Saturday, January 31, 2009

Kicking Buffalo Chicken Dip

This is one of the recipes that I received in the Recipe Scavenger Hunt.

Kicking Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
10 oz of chunky bleu cheese dressing
1 1/2 cups shredded Monteray Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
10 oz hot sauce

1. Melt cream cheese and bleu cheese dressing in a pot over low heat.
2. Place that in a 9x9 glass casserole dish.
3. Add shredded Monteray Jack cheese, shredded Cheddar, shredded chicken, and hot sauce. Stir well.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes until it's hot and bubbly.
5. Serve with tortilla chips, cucumber slices, and celery.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cooking for the KICK OFF, Part 2

Today, I received recipes from my second, and final, partner in the Cooking for the KICK OFF recipe swap. These are the recipes that Marci sent me:

Ranch Tortilla Roll Ups

1 (8 oz.) sour cream
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 (2 or 3 oz.) can chopped black olives
1 (2 or 3 oz.) can chopped green chilies--I usually use green onions I chop up 2 or 3
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 pkg. Original Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 (8 oz.) pkg. tortilla shells
Salsa for dipping

Mix cream cheese, sour cream and Hidden Valley dressing until smooth. Add black olives, green chilies and Cheddar cheese. Spread a thin layer onto tortilla shells and roll up. Refrigerate and cut into slices. Dip into salsa.


2 lg. cucumbers, peeled, seeded and grated fine
1 sm. onion, grated fine
1 c. sour cream
1 block cream cheese (8 oz.)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients well. Serve with vegetables of choice or for dipping with crackers. I personaly like it with tortilla chips


2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, sliced in 1/2 inch rings
2 green bell peppers, seeded & sliced into 1/2 inch strips
1 pepper, seeded, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
Optional: 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped fine (this will add fire - omit if milder fajitas are preferred)
3 to 4 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips 1/2 x 2 inch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 c. fresh, mild salsa
1 pkg. fresh, lg. flour tortillas


Freshly grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
Chopped fresh tomatoes
Fresh salsa
Sour cream

Saute onions and peppers in oil over medium heat until onions are translucent. Increase heat to high and add chicken and saute quickly until chicken is just cooked through, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, cumin and salsa and turn heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Heat tortillas by either 1) putting 3 (2 inch) slits in top of plastic tortilla bag and heat on high in microwave for 3 minutes or 2) wrap tortillas in foil and heat in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Serve fajitas by placing 1/4 cup of chicken mixture in center of tortilla that is warm, add desired condiments and fold edges over center and roll up tortilla burrito-style.

Serves 12

Oreo Chunk Brownies

1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 lb semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 Tbs instant espresso powder
7 large eggs
2 Tbs pure vanilla extract
2¼ cups granulated sugar
1¼ cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 cups broken Oreos (about 40 cookies- 1 package)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 12x18x1-inch pan. Line with foil or parchment that hangs over the sides for ease in getting them out (butter the foil/parchment).
2. In a heatproof, medium-bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, heat butter, and chocolates until melted and smooth; cool slightly.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, espresso powder, vanilla and sugar. Stir the egg mixture into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Cool to room temperature.
4. In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to batter. In a small bowl, stir Oreos and remaining ¼ cup flour. Stir cookies into chocolate mixture. Then pour into prepared baking pan and smooth top with a rubber spatula.
5. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean with a few crumbs attached; do not overbake! Let cool completely, then cover tightly and chill overnight. Chilled brownies are easier to cut. Dump the chilled brownie pan onto a large cutting board, peel off the foil and cut into squares.

Cheddar-Chive Beer Bread

3 cups self-rising flour
½ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs freshly chopped chives
¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
One 12oz. bottle of good beer
¼ cup butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Stir together first 5 ingredients and pour into a lightly greased 9x5" loaf pan.
3. Bake for 45 minutes. Pour melted butter over the top and bake an additional 10 minutes.

This bread is good with a garlic or bacon type dip

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lots of Mail Day

When I arrived home from work today, I had a pleasant surprise. Mail from three swaps that I'm in, and all different! I received recipe cards for the Recipe Card Swap, a Valentine for the Little "Classroom" Valentine Swap, and a Petite Inspiration Box from Lindsay D. The box was filled with lots of fun stuff - lace, fabric, buttons, and ephemera. It was fun to see everything she included, and I can't wait to see what I get from my other two partners in that swap.
Petite Inspiration Box from Lindsay

Goodies found inside Lindsay's box

Cooking for the KICK OFF - Bonus

Today, I received recipes from someone I had sent recipes to in the Cooking for the KICK OFF! recipe swap. It was quite surprising, since she wasn't supposed to send me anything! These are the yummy recipes Jameka sent:

Fruit Salsa w/ Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

1 Fuji apple - peeled, cored and diced
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup oil for frying
6 (10 inch) flour tortillas
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1. In a medium bowl, mix together Fuji apple, strawberries, kiwis, bananas, lime juice, white sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cover and chill in the refrigerator approximately 20 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a medium heavy saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
3. Slice flour tortillas into triangles. Carefully place tortilla triangles into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
4. Place white sugar and cinnamon in a large ziploc plastic bag. Drop fried tortilla triangles into the bag and shake to coat.
5. Serve the cinnamon chips warm with the chilled fruit salsa.

(With this recipe, I sometimes make just the tortilla chips. It's a quick sweet snack that's low in fat and calories. Also, if you plan to prepare well ahead of time--more than a day--I suggest leaving out the bananas. The taste is not affected, but they tend to brown and not make the display as nice.)

Pigs in a Blanket

8 frankfurters
8 slices American processed cheese (optional)
1 package croissant dinner rolls dough (preformed)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Unroll croissants and separate into triangles along perforations.
3. Place one cheese slice along the short straight side of each triangle.
4. Place one hot dog/frankfurter on that same edge and begin rolling it up, wrapping the cheese and dough around it.
5. Put on cookie sheet with the overlap faced down, so you don't have to use tooth picks.
6. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.

(If you want to make this even more of an appetizer, you can use cocktail sausages and cut the croissant dough into smaller triangles or rectangles. You could also forgo the cheese and cook the cocktail sausages in BBQ sauce and then place them into the dough and bake. There are lots of god variations and none of them take a lot of time.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Pleasant Night Crafting

Tonight, I had off, and I spent that time finishing my Petite Inspiration Boxes and working on my "Little Token of Love" for Cindy.
For the Petite Inspiration Boxes, all I had to do was add trim to the edges. Wanda had sent me several varieties of gold trim, I found three that looked good, and went with them. I am quite pleased with how they turned out. I had filled the boxes this past weekend, so, as soon as I find shipping boxes, they're on their way.

Petite Inspiration Boxes - Final

Next, I worked on my "Little Token of Love" for Cindy. I'd found some fabric in colors she'd said she liked, and fashioned it into a heart, which I rimmed with lace and filled with potpourri. I went for, and hope I achieved, a country/vintage feel. Overall, I think my idea turned out well, but I'm afraid that since Cindy actually sells her work, the quality of mine will be below her standards. Or maybe I'm just being a little black raincloud...

My "Little Token of Love" for Cindy

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Second Hedgehog ATC

Yesterday, I received my second of three hedgehog ATC's. This one was from Lisa L. in Australia. It needs a few repairs, due to the harrowing voyage over the Pacific Ocean, but it is too cute!

Hedgehog ATC from Lisa L

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cooking for the KICK OFF - Part 1

Today, I received the first of two e-mails for the Cooking for the KICK OFF! recipe swap from Rachel.

7 Layer Fiesta Dip

2 (8-ounce) packages low-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix (your favorite brand)
2 cups prepared guacamole (make your own or use ready-made)
2 cups tomato-based salsa
2 cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped green onions
2 (2-ounce) cans sliced black olives

1. In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and seasoning mix. Spread mixture evenly onto the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass dish.
2. Top the seasoned cream cheese with the guacamole, salsa, lettuce, cheese, onions and olives in layers.
3. Serve immediately accompanied with tortilla or corn chips.
4. Refrigerate any remaining dip

Cheese and Bacon Triangles

6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
12 slices American cheese
1/2 cup cooked bacon bits
Optional topping: salsa

1. Cut tortillas in half to form 12 half circles. Place one slice of cheese over each tortilla half, tearing to leave a 1/4-inch border around edges. Top cheese with bacon bits. Brush a small amount of water around the edges of the tortilla. Fold in half forming a triangle. Press the watered edges of tortilla together to seal. Cook immediately using one of the following methods or cover and refrigerate up to three days. If desired, serve with salsa.
2. Microwave directions: Place one triangle on a microwave-safe plate. Cook on high power in a microwave oven 16 to 20 seconds or until hot and cheese is melted. Let stand one minute before serving.
3. Oven directions: Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted. Let stand one minute before serving.
4. Skillet directions: Cook triangles in a small amount of butter in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Let stand one minute before serving. Makes 6 servingsand one more:another favorite

Candy Shop Pizza

1 (18-ounce) package NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
1 cup NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter 1 cup coarsely chopped assorted candy*

1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease baking sheet or pizza pan.
2. Place whole bar of dough scored side down onto prepared baking sheet or pizza pan.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately sprinkle morsels over hot crust; drop peanut butter by spoonfuls onto morsels. Let stand for 5 minutes or until morsels are shiny. Gently spread chocolate and peanut butter evenly over cookie crust.
4. Sprinkle candy in single layer over pizza. Cut into wedges; serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 12 servings.
Variation: Substitute 1 (8-ounce) package NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Bar Dough. Press cookie dough onto greased large baking sheet or pizza pan to measure an 8-inch circle. Bake at 325°F (160°C) for 16 to 18 minutes or until lightly golden.

*Nestlé® Crunch®, Butterfinger®, Baby Ruth®, Goobers®, Raisinets®, Buncha Crunch®

Sunday, January 25, 2009

TWG Prom & an ATC

Today, on my way to work, I checked the mailbox and saw that yesterday's mail held a pleasant surprise - an ATC from Miles in the UK for the Red & White for February ATC Swap. Very cute!

Red & White for February ATC by Miles

Later, we closed the restaurant early in order to get ready for our holiday party. The party turned out well. We crowned a Prom Queen and King, and they were presented with sashes that I have spent time these past couple of weeks making.

Prom Queen (Brandon) and King (Mike)

It seemed like everyone had a really good time, with plenty of food, alcoholic beverages, and dancing, courtesy of a good DJ.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip

This is one of the recipes that I received in the Recipe Scavenger Hunt.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups pecans, finely chopped (optional)
honey chocolate graham cracker sticks

1. Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
2. Mix in sugars and vanilla. Stir in chocolate.
3. Cover and chill 2 hours.
4. Shape into a ball. Wrap with saran wrap and chill at least 2 hours.
5. Roll in chopped nuts if desired.
6. Serve with graham cracker sticks.

Friday, January 23, 2009

More Recipes Received

Today, I received mail for two swaps. Tulsi E from Utah sent me recipes for Chicken & Rice Chowder and Potato-Cheese Soup for the "Souper" Bowl Sunday recipe swap, and Karen W from Germany sent me a recipe for Kalter Hund (or Cold Dog) for the Comfort Food Recipe Swap. Karen also sent me a cute little ATC that features her four cats - two of them resemble my cats!

Chicken & Rice Chowder

4 1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c water
3 cooked, cubed ckn
2 tsp thyme
1/2 c brown rice
1 Tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 lg chopped onion
2 chopped carrots
1 stalk chopped celery
3 Tbs flour
1 1/2 c milk

In a large saucepan, bring chicken broth and water to a boil and add chicken. Add thyme and season with salt and pepper; add rice. Reduce heat. In a skillet heat olive oil. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Add flour and mix. Add to broth. Stir in milk. Stir until thickened.

Potato-Cheese Soup

8 c peeled and chopped potatoes
4 c water
3/4 c chopped onion
1 Tbs chk boullion granules
1/4 tsp pepper
10 oz pkg broccoli
2 c shredded cheese
12 oz can Evapo milk
can add ckn, or ham cubes

In a 5-6 qt crock pot, combine potatoes, water, onion, granules, and pepper. Cover; cook on low setting for several hours or high for fewer hours. Stir in cheese, broccoli, and milk into soup. Cover; cook on low for 1 more hour. Mash slightly. Variation: chicken, ham cubes.

Kalter Hund (Cold Dog)

150 g plain chocolate (5.29 oz)
450 g full milk chocolate (5.87 oz)
150 g coconut fat (5.29 oz)
200 mL whipping creme (7/8 cup)
2 pkg Dr. Oetker Vanilla Sugar (about 0.71 oz)
250 g butter biscuits (8.82 oz)

1. Line a rectangular tin or bread tin with a freezer bag cut open for the purpose.
2. To make the chocolate mixture, coarsely chop the milk and plain chocolate. Finally chop the coconut fat, put in a pan with the chocolate and cream and melt, stirring well. Finally, stir in the vanilla sugar.
3. Line the prepared tin with a layer of butter biscuits, breaking the biscuits into pieces if necessary. Spread some of the chocolate mixture on top, just enough to cover the biscuits. Fill the tin with alternate layers of chocolate mixture and biscuits (7-8 layers).
4. Refrigerate the tin for about 5 hours or, even better, overnight so that the chocolate mixture sets properly.
5. Remove from the tin by loosening with a knife and pulling gently at the freezer bag. Place it very gently on a plate and carefully pull off the freezer bag. It is best served chilled and cut in slices.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inspiration Block

I'm having an inspiration block (like a creative block). Last night, I worked on my boxes for the Petite Inspiration Block Swap. If you'd like to see a sneak peek of what I did, click here. I do need some opinions, so if you'll check out what I did, then comment on this post (before Saturday, which is when I'll have my next free block of time) about what I could do to make them better, I'd appreciate it. I'm having the most trouble thinking about what to do with the open edges - they're kind of rough, and I was thinking of lace or trim, but I can't seem to think what color would be best. The third box will have a white item on it - like the blue and brown on the boxes in the photo (can you see I'm trying to keep my boxes a surprise from Lindsay, Marlene, and Shannon?). I'd appreciate any ideas, thanks in advance!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt Swap

Well, I've joined an Easter Egg Hunt Swap. It just sounded like too cute of an idea to pass up. You create two adorable Easter eggs, send them to Viv, and she will divvy them up, send them out, and on a specified date, everyone in the swap posts pictures of the eggs they made and received on their blogs, and you go hunting to see whose you got, and who got yours. I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Souper" Bowl Sunday, Part 1

Today I received recipes from my first partner in the "Souper" Bowl Sunday recipe swap. Rather than sending the required two, Cynthia sent me four! So, without further ado, here they are:

Taco Soup

1 lb ground beef
1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
2 (1 1/4 ounce) pkgs of taco seasoning
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed well
1 (15 ounce) can corn
1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 large onion, diced
1 cup water
shredded taco cheese, as topping
tortilla chips, for dipping

Brown beef and onions in frying pan.
Add all ingredients into a crock pot & simmer on high for 4 hrs or simmer on stove top for 1 hr.
When ready to serve top with cheese and dip with tortilla chips.

Beef and Barley Soup

2 pounds lean ground beef
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups (appox 4) diced carrots
2 cups (approx 2 large) diced onions
2 cups (approx 6) diced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cooked barley
8 cups beef broth
2 (14 to 16 oz) cans Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Balsamic vinegar (optional)

In a large pot, cook ground beef on medium-high heat until browned, breaking up with a fork as it cooks. Remove beef from pan and set aside.
Add oil to pan; add carrots, onion, celery and garlic. Cook until vegetables are tender (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Return beef and all remaining ingredients (except parsley and vinegar) to pot. Bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer 20 minutes.
Stir in parsley and taste. Adjust seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed, or a splash of balsamic vinegar if soup needs a little more zip.

Santa Fe Chowder

2 Tbsp minced fresh green chili peppers
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced carrot (approx 1)
2 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes
2 cups diced potatoes
3 cups water
1 cup diced red bell pepper or green bell pepper
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup corn
1 cup diced zucchini or yellow squash
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup milk

In a large pot, add the chiles, onion, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt, and oil. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are clear. Add in the carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and water. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add in the bell peppers, tomatoes, corn, and zucchini, stir to combine. Cover and cook on medium-high for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Transfer 3 cups of the vegetables from the soup into the contatiner of a blender. Add the cream cheese, cheddar, and milk. Process until smooth. Add puree back to the soup; stir to combine and reheat if necessary.

Squash Chowder

1. Use any hard skinned squash for this chowder. Butternut works great.
2. Add milk after boiling.

3 cups squash, diced finely
2 strips bacon
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
4 cups vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup cabbage, finely shredded
1/4 cup cream of coconut
1 cup milk
1 large tomato, finely diced
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
chopped fresh parsley to garnish

Cook the squash and the bacon in the oil in a heavy pan for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the squash is beginning to soften. Add the herbs and the stock, season lightly, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the cabbage and cream of coconut and continue cooking for a further 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the thyme and bay leaves, then add the milk and the chopped tomato. Return the chowder to a boil and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste, then add vinegar and parsley just before serving.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Swaps in the Mail

Today, I placed in the mailbox at the post office my envelopes for the "Souper" Bowl Sunday recipe swap, the Recipe Card Swap, and the Red & White for February ATC Swap. For the "Souper" Bowl Sunday recipe swap, I sent my recipe for Clam Chowder to both partners, and then our family recipe for chili to one, and a recipe for Baked Potato Soup to the other. The Recipe Card Swap was just recipe cards, and for the ATC swap, I used the ATCs that I had been working on that I mentioned in this post. I feel like I'm keeping pretty organized with all of these swaps, and I hope to continue to be so.

New England Clam Chowder

2 1/2 cups water
three 6.5-ounce cans minced clams (plus liquid)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
dash ground thyme
2 white or red potatoes, peeled and diced (not russet or yellow potatoes)
1 cup heavy cream

1. Combine water and liquid drained from all 3 cans of clams in a large saucepan. Stir in flour, parsley, salt, bay leaf and thyme. Turn to medium heat.
2. When water begins to bubble, add the potatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir often to keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
3. Add the clams to the saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.
4. Add the cream and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Watch the pan carefully to be sure the chowder doesn't bubble over. Turn down the heat if the soup begins to erupt.

Makes 5 servings.

Chili Con Carne

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion
1 can (#2 1/2) red kidney beans
1 qt whole canned tomatoes
1/4 t chili powder
1/8 t cayenne or red pepper
1 t salt

Brown the meat and onions (diced) together in a skillet. Strain the tomatoes through a sieve, discarding pulp. Combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer one hour. (Use fat from beef and juice from kidney beans.)

Baked Potato Soup

4 large baking potatoes
4 slices bacon
6 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 green onion, sliced
5 oz (1 1/4 cups) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (8-oz) container sour cream

1. Pierce potatoes with fork; place on microwave-safe paper towel or roasting rack in microwave. Microwave on HIGH for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender, turning once halfway through cooking. Cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove from Dutch oven; drain on paper towels. Crumble; set aside.
3. In same Dutch oven, combine milk and flour; blend well. Cook over medium heat about 15 minutes or until bubbly and thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
4. Cut cooked potatoes in half. Scoop out cooked potato from skins; place in medium bowl. Discard skins. Mash potatoes well.
5. Add potatoes, bacon, 2 tablespoons of the onions, 1 cup of the cheese, salt and pepper to milk mixture. Cook and stir until sheese is melted. Add sour cream; cook and stir until soup is thoroughly heated.
6. To serve, spoon soup into individual bowls. Sprinkle each with remaining onions and cheese.

Little Tokens of Love Swap

This past week, I joined yet another swap, the "Little Tokens of Love" Swap. I did not receive the e-mail assigning me a partner, but she did e-mail me, and she is Cindy, and she's from Maryland, too! I'm very excited about what I might do with this!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Glazed Salmon on Greens & Orange Salad

This is one of the recipes that I received in the Recipe Scavenger Hunt.

Glazed Salmon on Greens & Orange Salad

4 (5 oz) salmon fillets
1/3 cup Asian ginger salad dressing
2 tbsp orange juice
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
8 cups salad greens
4 clementines, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup chopped, unsalted, toasted almonds

1. Place salmon skin side down on foil lined baking sheet. Brush salmon with 2 tbsp of the dressing. Let stand 15 minutes.
2. Put remaining dressing and the orange juice in a large bowl; add onions and toss to coat. Heat broiler.
3. Broil salmon 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked just through.
4. Add salad greens and clementines to bowl with onions; toss to mix and coat. Arrange salad on serving plates. Lift salmon off foil, leaving the skin behind. Place salmon on salad and sprinkle with almonds.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Jewish Apple Cake

This is one of the recipes that I received in the Recipe Scavenger Hunt.

Jewish Apple Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-4 apples - peeled, cored and sliced - Granny Smith are great!
ground cinnamon for sprinkling on apples

Preheat oven to 350 degreed F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 10 inch tube pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and 2 cups of the sugar. Stir in the vegetable oil, beated eggs, orange juice and vanilla. Mix well.

1. Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with 1/2 of the sliced apples and sprinkle with cinnamon. Pour the remaining batter over the top and layer the remaining sliced apples and sprinkle with cinnamon.
2. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 70 to 90 minutes.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Another Purple Friday

Tonight, the Pep Band had another gig for Purple Friday. It was at Power Plant Live. It was kind of crazy, since after the bus dropped off the cheerleaders, the band had to circle the block again and park around back. The bus pulled into an alleyway behind Port Discovery, and decided to turn around so that it could back in. The bus attempted a 57-point turn-around, where I was quite sure that we would crash through the wall and fall into the waterway right there next to the Jones Falls Expressway. We were attempting the turn way too close to a light post, and I think we ran over a tree. Eventually, the bus driver decided to back out of the alleyway, onto the one-way street, where some of the band members got out and stopped traffic (using glo-sticks), so that the bus could back in to the alley. Anyway, after all of that, we got off the bus, and rehearsed in below-freezing weather (at least it felt that way). We performed after the first band, and I have serious doubts about how good we sounded. I know for a fact that Corie and I both had spit-cicles coming out of our instruments, and Guppy told us that his spit valve had frozen shut. I know that when I pressed one of my seldom used keys, I could hear the key breaking away from the ice in my flute!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Petite Inspiration Box Swap & Final Chicken Dish

Well, I joined another swap - the Petite Inspiration Box Swap. I received my partner's names, and I'm excited to see what I can come up with for them. They are Lindsay D, Marlene H, and Shannon A.
I also received the final recipe for the Favorite Chicken Dish Recipe Card Swap.

Marinated Chicken Legs

4 chicken legs
-4 Tbs olive oil
-6 Tbs soy sauce
-1 clove of garlic (mince in garlic press)
-1 Tbs paprika

Mix all marinade ingredients. Put chicken legs in a bowl. Pour marinade over chicken. Marinate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Put chicken legs on baking pan. Pour rest of marinade over chicken. Bake in oven for 45 min.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Recipe Scavenger Hunt

Today, I received recipes from the Recipe Scavenger Hunt from Tricia L. Her chosen categories (and recipes) were:
1) a dessert (Jewish Apple Cake)
2) found in a magazine (Salmon with Oranges)
3) never tried before (Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip)
4) can be made in a crockpot (Garlic Lime Chicken)
5) an appetizer (Bacon Wrapped Shrimp & Scallops)
6) contains cheese (Baked Mac & Cheese)
7) for bread or muffins (Zuchinni Bread)
8) contains fruit (Pineapple Souffle)
9) for a dip (Taco Dip)
10) is really bad for you, but tastes sooo good (Buffalo Chicken Dip)
I will post the recipes as I find time, since there are ten of them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Outgoing Mail

Today, I sent out a lot of mail. I sent out my charms for the Romancing the Charm Swap, the recipes for the Recipe Scavenger Hunt, the hedgehog ATCs, and a lotto ticket to Florida for redemption. I feel like I accomplished a lot.
I forgot to take a picture of my completed hedgehog ATCs, but the bottom part is pictured below. In addition to what you see there, I drew and cut out a larger hedgehog, and glued it on top, so that you could lift it and see the two smaller hedgehogs underneath. Tom thought that what I had to start with wasn't enough, and after some suggestions from him, I added the larger hedgehog. I hope my partners like what I've come up with.

Hedgehog ATC Swap

Friday, January 9, 2009

Purple Friday and ATCs

Wow, what a day! Today, I participated in Purple Friday with the Pep Band. It was an early, action packed day. First, we had to report to the stadium at 6 am. I can't believe I got up on time to make it. After boarding the bus - the cheerleaders, Playmakers, and Poe were there, too - we made several stops. We started out at Miss Shirley's Cafe on Pratt Street, in the Constellation Energy building. We then made out way to the Verizon store on Fleet Street, to the Smythe Jewelers in the Annapolis Towne Center, and then to the Greene Turtle on York Road in Towson. The pep band played outside each of these establishments, while the cheerleaders, Playmakers, and Poe were inside, giving stuff away, signing autographs, and doing general media/marketing stuff. We then returned to the stadium, where the second shift of people got together to go out for the evening. I can't wait to see some of the pictures that were taken, and you can read the blog that was being compiled on the bus after every stop here.
When I returned home from Purple Friday, I found ATCs in the mailbox from Karlyn C for the Recycled Christmas Card ATC Swap. Very cute!

Recycled Christmas Card ATCs from Karlyn C

For the rest of the evening, I prepared to send out my package for the Romancing the Charm Swap. I mounted the charms on the cards I'd put together, and packaged them. I plan to send the box out on Monday.

Charms for the Romancing the Charm Swap

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Four Elements ATCs

Today, I received ATCs from Sara E for the Four Elements ATC Swap. They were too cute.

Four Elements ATCs by Sara E

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad - and ATCs

Happy Birthday, Dad! I know that I called on the way home from band practice, but I thought I'd just mention it again. I hope your weekend goes well, and is full of fun finds at the Gun Show!
Prior to that phone call, when I got home from work, I'd found out that I'd received some ATCs in the mail. I received ATCs from Gina C for the Recylced Christmas Card ATC Swap and an ATC from Karen B for the Hedgehog ATC Swap.

Recycled Christmas Card ATCs by Gina C

Hedgehog ATC from Karen B

Monday, January 5, 2009

Favorite Chicken Recipe Card Swap

Today, I received the second of three favorite chicken recipes. The first, I received around Christmas, and decided to wait to post it until I received more. I will post the third when I receive it.

Ralph's Chicken Broccoli Bake

2 T butter
2 T olive oil
1 small fryer
1 tsp garlic salt
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 crate fresh mushrooms
1/4 c water
1 T worcestershire
1/4 t dried thyme
1 bunch broccoli - chopped in large pieces
1 lg can pitted black olives

Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat butter and oil in a pan in the oven til melted. Place chicken in pan turning to coat. Arrange chicken, skin up. Cover with garlic salt. Cook uncovered 30 min. Drain fat off. Mix mushrooms, worcestershire, thyme, soup, and water. Add chopped broccoli. Spoon soup mixture over chicken. Cook 30 min. Add olives and paprika. Serve and enjoy!

Stuffed Chicken Rolls

1 pkg (6 oz) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 lbs) pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
1 tsp paprika
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup

1. COMBINE stuffing mix and 1 cup of water in large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in eggs. Spread stuffing mixture evenly over chicken breasts, to within 1/2 inch of outer edges. Roll up chicken from one short end to enclose stuffing mixture.
2. PLACE chicken rolls, seam side down, in 13x9 inch baking dish. Mix soup and milk, pour over chicken. Sprinkle with paprika.
3. BAKE at 400 F for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Comfort Food Recipe Food Swap

Today, I sent the recipe for the Comfort Food Recipe Swap. Along with the recipe, was the required note, explaining my history with this food. I explained in that note how it was something I ate a lot of as a kid, and learned to cook early in life. I went on to tell how it was something I could prepare while in my dorm room at college and that the recipe that I was sending had a long family tradition - it was passed to me by my sister, who received it from my father, who found it in a newspaper article. Here is the recipe for my comfort food:

Macaroni & Cheese

8 T (1 stick) butter, divided use
6 T all-purpose flour
1/2 t cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
3 3/4 c hot milk
4 c Cheddar cheese, grated, divided use
1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked al dente, rinsed in cold water
1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 c fresh bread crumbs

-Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an 8x11 baking dish.
-Melt 6 T of butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes (flour mixture must foam as it cooks, or sauce will have a raw-flour taste). Stir in cayenne and season to taste with salt and white pepper.
-Whisk in hot milk, 1/4 c at a time, and cook, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens. Reduce heat to low and stir in 2 c of cheese. Cook, stirring, until cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Combine cheese sauce and cooked macaroni in a large bowl and season with salt.
-Sprinkle 1/2 c cheese over prepared cooking dish. Pat 1/3 of the pasta in the dish, top with 1/2 c of cheese, then repeat, layering pasta and cheese, another layer of pasta and ending with cheese. Pour cream over assembled macaroni and cheese. Melt remaining 2 T of butter in a skillet. Add bread crumbs to butter and stir to coat well, then sprinkle over macaroni and cheese. Bake until crust is golden, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day

Today was not very productive for me. All I did, before heading to work in the evening, was attempt to balance the checkbook, something I haven't done since April. Boy, was that a big snafu. Tom's been using the check card to make purchases, like gas, and hasn't been recording any of the purchases. So, I had to enter all of those, plus account for a dozen or so voided checks. I got 4 months done before going to work, and finished the rest when I got home.
But, there was some good news during the day. When I got to work, and turned in my receipts for the pasta selling contest that was held in December, I found out I'd won! I won dinner for two at Durango's in Aberdeen. In November, the contest was for selling bottles of wine, and Holly won. When she went to Durango's, she said it was a horrible experience, so I'm curious to see what my experience will bring.