Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Is for a Main Dish

For the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, I received the following recipes for the "Is for a Main Dish" category:

Cheese Mostaccioli Casserole

1 (16 oz) pkg mostaccioli noodles, cooked and drained
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided

Combine noodles, soup, spaghetti sauce, pepper, Italian seasoning and 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 F for 25-30 minutes or until cheese melts and casserole is hot and bubbly.
You can also add: canned mushrooms, diced garlic, canned tomatoes or cooked ground beef or sausage.

Nacho Stuffed Shells

36 jumbo pasta shells (12-ounce package)
3/4 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 (1.25-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 cup water
1 (16 oz) refried beans with chilies
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup mild, medium or hot picante sauce
8-ounce can tomato sauce (a quality sauce makes a difference)
2-ounce can sliced ripe olives, drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Optional Garnishes: sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, chopped jalapenos, chopped cilantro, salsa, guacamole

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
While pasta is cooking, saute the beef in a large skillet until browned; drain well. Add taco seasoning mix and water; simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the beans and cheese. Cook until smooth and well mixed.
When the pasta is done, drain well. Fill the shells with beef mixture (1 to 2 tablespoons per shell). Combine the picante sauce and tomato sauce in sauce pan. Cook until heated, stirring occasionally.
Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce over the bootom of a 9" x 13" baking pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Place filled shells side by side on top of sauce; pour remaining sauce evenly over shells. Sprinkle with olives. Cover with aluminum foil; bake 35 to 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with green onions.
Cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve immediately. Garnish as desired.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Weaving and Haiku

Today, I finally sent out my God's Eye Weavings, and I received one. This one came from Kathleen C in New Zealand.

God's Eye Weaving from Kathleen C

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of what I created for this swap.
I also received a postcard from Cat from Canada, which had a Spring Haiku on it. I thought the presentation was very nice.
tender goldgreen shoots
shoving lustily skyward
secret no longer

Spring Haiku from Cat

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Twilight - The Movie

Well, I finally did it. After having listened to the Twilight series on audiobooks, I sat down tonight and watched the movie. As expected, it wasn't as good as the book, and I'm too much of a purist to completely enjoy where they deviated from the book, but overall I thought it was very good. My advice - watch the movie before you read the book. I spent too much time waiting for certain things to happen, and they never did because they just weren't in the movie. I definitely would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been doing that. Now, I can't wait for New Moon to come out! And I've decided that I won't listen to the book before I see it, so that it isn't so fresh in my mind and I can just sit back and watch it for the enjoyment.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Found on the Internet

For the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, I received the following recipe for the "Found on the Internet" category:

Cornucopia Salad

1 head iceburg lettuce, washed, patted dry, and torn into pieces
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed, uncooked
2 (8-ounce) cans sliced water chestnuts
3 bananas, sliced, tossed in 1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, or salted peanuts)
1 cup grated Cheddar
3/4 cup chopped green onions, green part only
10 to 12 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, chopped

Dressing:
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar

In a large rectangular dish, layer salad ingredients in the order listed, stopping after the nuts. Mix dressing ingredients and let stand for 5 minutes. Spread dressing over entire top of salad, covering it completely. Sprinkle cheese, green onions, and bacon over salad. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Easter Eggs and Chopsticks

Yesterday, when I got home from work, I found out that my Easter eggs had arrived. They are for the Easter Egg Hunt Swap, and I'm so excited for the hunt to begin. Check out Vivs' blog on April 5 for a list of all of the participants and their respective blogs, and they should all have posted pictures of the eggs that they created, and received. That's the way we'll all hunt for the creators of the eggs we received.
Today, I received a package from Karen C in Utah, for the Chopsticks Swap 2. She sent six sets of chopsticks and several types of candies. What a nice surprise!

Chopsticks from Karen C

I also have a weekend-from-hell planned. Tomorrow, early, Tom plans on getting us up and doing yard work all day. I am not looking forward to it. Why? Because it's raining now, and it's supposed to rain all weekend. Then, I have to get up early on Sunday morning because I'm scheduled to work the all new breakfast buffet at Tidewater. What truly sucks is that I'm scheduled to work 7-3, so I have to go straight into the lunch shift after breakfast. And since it'll only be the second day that the Tidewater has offered the breakfast buffet, I'm not anticipating it to be a big money day. And I found out tonight that I'm scheduled to do it next weekend, too. I can't even get to my regular job at 7, so how hard is it going to be to get to Tidewater at 7, when I have so little incentive. And after working myself to death in the yard all day the day before? Can you see why I'm not exactly looking forward to it? I'll stop bitching now, I'm just going to suck it up, and grin and bear it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Contains Nuts

In the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, I received these recipes for the "Contains Nuts" category:

Diane’s Sugared Peanuts

4 cup raw shelled peanuts with skins on
2 cup sugar
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a medium size pot over medium heat, combine the sugar and water and dissolve. Add the peanuts and continue cooking, stirring frequently until peanuts are completely sugar coated and there is no syrup left. Pour mixture onto an ungreased cookie sheet, spreading and separating the peanuts as much as possible. Bake until the peanuts are golden, about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring at 5 minute intervals.

Everything Spiced Nuts

1 cup blanched whole almonds
1 cup whole hazelnuts
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp grill seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1 cup smoked almonds
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Roast the peeled almonds and hazelnuts for 7-8 minutes; your nose will when they are done.
Melt butter in large skillet over low heat and add the grill seasoning, garlic, cumin, and hot sauce. Add roasted nuts and smoked almonds. Toss to coat in butter mixture. Sprinkle poppy seeds and sesame seeds over the nuts. Transfer to bowl and serve warm.

Sun-Dried Tomato Walnut Pesto

1 ½ oz sun-dried tomato halves
2 cups boiling water
1 ½ cups loosely packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
½ cup walnut pieces, toasted
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, peeled & chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
5 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp Italian red chili paste (optional)
1/8 tsp salt

In medium heat proof bowl combine tomatoes and water. Let stand until tomatoes are plump and tender, about 15 minutes. Reserve 3 Tbs of the soaking water, then drain and coarsely chop the tomatoes. In a food processor combine all ingredients. Process in short pulses of power until mixture is evenly chopped, but chunky. Cover & refrigerate up to 3 days. Use at room temp.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is for Drink or Punch

For the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, I received these recipes for the "Is for Drink or Punch" category:

Cranberry Party Punch

3 (12 oz) cans frozen lemonade, thawed and diluted
1 qt cranberry juice
1 cup frozen orange juice, thawed and undiluted
1 (28 oz) bottle ginger ale, chilled
1 orange, thinly sliced

Combine lemonade and juices and chill. Add ginger ale just before serving. Garnish with orange slices. Makes 1 ½ gallons.

Fruit Punch

2 pints strawberries, hulled
3 cup sugar
1 48 ounce can pineapple juice
2 6 ounce cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 6 ounce cans frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 liter bottle lemon-lime soda
3 cup water

Combine the orange juice, lemonade and pineapple juice and stir well.
Bring 3 cup water and sugar to a boil in a heavy sauce pan and boil until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Add the syrup to the fruit juices.
Place the whole strawberries into a ruing mold. Pour in enough fruit juice to fill the mold. Freeze. Refrigerate the remaining juice.
When ready to serve, pour the fruit juice into a punch bowl and add the Sprite. Float the strawberry ice ring in the punch.

Spiced Pomegranate Sipper

1 (2 ½ inch long) cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
5 thin fresh ginger slices
2 (16 oz) bottles refrigerated 100% pomegranate juice
4 cups white grape juice
½ cup pineapple juice
Garnishes: pineapple chunks, orange rind curls

Cook cinnamon stick, cloves, and ginger in dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes or until cinnamon is fragrant.
Gradually stir in juices, bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes. Pour mixture through a wire mesh strainer into a heat-proof pitcher; discard solids. Serve warm.
Tipsy version: Stir in 1 ¼ cups almond liquor just before serving.
Cold version: Prepare as directed. Let stand 30 minutes. Cover and chill 2 hours. Keeps in refrigerator up to 2 days.
Fizzy version: Prepare cold version and stir in 1 (33.8 oz) bottle ginger ale just before serving.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Marie Antoinette Collage Swap

The latest swap that I've joined is The Junkk Drawer's Marie Antoinette Collage Swap. Wanda found out about it from someone she had swapped with before, and was really excited about it. With encouragement from her, I signed up for it. It sounds like fun - we start off with an 8 1/2 x 11 canvas, divide it into 12 squares, then make 12 individual collages, one for each square. We'll see how it turns out.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Received in a Swap

In the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, I received this recipe for the "Received in a Swap" category:

Shrimp Scampi

12 Jumbo Shrimp
5 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
5 Tbsp butter
½ cup white wine
2 Tbsp parsley
Juice from 1 lemon
Lemon slice for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in pan, add garlic and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are pink. Add butter, wine, and lemon juice. Cook until shrimp are firm. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pasta or rice. Add lemon slices to garnish.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

OMG, Ostentation's First Sale

Now this is just too cool. Ostentation has had it's first sale - on it's second day of business! I can't get over it! Wanda called me at work tonight to congratulate me, and since I was at work, I had no idea. We sold an egg. I have to get with Wanda to see exactly what to do to finish this transaction, but it's quite exciting!

Our First Sale

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Loooong Day

Today was a long day. It started when the day started - some of the girls from the Tidewater were supposed to get together for a midnight screening of "Twilight." We got out of work early and did a little barhopping, waiting for the call that Julia was able to get the DVD. Around 1:15, I decided that it was getting to be too late, so I bowed out and went home.
After getting home and writing yesterday's blog entry, I went to bed, only to get up around 8 to take pictures of items for Wanda's and my new Etsy shop, Ostentation. It's the super secret project that we've been working on. Wanda already has a shop, The Rat's Pajamas, but she sells supplies and vintage items there. Our collective shop is for handmade items. Then I had to edit the photos, and figure out how to post the items. It seemed pretty simple, but it took time to learn. I finished up around 11, and luckily, Tom was tired, too, so we took a two hour power nap.
After the nap, and a quick lunch, it was on to yard work. We finished transplanting the bushes from the front bed. These we just moved around to in front of the garage windows. Then we shoveled up all of the old mulch that was in the bed. We finished up around 7:30, and boy, was I cold and sore!


On a final note, I received mail from one of my Spring Haiku partners. Nathalie M from California sent two haikus, presented as ATCs.
Waiting for Spring

In my breast, my heart
Trembles at the thought of spring;
Small buds awaken.

Early Spring

Blustery cold wind
Blowing billowing storm clouds
Knife cutting through me

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dang, I've Been Tagged

Well, crud! My sister, Wanda, tagged me.

Here are the rules:
• Open your photo folder on your computer
• Open the 6th folder of photos
• Select the 6th picture
• Post the picture on your blog with a description
• Invite six friends to join the challenge
• Link your six friends to your blog post

Here is the picture:


As luck would have it, the sixth folder in the My Pictures folder only had five pictures, so this is the fifth picture. It is of a dishcloth, washcloth that looks like a doily, and teabags that I received with some recipes from the Favorite Appetizer Recipe Swap.

Now, for the inviting of friends part. Hmmm... Besides Wanda, Mom, and Dad, I can't think of anyone who visits my blog - so I'll go with the people who have left comments and have visited at least once. They are: Trisha Too, Marlene, KaitCav, Jeanne. I'll also throw in Amy, my girlfriend from work. I'm still short one, but that's the best I can do, I guess five is my unlucky number right now.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Children Would Enjoy

In the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, I received the following recipes for the "Children Would Enjoy" category:

Cereal Corn Snack

3 cups crispy corn puffed cereal
6 cups popcorn, popped
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp onion salt
2 c shoestring potatoes
1 cup french fried onions
1/8 tsp salt

Heat oven to 350 F. Mix cereal, popcorn, butter, garlic & onion salts, in an ungreased 9x13 pan. Bake 5 mins. Stir in shoestring potatoes & french-fried onions. Bake 5 minutes more. Sprinkle with salt. Cool on paper towels.

Elephant Dip

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk

Mix all together until well blended. Serve with graham crackers and apple slices.

French Toast with Bananas and Walnuts

6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
4 very ripe bananas
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsley chopped
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
8 slices egg bread
4 tablespoons butter
confectioner's sugar, for dusting
Honey, Maple Syrup, or Jam (use preferred topping)

In a large shallow bowl, using a fork, beat the eggs until lightly frothy. Stir in the milk and set aside. Peel the bananas into a small bowl and mash them with a fork. Stir in the walnuts and the nutmeg.
Spread the banana mixture over the half of the bread slices, leaving a 1/4 inch border uncovered on all edges. Top with the remaining bread slices and press down gently to seal.
Place 2 sandwiches in the egg mixture and press down gently. Turn over and let soak for a moment until evenly saturated on both sides. Repeat with the other 2 remaining sandwiches.
In a frying pan or on a griddle, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Place the sandwiches on griddle and fry until the undersides are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining butter, flip the sandwiches with a spatula and fry until golden brown.
To serve place the toast on plates and dust with confectioners sugar. Serve with honey, maple syrup, or jam.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Found in a Magazine/Newspaper

In the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, I received the following recipes for the Found in a Magazine/Newspaper category:

Cinnamon Bun Coffee Cake

1 jar (5 oz) walnuts in syrup
4 Tbs butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tube (11 oz) crusty French loaf dough, such as Pillsbury's
1/2 cup dried fruit bits
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
Candied violets, optional

* Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 8" round cake pan with cooking spray. Drain walnuts, reserving syrup. Chop walnuts; reserve. Combine syrup and 2 Tbs butter; spoon into pan. Sprinkle with reserved walnuts and pecans.
* Combine sugar and cinnamon. Unroll dough; spread with remaining 2 Tbs butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then fruit bits. Starting from one long side, roll up jellyroll style. Cut crosswise into 8 pieces. Arrange pieces, cut side down, in pan, pressing down lightly.
* Bake until golden, 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Mix confectioners' sugar and 1 tsp water; drizzle over buns. If desired, garnish with violets.

Syd Zoss' Orange Juice Crust Pecan Pies

3 cups all purpose flour, more for rolling
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening, preferably Crisco
1/3 cup orange juice
6 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups Karo light or dark corn syrup
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 cups pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse flour and salt in the bowl of food processor fitted with blade attachment. Add shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the orange juice and pulse until dough combines and starts to pull away from sides of bowl. Divide dough in 1/2 and pat each half into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest and chill, about 15 minutes. Once the dough is chilled, working with one disc at a time, place dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper; roll out until about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer dough to pie pan and repeat with remaining disc. Set aside.
Beat eggs slightly with fork in medium bowl. Add sugar, syrup, butter, and vanilla; stir until blended. Stir in pecans. Pour pecan filling into prepared pie crusts. Bake until set, 55-60 minutes. Remove to rack to cool.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day


video

This is my first attempt at posting a video. Dad sent it to me, and I thought it was just too cute, and had to share it. Have a happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today at lunch time, Amy and I went out to McDonald's, but on the way, we stopped by the side of the road where she had seen a little field of flowers. She said that she thought I might like to take some pictures of them. So I did. I think the pictures turned out okay, but at least it was fun.






Oh, by the way, at work tonight, I tried my first Irish Carb Bomb. It did not taste like chocolate milk, like all of the girls said it would - but it didn't have the offensive beer taste to it either, after the first gulp at least.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Contains Some Type of Alcohol

For the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, I received the following recipe for the category "Contains some type of alcohol."

Margarita Pork Tenderloin

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 green onion, minced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp Tequila
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 lb pork tenderloin

Combine 1st 10 ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Cut tenderloin into 1 inch thick slices. Marinate for 1-2 hours.
Grill 3-4 minutes until done on each side.
I usually don't slice the tenderloin. I marinate it longer and grill it whole. I also add more jalapeno, because I like spicy food.
This is also good using chicken.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Parade 2009

On a cold, dreary, overcast day, Baltimore's Marching Ravens participated in their first parade of the season. It was both a nice and a sad occasion. It was sad because it was Bill's last day with the band. After four years in the Ravens' band, his knees told him it was time to quit. Bill was a member of the pep band, so I interacted with him more than other members of the band.

Baritone Bill

On the other hand, I got to see some old band members that I hadn't seen in a while. Kayla (who was my flute buddy through the end of last season), Eddie (Kayla's boyfriend and former member of the equipment crew), and Barbie (Eddie's sister and former clarinet player) were all there to say hello. Patrick, who used to be a member of the equipment crew, was also there.

Kayla, Eddie, and Barbie

The rest of the parade was uneventful. We played the Raven's Fight Song and Danny Boy while marching down the parade route, and at the second reviewing stand performed both the Irish and United States National Anthems.
After getting home, fixing dinner, and watching a little television, I completed my day by working on some crafty projects. I hope I can finish them on time.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Will the Yard Work Ever End?

Today, Tom and I did so much yard work, it hurt. It may have been nicer if the weather would have been better, but it was chilly and overcast, and eventually we were working in a light mist of rain.
Despite the weather conditions, we accomplished a lot. Tom started by digging holes for bushes to be transplanted into while I took the sod and knocked the topsoil off of it. Then, I went to work trying to get all of the weeds out of the bed in the front of the house while Tom dug up the first bush. What a nightmare! The bush felt like it weighed a ton, and we had to use the lawn tractor to pull the bush to it's new location. After planting the first bush at the corner of the house, I went back to weeding, while Tom deepened the other holes. We transplanted five azalea plants by the time it started to mist, then came back to the front to remove the landscaping paper that Tom had put down in that bed many years ago. That, in itself was an accomplishment, since roots from some of the bushes had grown into the paper, and the bushes had grown around it in some areas.

Bush Transplanted at Corner
Azaleas Transplanted Near Welled Exit

Azaleas Transplanted Near Septic Tank

Later, after a nice, hot shower and dinner, I worked on my Spring Haiku Swap project. I had come up with the haiku a couple of weeks ago, but put it on ATC's tonight. Without further ado, here is my Spring Haiku:
Flying through the sky
Birds chirping their lovely song
Spring is in the air.

My Spring Haiku ATC's

Friday, March 13, 2009

Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, Cooks in Less than 20 Minutes

These are the recipes that I received in the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2 for the category Cooks in Less than 20 Minutes:

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

1 tablespoon margarine or butter, melted
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
4 frozen breaded chicken patties
4 leaves leaf lettuce
4 sandwich buns, split
4 tablespoons purchased blue cheese salad dressing

1. Heat oven to 400 F. In small cup, combine margarine and hot pepper sauce; mix well. Brush margarine mixture over chicken patties; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
2. Bake at 400 F for 12 to 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
3. Place lettuce on bottom halves of buns. Top each with chicken patty and blue cheese dressing. Cover with top halves of buns. If desired, serve with celery sticks.

Orange Chicken Stir Fry

2 Tbs oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 c orange juice
2 T honey
1 T cornstarch
2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed
1/2 cup cashew pieces

Heat oil in a heavy skillet or wok. Add chicken, salt and pepper. Stir fry until chicken is cooked, 3-4 minutes. Combine OJ, honey and corn starch in small bowl. Add to chicken in pan along with peas. Stir-fry until sauce thickens. Stir in cashew pieces. Serve over hot rice or noodles.
Serves: 4

Tortellini Vegetable Soup

Bring 5 cups chicken broth and 3 cups water to a boil. Add 1 bag (16 oz) frozen vegetable mix (broccoli, green beans, pearl onions, and red peppers) and 1 bag (10 oz) frozen cheese tortellini. Gently boil for 9 minutes, or until tortellini are firm but tender. Serve with Parmesan cheese and bread sticks. Serves 4.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Altered Easter Egg

I received an Altered Easter Egg from my second partner in that swap, Ingrid T in Canada. It looks like she put a lot of effort into it: it's crocheted, then embellished with embroidery floss.

Altered Easter Egg by Ingrid T

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Project Items

The last of the items that Wanda ordered from Zipperstop.com for our super-secret project arrived today. The picture below is an incredibly vague hint.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2 - Ice Cream Recipes

One of the categories in the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2 was "Used with ice cream." These are the recipes I received for that category.

Banana Parfait Dessert

1 jar caramel ice cream topping
2 Tbsp rum, or 1 tsp vanilla or rum flavoring & 1 T water
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 med bananas, ripe, but firm
Vanilla or butter pecan ice cream

In large skillet, over medium-low heat, combine topping, rum (or flavoring) and cinnamon. Cut bananas in half lengthwise, then cut in half crosswaise. Add the bananas into the caramel mixture, heat through. Spoon bananas into dessert dishes, top each with a generous scoop of ice cream. Spoon warm sauce over ice cream. Enjoy!
Serves 4

Easy Homemade Oreo Ice Cream

3 egg yolks
1 14-ounce can condensed milk
4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Oreo cookies, coarsely crushed
2 cup heavy cream, whipped

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and stir in the condensed milk and vanilla. Fold in the crushed cookies and whipped cream. Pour mixture into a 9x5-inch loaf pan lined with foil. Cover and freeze for 6 hours or until firm.
To serve, scoop ice cream from pan or cut into slices.

Spiked Strawberry Lime Ice Cream Pie

4 cups pretzel twists
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 gallon strawberry ice cream
16 oz fresh strawberries
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 6 oz can frozen limeade concentrate, partially thawed
1/2 cup tequila
1/2 cup orange liquor (Triple Sec)

Process 1st 3 ingredients in food processor, until pretzels are finely crushed. Press firmly into bottom of lightly greased 10 inch spring form pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes; cool.
Let ice cream stand out for 20 minutes. Process strawberries and sugar in food processor until pureed.
Place ice cream in large bowl and fold in strawberries, limeade, tequila, and orange liquor until well blended; Spoon mixture into prepared crust. Freeze 3 hours until firm.
Let stand at room temp 10 minutes before slicing.
* May omit tequila and triple sec and add 6 ounce can frozen ornge juice concentrate for non-alcoholic version.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Final Oriental ATC & Food Around the World

Today, in addition to receiveing a shipment from SmileyMe.com for the super-secret project that my sister and I are working on, I received mail for two different swaps. My first was the second, and final, Oriental ATC from Kat R in Massachusettes. It was quite cute.

Oriental ATC from Kat R
I also received a third set of recipes for the Food from Around the World swap from Danie B in Great Britain.

Haluski-Kapusta

1 sm head cabbage

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons salt through cabbage and let stand 10 minutes. Melt 3 tablespoons butter, add 1 chopped onion and simmer for 5 minutes. Add cabbage and cook until tender. While cabbage is cooking, make the "Haluski."

3 lg grated potatoes
2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
2 1/2 c flour

Add beaten egg to grated potatoes and mix thoroughly. Add flour and salt which have been sifted together. If dough seems stiff, add a little warm water.
Drop bits of dough into boiling water, do not drop by spoonful, just a little dough at a time, until all dough is used.
Cook until they come to the top, remove from stove, drain and rinse once in lukewarm water. Drain in colander and place in bowl.
Mix cabbage with the "Haluski" and serve.
Cottage cheese, about 3/4 pint, and melted butter can be a variation. Fried sauerkraut instead of the cabbage.

Authentic Russian Beef Stroganoff

2 lbs steak, cut bite size
2 med onions, finely chopped
1/2 c tomato juice
2 tbsp Wondra flour
4 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp paprika
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c Burgundy wine
1 pkg beef broth mix
1 c sour cream
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 tsp parsley flakes
Sprigs of parsley for garnish

Saute onions and garlic in 2 teaspoons butter, just until translucent. Keep warm. Quickly saute mushrooms in 2 teaspoons of butter. Keep warm. Quickly brown steak in 2 teaspoons of butter. Mix meat with onions and mushrooms, set aside and keep warm.
In a double boiler, combine the liquid ingredients, except for sour cream. Add flour and spices, mix well. When hot, ass the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir until thickened. Remove from heat, add sour cream. Mix liquid mixture with the meat mixture. Let stand for 25 minutes on warm. Heat until hot for 5 minutes. Serve over noodles or rice. Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh parsley. Serves 4 to 6.

Foccacia

1 1/2 tbsp yeast
1 c warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
2 tsp salt
1/3 c oil
1 tsp sugar
3 c flour

Dissolve yeast in water. In large bowl combine salt, sugar and oil. Add yeast water; stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Stir in 2 cups flour until mixture is smooth. Add 1 cup flour; knead 5 minutes. Raise in greased bowl 30 to 60 minutes.
Can cut in half to make 2 small loaves or make 1 large loaf. Shape into circle on greased cookie sheet about 1 inch thick. Dimple with end of wooden spoon. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake in 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Coconut Curry Chicken

1/3 c frozen orange juice concentrate (thawed)
1 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 frying chicken, cut up
1 c crushed corn flakes
1/2 c shredded coconut
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 c butter, melted

Mix orange juice, salt and egg, add chicken and marinate 15 minutes. Remove chicken, reserve marinade. Mix corn flakes, coconut and curry and coat chicken, pressing it on.
Place on lightly oiled, foil-lined pan and drizzle with butter combined with marinade. Cover with foil, bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake 30 to 40 minutes longer. Garnish with orange slices.

Chicken Enchiladas

6 chicken breasts, cooked, cut into 1" pieces
1 onion
2 tbsp butter
2 16 oz cans Old El Paso Enchilada sauce
1 4 oz can tomato sauce
16 white corn tortillas
2 c cheddar cheese, combined with 2 c Monterey Jack cheese
1 chicken bouillon cube (in 1/4 cup liquid)
1 c stewed tomatoes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder

Slice the onion and saute in garlic and butter. Add the dissolved bouillon cube, tomatoes, Enchilada sauce, herbs and seasonings. Simmer over low heat.
Fry the tortillas in 375 degree oil for a short period (about 1 minute).
Remove tortillas and drain on paper towels. Dip in sauce when cooled.
Fill each with chicken and cheese and roll up, placing seam side down in 9x13x2 inch pan.
Pour remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pineapple Casserole

By request, my first posted recipe from the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2 will be the Pineapple Casserole!

Pineapple Casserole

1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp flour
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 20 oz cans pineapple chunks, drained (reserve 6 Tbsp of juice)
1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs (about 1 1/2 sleeves)
1 stick butter, melted

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix sugar, flour, and cheese; Add pineapple and combine. Place in 2 qt casserole dish. Mix butter and cracker crumbs; spread on top. Bake 25-30 minutes.

This might sound strange but tastes wonderful! We have this quite often.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Visit from Nathan and More Yard Work

Last night, Nathan and Bridget popped in for a visit. In honor of both Tom's and Nathan's birthdays this month, father and son got together with the intention of buying each other dinner. Traffic got in the way of dinner plans, but the visit and overnight stay still happened. It was really nice to have them over, and we had loads of laughs.
Today, Tom and I worked in the yard. We interspersed the work with visiting with "the kids," and they left before 3 pm, to meet some friends in Baltimore. Tom and I continued our work, and as pictured below, we cleared the sod away from a certain section near the driveway, and dumped it in the treeline. We also marked and dug out sod for where we want to replant the bushes from the front of the house. Last of all, I climbed up the tall ladder, so that Tom (with his fear of heights) wouldn't have to, and dislodged the hornet's nest that had appeared under the front eaves. That was cool. The outer surface was like layers of paper, with different colored striations, and the inside was like a honeycomb. Afterwards, I ran to Wal-Mart for a few things, then made fried rice for dinner. Overall, it was a very productive day!


Friday, March 6, 2009

Accident News & Altered Easter Eggs

Today I received a phone call from the insurance company of the other driver in my accident. As luck would have it (lucky for me, at least) they said that they would assume responsibility for the accident. What a load off of my mind, financially. I also *finally* mailed my Altered Easter Eggs. Whew! I was seriously afraid that I screwed the pooch on that swap.

My Altered Easter Eggs

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Busy Day

I had a busy day today. While at work, I dealt with a call back from the insurance agent handling my claim for the accident, and then went out to get an estimate. They came in at around $4000 worth of work, but said the insurance adjuster would come in at less, but they could still do it up right. In the meantime, I talked to Wanda and Mom today, about varying subject matters. I also took the time to sign up for a Martini Glass Swap. At the Tidewater, it wasn't too busy, and when I got home, I found my first of two envelopes from the Pressed Pennies of the World swap, and the third of three sets of recipes from the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2. The pressed pennies came from Sara Z in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the recipes came from Stephany D in Georgia. I also received a padded envelope from Wanda - and surprise - it included the book "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray. How obvious is the reference from Candleshoe? I didn't realize that was a real book. Tom went absolutely gaga over it, since it looked quite old. He wants to save it forever because of it's age. I even had to spend precious time trying to research it on the Internet, trying to find out when it was published. No luck there. I also received tissue paper from Nashville Wraps, which is for a secret project that I'm working on with Wanda. I can't wait to see how that all turns out. Anyway, the recipes that Stephany sent covered all of the fifteen categories included in the swap (we only needed to choose ten to send). As with the other recipes from the Recipes Scavenger Hunt 2, I will post them as time permits. But, these are the recipes that you can look forward to seeing:

1. Received in a swap - Shrimp Scampi
2. Contains ice cream - Spiked Strawberry Lime Ice Cream Pie
3. Cooks in less tham 20 minutes - Tortellini Vegetable Soup
4. Contains some type of alcohol - Margarita Pork Tenderloin
5. Found in a newspaper - Syd Zoss' Orange Juice Crust Pecan Pies
6. Children would enjoy - Elephant Dip
7. Is for drink or punch - Spiced Pomegranate Sipper
8. Contains nuts - Everything Spiced Nuts
9. Found on the Internet - Cornucopia Salad
10. Is for a main dish - Nacho Stuffed Shells
11. Contains beef - Chili Pie
12. Is a tried and true family recipe - Pineapple Casserole
13. Contains seafood - Mussels Marinara
14. Found or bought at garage sale or thrift shop - Butterfinger Ice Cream
15. Contains green beans - Beef with Garlic Potatoes

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Tom!

Happy Birthday, Tom! And oh, by the way, while I was on the way to band practice, I was in a car accident. It wasn't too bad - as I was going through the intersection in Riverside (I was on my way to Arby's for dinner) when someone coming the opposite direction turned and crashed into me. We hung out for almost an hour, waiting for the police to show up, and I don't know how to feel about the crasher. She had a sad story to tell about her life right now, but I was too peode to believe her - it's too much bad luck for one person. But me being me, I didn't want to call her out, either about being at fault in the accident or on the sob story. It's not very charitable of me, I know, but man, that sucks!


On a happier note, I received the second of four sets of recipes in the Foods Around the World recipe swap from Susan D in Wisconsin.

Asian Zing Shrimp

1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1/8 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb Extra Large Shrimp (26/30) - shelled/deveined
1 cup cooked rice

Mix first 5 ingredients together in a sauce pan and simmer. Saute shrimp until just pink then toss in sauce. Serve shrimp/sauce over rice with a salad on the side. Easy and Quick!

Spicy Guacamole

4 ripe avocados
3 limes, juiced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Serrano chilies, sliced
1 big handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Halve and pit the avocados. Scoop out the flesh with a tablespoon into a mixing bowl. Mash the avocados with a fork, leaving them somewhat chunky. Add the remaining ingredients, and fold everything together to gently mix. Lay a piece of plastic wrap right on the surface of the guacamole so it doesn't brown and refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

Chinese Chicken Salad

2 pounds chicken thighs
Black pepper
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup bottled hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
8 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded carrot (2 medium)
1/2 cup unsalted dry-roasted cashews (optional)
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro

Sprinkle chicken with pepper. Place chicken in a 3 to 4 quart slow cooker. Add celery, onion, and garlic. In a small bowl combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, sherry, chili sauce, and sesame oil. Stir into mixture in cooker.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a cutting board, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove chicken from bones. Discard bones. Shred chicken by pulling two forks through it in opposite directions.
For dressing, in a screw-top jar combine the reserved 1/2 cup cooking liquid and the rice vinegar. Cover and shake until combined; set aside.
In a large salad bowl combine chicken, romaine, carrot, cashews (if desired), and cilantro. Before serving, shake dressing and drizzle over salad. Toss to coat.

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken

4 chicken legs (about 3 pounds) skin removed
26 ounce jar green and black olive pasta sauce
Cooked pasta of choice

Place chicken and sauce in a 5 to 5 1/2 quart slow cooker. Cook on low heat setting for 6-8 hours. Serve over hot, cooked pasta.

Mediterranean-Style Pot Roast

1 2-3 pound boneless beef chuck pot roast
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic, undrained
1/4 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dried herbes do Provence, crushed
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)

1. Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut meat to fit into a 3 1/2 or 4 quart slow cooker. In a large skillet brown meat on all sides in hot oil. Drain off fat. Set aside.
2. Place onion in cooker. Place meat on top of onion. In a medium bowl stir together undrained tomatoes, olives, Worcestershire sauce, herbes de Provence, and pepper; pour over meat in cooker.
3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
4. Remove meat from cooker. Cut meat into 6 serving-size pieces. Arrange meat on a serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to serving platter, reserving juices. Spoon enough of the juices over meat and vegetables to moisten. Sprinkle with feta cheese. Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, Part 2

Today, I received the second of three sets of recipes in the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2 from Chris K in Michigan. She sent a fun assortment, which I plan to post when time permits:

1. Ice Cream Recipe - Banana Parfait Dessert
2. 20 minute recipe - Orange Chicken Stir Fry
3. Kid's Recipe - Cerreal Corn Snack
4. Punch Recipe - Cranberry Party Punch
5. Nut Recipe - Sun-Dried Tomato Walnut Pesto
6. Seafood Recipe - Garlicky Appetizer Shrimp Scampi
7. Beef Recipe - Skillet Beef & Noodles
8. Main Dish - Cheese Mostaccioli Casserole
9. Green Bean Recipe - Sweet & Sour Green Beans
10. Family Recipe - Easy Chicken Noodles & Corn

March Birthday ATC

Well, it'll be late, but at least it'll get there... I finally sent the ATC for the March birthday in the 2009 Birthday ATC Swap today. It's going to Sylvia in Italy, and since her birthday is in 2 days - I don't think it will make it there on time.

My March ATC for the 2009 Birthday ATC Swap

Monday, March 2, 2009

Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2, Part 1

Today I received the first of three sets of recipes for the Recipe Scavenger Hunt 2 from Debi M in Virginia. She sent a bunch of extra stuff, too - some blank recipe cards and an adorable ATC. These are the categories she chose, and recipes she sent, which I'll post at later dates:

1. Used with ice cream - Easy Homemade Oreo Ice Cream
2. Cooks in less than 20 minutes - Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
3. Found in a magazine/newspaper - Cinnamon Bun Coffee Cake
4. Children would enjoy - French Toast with Bananas and Walnuts
5. Is for a drink/punch - Fruit Punch
6. Contains nuts - Diane's Sugared Peanuts
7. Contains beef - Three Meat Pasta
8. Contains green beans - Fancy Green Beans
9. Contains seafood - Shore is Good Seafood Dip
10. Bought at a Thrift Store - "Any Idiot Can Cook with Simple Southern Recipes" (this was an entire book, so I will not post these recipes)

ATC from Debi M