Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Tired of lettuce salad?
Here is a new colorful and tasty salad for you.
I fixed it along with rice and grilled fish 
topped tropical salsa.

This recipe is from Rachael Ray
with a few additions of my own.

 Colorful and easy.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

 1- 14 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups of frozen corn
1 red pepper, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. hot sauce
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. parsley flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for
15 minutes before serving.

This is the tropical salsa.
It was delicious on fish. It would be delicious on anything.
 Go here for the recipe. Just be careful about the
jalapeno seeds, three of us got choked up over one.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Creamy Italian Chicken & Pasta

I was hungry for something comforting for dinner.
Something with pasta and a cream sauce.
I remembered I had some wheat penne pasta
and that made me feel better about cooking
my comforting dish.

Slice three large chicken breast in half and fry in
a little butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
Crush a large garlic clove and spread a little on top
of each piece of chicken.

Remove chicken from skillet and slice and handful
of grape tomatoes in half and lay the cut side down.

 Saute tomatoes until a little browned.
Remove from skillet and add to chicken.

Add 1/3 cup of white wine to deglaze the pan.
Simmer until half. Add your cream and milk
and cook until slightly thickened.

 Add chicken and tomatoes back to the skillet
and top with fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.
Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

 Serve on a bed of whole wheat penne pasta. Dig in. Be comforted.

Creamy Italian Chicken & Pasta

3 chicken breast, sliced in half
2 Tbsp. butter
1 large garlic clove, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

a handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup half and half
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. parsley flakes
fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Slice chicken breast in half. Melt butter in skillet.
Add chicken and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Crush a garlic clove and spread a little on top of
each piece of chicken. Fry until both sides are browned.
Remove chicken from skillet and add grape tomatoes
with the sliced side down. Saute until browned.
Remove from skillet and pour in wine. Simmer
until it reduces to half. Whisk half and half, milk
and cornstarch together. Pour into wine and
simmer until slightly thickened. Return chicken
and tomatoes to the skillet and top with cheese.
Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve over pasta.

Taste your sauce for salt and add as needed.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mashed Potatoes

Eating healthy is still my new year's
resolution and I am trying to stick to it.
So I made mashed potatoes tonight
without sour cream or cream cheese.

Before I would have used butter, sour cream and cream cheese.
This time it was butter and a little whole milk mozzarella.

I asked Josh his thoughts and
he said they were better than
the regular, loaded mashed potatoes.

The recipe is not in measurements.
Just follow the photos.

 Cook 4 large red potatoes (diced) until tender.
Drain and return to your burner on low heat.
Add a nice chunk of butter.

 Get out a mashing device of some kind and mash away.
Lumps are okay. I promise.

 Grab your milk from the fridge and pour in a nice amount.

 Sprinkle in some, salt, pepper, garlic powder (lightly) 
and dried chives.

I am in love with this cheese. It's delicious. 
It's the only mozzarella I buy. 
You will need to know this for the next step.

 Then add a few clumps of mozzarella cheese.
Stir until melted.

 The cheese adds a new flavor. It's delicious.

Accompany with steak and some greens.

 Duke amused me as I was washing dishes.
He just kept looking up, not sure if he saw a squirrel or what.
What a great metaphor for us, keep gazing heavenward,
and remember why God has placed you on this earth.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Roast Beef and Spinach Wraps

We had small group tonight and
I had very little time to plan
what kind of snack to take.

So I stopped by the store and grabbed some 
wheat tortillas, roast beef, spinach and mozzarella cheese.

 Heat tortillas in the microwave so they are pliable.
Spread a little mayo on one half of the tortilla.
Top with two slices of roast beef, a slice of mozzarella cheese,
sprinkle on a little feta cheese, drizzle with Sweet Baby Ray's,
and top with a handful of spinach.

Fold in both sides and...

 ... and roll like... well a roll...

 ... secure both ends with a tooth pick, and slice down the middle.

Tadaa you have a colorful, flavor filled wrap.
Repeat this process as many times and necessary.
The possibilities are endless with this kind of snack.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Valentine's day is a special day for me.
Not just because of the warm fuzzy
feelings from flowers and cards.
It's the day, two years ago, Josh proposed
to me and asked me to be his wife.

Those of you who are tired of my
stories- don't feel like you have to
read the rest. I enjoy reading proposal
stories and such, but I know it's boring to some.

It had snowed and Josh wanted to have
me over for dinner on Sunday. I didn't
suspect much until I got there.
He had set up a table just for us
in front of the fireplace, and
he was dressed to kill.
We enjoyed a lovely dinner together.

Fine dining indeed.

Created by the chef, Josh.

After dinner he gave me this map...

... and a big pair of camo boots to wear.

The first treasure...

... the second treasure...

... the third treasure.
I looked at the tree and looked at him...
and gobbled him up with a "yes!"
Little did we know his family was
watching through the binoculars.

He also gave me a lovely engagement watch.

Today I love him even more! I feel so blessed.

The tree is on our land and we hope to go
visit it today and take the chisel with us
to make sure the letters are still readable.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches

My husband is a chocolate chip cookie lover.
If I make any cookie other than chocolate chip,
I ask him if he likes them.
His reply is always,
"They are not as good as chocolate chip."
In some ways it frustrates me
because I think he should branch out.
In other ways it makes me happy
because he knows what he likes.
So last night I made him chocolate chip
cookies and froze them in bags for his lunches.

Here is a new creation I came up with 
so he can enjoy his cookies in another way.

A wonderful Valentine's idea.
You could shape the cookies into hearts.
Here is the cookie recipe I have posted before.
Simply add vanilla ice cream between two cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup lard or Crisco
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter, lard and sugars. Add ingredients as listed.
Set in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes.
Scoop on tray and bake for 8-9 minutes.

p.s. You must use the lard or Crisco, 
it's what makes these cookies soft.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Easy Chicken Quesadilla's

Need a quick and tasty meal?
Here is the recipe for you.

I bought wheat tortillas and topped
them with chicken, veggies and cheese.

Lay tortillas on a tray a top with toppings of your choice.

 I would have preferred mozzarella cheese but 
cheddar and feta worked.
Top with another tortilla and flatten together with your hands.
Broil on 400 for 8-10 minutes.

 Waa-laa you have a meal!

Chicken Quesadilla's

1 lb. chicken, cooked and diced
wheat tortillas
green pepper slices
onion slices
black olives
sour cream
fresh salsa

Lay tortillas on tray. Sprinkle on toppings. Top with another
tortilla and press with hands. Broil at 400 for 8-10 minutes,
or until cheese is melted and top is crispy.
Slice and serve with sour cream and fresh salsa.

You could also fry one tortilla in a skillet
with the toppings on one side and fold it over
like a omelet once the cheese is melted.
The disadvantage to broiling them is that the
underneath side isn't crispy. You could
flip them half-way through if you are
crazy about both sides being crispy.
Add lots of cheese- this helps to 
hold both sides together.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sewing Retreat 2012

It's that wonderful time of year again.
The time when all of Joshua's Aunts
get together for a week and sew.

Here are some photos to document
what all happened this week.

Claire with a princess backpack she made for her niece.
The most detailed backpack you will ever find.

It's equipped with a zip out carriage and the lost slipper.
She made the doll from scratch- a work of art indeed.
The princess has three hats to choose from,
and the backpack has a wind-up music box.
Too many bells and whistles to list.

Aunt Barbara with another intricate star quilt.

Aunt Emily creating a wall hanging for her mother-in-law.

Mom cutting a border for her quilt she pieced a few years ago.

Aunt Polly's wedding quilt for her son Timmy.
What a special gift.

 Aunt Julia's creations- the striped quilt
is made from Grandfather's shirts. 

 Aunt Coleen's beautiful quilt blocks.

Aunt Cheryl's Valentine's quilt she is giving to herself.
I think it's a wonderful gift.

Aunt June's velvet fans.

Julian sewing on her last border.

Polly ad Jolene talking 'quilt' talk.

Some of the great Aunt's came to visit.

Grandmother taking a break the right way.

This morning everyone came up to our house for a brunch.

Hannah and the other Hope helped me with the food.

I fixed stromboli and filled it with all different kinds
of breakfast meats: bacon, ham, sausage.

Fried apples like Cracker Barrel's.

Delicious crepes made by my sister-in-law, Hope.
Sorry Hannah, I missed your yummy hash browns.

 I was able to sew some summer dresses.

What a wonderful week of fellowship.
I feel blessed to be a part of this family.