Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Blog Address!

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There are still a few kinks we're working out so bear with us :) We LOVE feedback and comments so make sure to at least drop in to say hi!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Recipes- Speyer's Gnocchi

I never realized how simple it would be to make's as easy as 3,2,1! Thank you to Housewife Carolyn and her son Hayden. I can't wait to make these myself.
Speyer's Gnocchi
3 lbs potatoes
2 cups of flour
1 beaten egg
a pinch of salt
Gather your ingredients
Bake or boil 3 lbs of potatoes
Put potatoes through ricer
Start boiling a pot of water (about 3/4th full)
Add flour, a pinch of salt and beaten egg. Blend until just mixed (it feels like homemade play-doh when it's done).
Roll into ropes about 3/4 inch in diameter and cut into 3/4 pieces
Lightly press and roll with fork.
Drop into boiling water and cook until the gnocchi rises to the top about 1 minute
Serve with sauce.  Carolyn's family prefer eating it with a garlic alfredo. A bolder sauce is good as the flavor of the gnocchi is mild. ENJOY!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Recipes- Disneyland's Monte Cristo

Had this at Disneyland's Cafe Orleans resaurant and it was HEAVENLY!!!! I found this recipe online at Bouncin' Through Disneyland so I'm going to give it a try when we are back from our trip. You have NO.IDEA. how good this dish was! It is cheese and ham deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar and then you spread jam over it. Ooooh.

Disneyland's Monte Cristo
From Blue Bayou restaurant in New Orleans Square at Disneyland (also where we went at Cafe Orleans)
Monte Cristo Sandwich is served with currant jelly sauce. First prepare this, then make the batter. While it is chilling, put together the sandwiches. When the sandwiches are fried, the complete service is ready.
Currant Jelly Sauce
2/3 c. currant jelly
1 TB water
1 TB half and half
Combine jelly, water and half and half in blender and mix until smooth. Makes about 3/4 cup.
2/3 c. water
1 small egg
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. white pepper
few drops yellow food coloring
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 3/4 t. baking powder
Place water, egg, salt, pepper and food coloring in a bowl and using an electric mixer, mix well at low speed. Add flour and baking powder and mix until batter is smooth. Chill. Makes enough for 4 sandwiches.
8 slices white bread
4 slices turkey (1 oz. each)
4 slices swiss cheese
4 slices Pullman ham
Make 4 sandwiches, putting cheese between hand and turkey. Cut into fourths and put a toothpick through each quarter.
Final Preparation:
soybean or vegetable oil for frying
Confectioners’ sugar
currant jelly sauce
Heat about 6-inches of oil to 340F in a fryer. Dip sandwiches in batter to cover all surfaces. Deep fry sandwiches until golden brown, turning as needed. Remove from oil, take out toothpicks, sprinkle sandwiches with confectioners’ sugar. Serve with currant jelly sauce.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Recipes- Baker Beef Brisket on Rolls

The PERFECT sport-watching food! If you want to take the time for REALLY.GOOD.MEAT, this is the recipe for you from the Bakers.  The rub they used was Kirkland Mesquite BBQ rub....and that's the "secret" -and only- ingredient!  After seasoning, just place on the smoker at 250 for 9-12 hrs (time may vary depending on size of brisket). Once done, slice and serve on rolls if you want. Enjoy the photo storyline and a BIG shout out to Seth since it was soooo yum.

For serving, you can eat it straight but we topped a coleslaw on top and served it on a roll.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Recipes- Carrot Cake at Dawn's for Brunch

During a recent brunch with the girls, Housewife Dawn made a yummy Breakfast Strata and she also made this Carrot Cake from The Joy of Cooking...

Carrot Cake
Carrot cake is now as American as apple pie. Ours is medium-spicy, moist but not heavy, and flavorful enough to enjoy without frosting.
Have all ingredients at room temperature, 68 to 70 F. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9x2 in round pans or two 8x8 inch pans or one 9x13 in pan or line the bottom(s) with wax or parchment paper.
Whisk together thoroughly in a lg bowl:
1 1/3 C all purpose flour
1 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
Add and stir together well with a rubber spatula or beat on low speed:
2/3 C vegetable oil
3 lg. eggs
Stir in:
1 1/2 C finely grated peeled carrots
1 C finley chopped walnuts
1 C golden raisins (optional)
1/2 C crushed pineapple, lightly drained (optional)
Scrape the batter into the pans (s) and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes in round or square pans, 30 to 35 minutes in a 9x13 in pan. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Slide a thin knife around the cake to detach it from the pan. Invert the cake and peel off the apaper liner, if using. Let cool right side up on the rack. Fill and frost with:
Cream Cheese Frosting:
(Food Processor Method)
Have the cream cheese cold. The butter can be cold, but preferably at room temperature, 68 to 70F.
Combine in a food processor and pulse just until smooth and creamy:
8oz cream cheese
5 T unsalted butter(optional)
2 Tsp vanilla
2-2 1/2 C powdered sugar, sifted
If the frosting is too stiff, pulse for a few seconds longer. Do not overprocess. If desired, stir in additional flavoring to taste, such as:
Grated lemon or orange zest, ground cinnamon, or liqueur of choice

Monday, March 21, 2011

Recipes- Stuffed Cornish Game Hens with Fall River Wild Rice

My mom Karen prepared an Anniversary Meal for some good friends of hers. Included with the Game Hens, she added her Home-made Croissants, and Cream Puffs for dessert all served with quilted place-mats that she just whipped up!
Cornish Game Hens Dinner
Serving for 6- Karen says that these are my dad's favorite so she usually leave them whole to bake (but she kind of likes them cut in half). She used to stuff the birds with the wild rice dressing but anymore, she just cooks it separate.

Game Hens
Start with 3 Game Hens
Wash hens, and cut in half, pat dry, and salt lightly. place cut side down on rack in roasting pan then baste with melted butter. Karen also used a little Aloha BBQ Sauce which has a more Polynesian flavor or you can use any flavor for your desired taste (most of the time she just leaves them plain).
Bake hens at 350 for 1 and 15-30 minutes; basting often.

For the Rice Mixture
Each step below will be done at different times so begin making them so everything is finished all at once
I cup brown rice
2 1/4 - 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
In medium sauce pan add water and salt heat on high until boiling, add rice and reduce heat to simmering, cover and cook for 1 hour.

1/4 cup Fall River Valley Wild Rice (from my home town!)
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
In small sauce pan, add water and salt. Heat on high until boiling. Add rice and reduce heat to simmering then cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onions
1/4 cup butter
In large frying pan, saute veggies in butter, until tender.. add  both of the rice.

Serve game hens on a bed of rice mixture. This is also great with peas and water chestnuts (sliver the water chestnuts heat them with the peas, adding a little butter and salt with lots of black pepper)

I think that adding these were such a nice touch! Very sweet :D

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Recipes- Breakfast Strata at Dawn's House

Housewife Dawn made this for our last get-together and it was a big hit- YUM
"This one-egg dish casserole is somewhere between a baked custard and French toast. Layers of day-old buttered bread form the base, and the addition of sausage, cheese, vegetables, or whatever strikes your fancy gives it character and flavor. An egg custard is then slowly poured over the top, and the whole thing is left in the refrigerator overnight to meld. The next morning, simply bake it while the coffee brews."
Breakfast Strata, recipe from The Joy of Cooking
Butter a 21/2 quart souffle dish or casserole. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat and add:
1 1/2 lb bulk Country or breakfast sausage
Brown the sausage for 5 minutes, breaking it up with a fork as it cooks. Add:
2 C sliced mushrooms
1/2 C finely chopped onions
Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside. IN a large bowl, combine:
4 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
2 C milk
Place in the bottom of the prepared baking dish a layer of:
1 lg loaf day-old Italian bread, cut into 18 to 20 slices, crusts removed, buttered if desired.
Top with half of the sausage mixture and sprinkle with one-third of:
1 1/2 C grated Swiss or Cheddar cheese
Repeat with another layer of bread, the other half of the sausage, and another 1/2 cup cheese. Cover with a third layer of bread. Slowly pour the milk and egg mixture over the top and sprinkle with the last 1/2 cut grated cheese. Let the strata stand for at least 1 hour or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 F
Set a baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven to catch any drips and bake the strata until the top is nicely browned and bubbly, about 1 hour.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Visit from a Leprechaun!

When my 16 1/2 year old was a baby, on St. Patrick's Day a Leprechaun would leave her little goodies....and tiny footprints all over the house! Eleven years, a new house, and another two kids later, the Leprechaun has had a harder time finding us but TODAY, my kids found little bags filled with sweets!
There were green pixie sticks, GOLD coins, Andes Mints, and green wrapped Reece's. The 5yr old got the gummy toy soldiers ("How did the Leprechauns KNOW I wanted these???") and the 12/16 year olds got the gum (my son is in braces so can't have anything gummy). Too bad I'm on a diet- I would LOVE those Andes Mints!!! Hope you all had a fun St. Patrick's Day! I've got to go make corned beef, potatoes and cabbage :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Recipes- Karen's Homemade Cream Puffs

You can pick up frozen cream puffs from Costco but since making them are so easy, you might as well avoid all the preservatives and extras you don't need by whipping them up yourself.  Plus, you can do so much with them! If you don't want to use the fillings below, you can stuff with scrimp salad, ham salad or Mandarin oranges and tuna like we did for ourTuna Mandarin CroissantsThanks to my Mom Karen for the recipes and photos!

Homemade Cream Puffs
Preheat over to 450
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs
Boil water, butter, and  salt, until butter has melted add flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until a ball is formed and pulls away from sides of pan. Remove from heat and beat in one egg at a time, mixing well after each.
Drop by spoonfulls on a lightly greased cookie sheet (in this case, she used her Pampered  Chef Easy Accent Decorator with the large nozzle which worked great especially with the smaller puffs).

Bake 10 minutes in preheated oven, then reduce heat to 400 and bake 25 minutes more or until golden brown. Let Cool. Split and fill with whipped cream, instant pudding, and cool whip folded together or you make a custard sauce*. To make it extra pretty, drizzle chocolate or caramel sauce (see bottom photo). 
*Custard Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
5 tble spoon flour
a pinch salt
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks beaten
In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 5 tblesp flour and a pinch of salt.  Stir in milk, a little at a time, until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 60 seconds then pour a small amoutn of hot liquid into the 2 egg yolks, and stir. Then return now heated egg yolks to saucepan and stir, over heat, until mixture starts to bubble again.  Remove from heat, add vanilla.  Cover and chill in refrigerator
My mom Karen made this particular dish as an Anniversary Gift to friends of hers. She made stuffed game hens (recipe coming soon), home-made croissants, and even whipped up the sweet place-mats to give to the couple. Awwwww.....I think it's MY anniversary soon {hint,hint}

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Recipes- the yummy basics: potato salad & guacamole dip

We had a little potluck awhile back and these are my favorite get-togethers because ....well, besides not having to make the whole meal, it's nice seeing how others make the "simple" yummy foods!
Basic Potato Salad- from the Bakers
She said that they just threw this salad together, tasting as they went. The Russett potatoes can also be used, but they don't like the starchiness of them.
Gold and red potatoes (with skins)- amount varies depending on portion needed and size of potatoes.
Yellow mustard (start with tsp and go from there)
Sweet pickle relish
Green onion
Wash and dice potatoes. Boil until done (al dente). Fork should insert smoothely without potato falling apart. Drain and cool potatoes then add rest of ingredients to taste, mix thoroughly and sprinkle with parsley. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The longer the salad sits, the better the flavor.
Steve's Guacamole
Green chilies (preferably roasted anahiems)
Salt to taste
The key to this recipe is the texture! Mash the avacados, grate the tomatoes, dice the onion, dice the green chilies and add salt to taste. You can make it more "salad like" by chopping everything chunkier. Save at least one avocado seed to put into the center to make it look pretty! Serve with favorite type of chips.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Recipes- Tuna Mandarin Croissants

Here's just a simple update to a tuna sandwich for your lunch or next brunch event. I served this at potlucks cut into 1/2 or 1/3 pieces and just made it the other week during a week-long-scrap with the girls
Make sandwiches just as you would for regular tuna-fish sandwiches except substitute Mandarin oranges for the pickles. The amount you make depends on the number of sandwiches you are making. Sorry that this photo doesn't do justice to the sandwich- it is really good!
Tuna Mandarin Croissants
1 Small can of Mandarin Oranges- drained
1 Can tuna fish packed in water
Best Foods Mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper to taste (last time I didn't put in enough so make sure to do a taste test!)
Large croissants (I prefer the Costco ones)
Mix the tuna with small amounts of mayo until you get the consistency you want (less runny, the better since the oranges will add a little bit of their own juice). Carefully fold in the oranges and then salt/pepper to taste. Slice the croissants lengthwise (you can lightly toast if you want) and then place the mix inside.  For the day of this photo, I served it with grapes and THE.BEST. pickled asparagus from McSweet. Look for them on their website or on Facebook. I love their entire line!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cleaning and Organizing- Emptying The Fridge {shudder}

This is the photo I've ever taken. I was cleaning a few things out of the fridge- nothing horrendous, nothing moldy. Once started, I couldn't stop my self and started looking at condiments and such.  Here's what I ended up with.  I am ashamed.
Ignore non-paint trim & particle board counters- we're remodeling
Snow Cone Syrup- not sure how long we've had this but pretty sure it's over a year. Yuck.
Sundried Tomatoes- didn't realize these expired but the date said '08. huh.
Yogurt- What??? Well, my kids weren't thrilled with the dual squeeze up kind and the rest I blame on the grocery store.  I swear we didn't buy them that long ago but I had to toss out 4 kids' and 3 regular containers. Hubby would have probably eaten but -I don't know- I didn't want to gamble with the kids' lives.
Parmesan Cheese and Minced Garlic- I couldn't find an expiration date but we've had it quite I prefer the real stuff

Cranberry Mustard- bought this for an event around Christmas and it was hiding
Coffee- WTH?? Have NO idea how that happened! And Starbucks on top of it!
Package of Flank Steak- My bad. Shoved it somewhere and forgot it was in there.
The Pickle Jar- ...running joke with my hubby and his love affair with pickle juice. He puts it in EVERYthing! String beans, potatoes, get the idea. I bought a fresh jar and didn't want to keep two in there (they're huge).
Creamer- I started a diet and so couldn't finish this and since it was Pumpkin, nobody else would touch it.
1/2 an avocado, 3/4 bag of lettuce, 1/2 package of corn (which the kids begged for), 3/4 Costco size of grapes, and a lemon- Well, I'll take responsibility for the lemon (bought to make more baklava that I never did) and the corn since I should have made for dinner but the rest is the families fault.  They ask for these veggies but nobody eats them.
Costco Muffins- my BIG irritation! These are a luxury so don't know WHY the begged-for-items were not eaten and with the ridiculous high calories, I wasn't about to devour them....slathered in butter...warmed in the oven...OK- that's why we don't buy them that often!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Eatin' Out 'N' About at Trotters ~ Auburn, WA

Trotter's Restaurant
825 Harvey Road
Auburn, WA 98002
(253) 833-2323 Not online or on FB
I have not been here in forever! We used to live down the road so came here a couple times but it was years ago. My hubby had baseball practice in Kent at 8am on a Sunday so afterwards we went for a 6 mile bike/run (I bike, he runs), and decided to treat ourselves by having breakfast out. Since we had no kids, it made for a nice date!

Trotters has a very hometown feel.  The seats probably should be replaced and the bathroom could be remodeled but it is so kitchy, it just reminds you of being at Grandma's! As we sit there ordering, we overhear the table next to us chatting with the waiter and they tell him they always ask for him if he's not there and how wonderful he is.  These kind of comments are rare nowadays so it's nice to be at a place that is like family. I also have to add that the background music was kind of old-time/classical and suddenly Hubby says, "It's DISNEY music!" (he's a Disney Freak).  It wasn't the regular movie-music but the kind they play like on Main Street so this put him in an extra good mood LOL
Though we could have had lunch, my heart was set on breakfast and I'm so happy that we did- it was soooso good! Since we wanted it all, we ordered two separate things and split our dishes. Mine was sourdough toast (with the YUMmest jelly....why can't I find that kind in the stores?), hash browns, and scrambled eggs with ham, cheese, and onions with a side of orange juice.
Dave ordered black coffee, biscuits and gravy, hash browns, and eggs over medium.  I was craving gravy so was grateful we were sharing! I know it was all very simple but everything was really good. Makes me regret we stopped coming here! As we leave, I see the big wall display of sundaes so you can bet that's what we're getting next time...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Favorite Things Right Now: beauty, TV, clothing accessories and electronics

Here's some of my favorite things at the moment:
J.R. Watkins Hand Soap
My WHOLE family adores this hand soap!  At first I didn't want to spend the extra $ but you can totally tell the difference from the cheap-ies...soap is not just soap!  Now we're totally addicted!  The 5 yr old asked if we can put another bottle in the upstairs bathroom, too.
Cover Girl Olay Simply Ageless Serum Primer
I've been eye-balling primers but they can be pretty pricey so when I came across this one day for around $15, I had to pick it up! Promoted as a "3 minute face lift", it helps with elasticity and fills in the lines/wrinkles to help your foundation go on smoother -making you look younger.  The best part is, you can use without foundation so it is an instant pick me up!
Downton Abbey
LOVE this show!!!!  From PBS it's now only available for purchase and to rent.  It's SO, SO good! Reminds me of Upstairs, Downstairs
Eternity Scarves
Having a little love affair with these right now.  With all my running around, I hate when I lean over and my scarf goes into my food, etc the perfect solution is a scarf that is a complete circle.  Pics shown here are with jewelry pins which I wouldn't wear but ...
Normally I am a "pointy-toe-shoe-gal" wanna-be (that's a story for another day) but I bought a pair of grey flat boots similiar to these at Target and they have been MY.FAVORITE. I don't even take them off when I get home.  And the best part is...when I'm out, my heels don't get stuck in the sidewalk!
Hubby's Camera
Since my camera "broke" (Canon S3IS) this technically is Hubby's camera but I've loved using it!  It's a Nikon D40X. Ours has this HUGE lens (18/135 millimeter).  Right now I'm a little frustrated though because my flash keeps getting stuck in the down position but I -seriously- think it's worn out from overuse!....I'm not taking the blame for breaking another camera though...
T Mobile My Touch 4G
MY NEW PHONE!  I am TOTALLY loyal to T-Mobile so will be with them forever. I got my first smart phone two years ago but cancelled the internet to save money. But when my daughter needed a new phone and the special was buy one, get one FREE...I had to go for it! I'm absolutely in love with my apps! I have no need for an actual Kindle (the app is free and the touch screen is nice), I don't have to worry about forgetting my big navigator, and if the kids forget their DS, I can click on the Angry Birds game! I also like "My Days" App to keep track of your womanly cycle, when you take your pill (I use it for remembering my allergy shot) and you can keep track of when you're fertile which we are SO not interested in!  My 5yr old son's favorite app is my flashlight which actually has three brightness levels, and Hubby's is Disneyland Wait Times app which shows you -in real time- the line wait for the rides at Disneyland (so cool).