSP of Tony's cajun seasoning - it was enough. you can always add more later)

• 1 quart shrimp stock 
(after looking at 4 different grocery stores and not finding it, I used chicken stock)

• 3 pounds medium shrimp (21 to 25 count per pound), peeled and deveined
 (I only had 2 lbs.)

• 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves 

• Steamed white rice, for serving

• 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion tops, for garnish 


Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the flour and stir continuously to make a roux. Stir the roux over medium heat until the color of peanut butter, 5 to 7 minutes
.(I had a jar of peanut butter next to me, but I still think it could have gone darker and tasted more like etouffee. and it took me about 17 minutes) Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic to the roux, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pot and season with the bay leaves, salt, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon of the Essence. Cook the tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes and then whisk in the shrimp stock.

Bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook the etouffee, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Season the shrimp with the remaining tablespoon of Essence
(I did not do this, I really don't think it needs it) and add them to the pot, stirring to evenly distribute. Cook the shrimp for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Add the chopped parsley to the pot and stir to combine.

Serve immediately over steamed white rice and garnish with sliced green onion tops

Recipe adapted from Emeril.

White Bean and Garlic Soup

This is awesome. Seriously. My husband could not stop eating and battled me for the leftovers.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 sage leaf
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut in 1/2
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 slices ciabatta bread
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


Place a medium, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and beans and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the garlic and simmer until the garlic is softened, about 10 minutes. Pour the soup into a large bowl. Use hand blender to soupify. (or use a blender if you don't have one. CAREFUL! it's hot) add the cream and the pepper.
eat and hoard the leftovers from your husband.
my kids were in love with dropping chunk of bread in the soup and eating it when it had soaked up the yumminess.
Recipe courtesy of: Giada