Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Almond lace cookies

Whoa Momma! I made these cookies on Saturday and, using a teaspoon measure this recipe made about 6 dozen cookies (and I think when my cousin April and her hubby were over they ate half of them, ROFL!!) they're really, really good!

Almond Lace Cookies


1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped Almonds
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Place half the oatmeal and almonds in bowl of food processor and grind until almonds are finely ground, pour into mixing bowl.
  2. Melt margarine and pour over oat and almond mixture.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together.
  4. Mix dry ingredients in with margarine and oats.
  5. Beat eggs and vanilla together.
  6. Blend this in the oats mixture.
  7. Cover cookie sheets with foil.
  8. Drop by teaspoons onto cookie sheet.
  9. Do not preheat oven.
  10. Bake at 325 F.
  11. for 8-11 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool before removing from foil.
I didn't get a camera for Christmas, but I will get one soon.. I promise :D

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And now, my #1 favorite cookie.. EVER

Rainbow cookies (or Venetians as they are sometimes called) are my #1 favorite cookie Ever.. and after the first time I made them I understood why they are $7.99 a pound at the bakery. They are a LOT of work.. but the results are always so amazing that it is so worth the effort :)

Rainbow cookies

7 ounces almond paste
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup margarine or butter, room temp
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour, Sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
15 drops green food coloring
15 drops red food coloring
2/3 cup apricot preserves (pressed into a coarse sieve to remove any large pieces of fruit)
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening


1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease 3 8"x8" metal baking pans. After greasing, line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, smoothing the paper down onto the pan. Grease the tops of the parchment paper and then flour the pans. Put aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, Beat together on medium-high speed the Almond Paste, Sugar, Almond Extract and butter until well blended. (there might be some small lumps of Almond Paste remaining and that's fine.).

4. Reduce speed to medium and beat in the eggs one at a time until blended.

5. Reduce speed to low and then add the flour and salt slowly to the mixture until combined.

6. Take two small bowls and add 1 rounded cup of batter into each bowl. (there should be another rounded cup of batter still in the original mixing bowl.).

7. Add 15 drops of red food color to one bowl and 15 drops of green food color to the other. Stir each bowl until evenly blended with color.

8. Spoon the untinted batter into one pan. With metal spatula spread batter evenly (layer will be about 1/4 inch thick). Repeat with red batter in second pan and green batter in remaining pan.

9. Bake until set and toothpick inserted in center of layers comes out clean. 10-12 minutes.

10. Cool in pans on wire rack about ½ hour. Cake should be cool to the touch.

11. Run tip of knife around side of pans to loosen layers.

12. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface that will be able to fit in refrigerator.

13. Take the green layer and flip over pan onto parchment paper. Gently pull off the parchment paper. Spread 1/3 cup of apricot preserves onto the green layer.

14. Take the untinted layer and remove from pan. Place it onto the green layer with the wax paper side up. Press down gently and then remove the parchment paper.

15. Spread remaining 1/3 cup of Apricot preserves onto the untinted layer.

16. take the remaining red layer and remove from pan and place upon the white layer again with the parchment side up. Press down gently and remove the parchment.

17. In a 1 quart saucepan, heat chocolate and shortening over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted.

18. Spread melted chocolate mixture on top of the red layer evenly. Do not put mixture on sides.

19. refrigerate until chocolate is firm, at least 1 hour. (at this point, if you want, you can cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days before serving).

To serve, with a large sharp knife, trim about 1/4 inch from the edges. Cut the stacked layers into 6 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 6 pieces. You will get 36 square cookies from this.

Place the cookies in a single layer in a waxed paper lined container. They can be refrigerated for up to one week or freeze up to 3 months. These cookies must be kept in the fridge.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We’ll start with the Appetizers

The first cookbook I ever got was from my mom, she knew that I loved to experiment in the kitchen and I was always going over to cook with my Gram. I absolutely love this cookbook and in it is the most amazing recipe for stuffed mushrooms and whenever I make then everyone raves about how amazing they are. The second appetizer that I make is one that is The Kid’s absolute favorite! They are Salami cornucopia’s with a horseradish and cream cheese filling. I got this recipe in a packet when I was in college from one of the Chef’s and I’ve made it every year since. It’s very simple, but it makes a really nice presentation on a platter with other things and people always ask what it is. The horseradish and cream cheese mixture is very pleasant and the creaminess of the cream cheese takes a lot of the bite out of the horseradish and you can use store bought or fresh horseradish for this one (of course in school we used the fresh one)

Salami Cornucopia’s with Horseradish cream cheese


1 lb. Genoa Salami, thinly sliced, cut into halves
1 8oz package cream cheese (whatever kind you like), softened
1 Tbs. Fresh lemon juice
2-3 Tbs Horseradish
1Tbs dried parsley (for this I prefer dried, if you use fresh you have to wash it and squeeze it out in a piece of cheesecloth to remove some of the green color, otherwise it will turn your cream cheese green *yuck*)

  1. Stack your salami nice and neat and cut the circles in half, place in a piece of plastic wrap or a zipper bag and put back in to the refrigerator for now.
  2. In a bowl mix together Cream cheese and lemon juice until creamy.
  3. Add horseradish, being careful not to add too much of the liquid if you are using jarred.
  4. Once it is all combined stir in the parsley.
  5. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator about 30 minutes or until firm.
  6. Take the salami out of the fridge and on a platter or a piece of parchment paper start rolling up the salami half-circles by taking one corner and turning it towards the center and wrapping the other end around, like a paper cone, setting them seam side down.
  7. Remove the cream cheese mixture from the fridge and with a rubber spatula carefully put into a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip. I usually squeeze about a tablespoon of the mix into each salami and it’s perfect.

The Kid will happily eat this spread with salami on bread as a sandwich (Like I’ve said before, he’s not like any other 12 year old I’ve ever known, he is not picky about what he eats and likes things pretty much no other kid I knows likes to eat.)

Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

These are, in my opinion The best Stuffed mushrooms in the world!

1 lb medium mushrooms
1/4 cup Finely chopped green onions
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. parsley
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350°f

Remove stems from mushrooms and chop finely. Cook and stir mushroom stems, green onions and garlic in margarine over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in remaining ingredients.

Fill mushroom caps with stuffing mixture. Place mushrooms, stuffing side up, in greased baking dish.

Bake for 15 minutes, serve hot.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

And today.. Cookies

So I finally got around to baking some cookies today. I made some almond cookies and a HUGE batch of Mexican chocolate cherry cookies (which are my #2 favorite cookies in the world!) This makes 5 dozen cookies alone, but I just made one batch of these guys today (cause I've been craving them for Weeks!)

Mexican Chocolate Cherry Rounds

2¾ hours | 2½ hours prep

SERVES 30 , 2 cookies


6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup powdered sugar
60 candied cherries, halved

  1. Stir chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water until smooth; cool.
  2. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients in medium bowl.
  3. Using electric mixer, beat 1 3/4 cups sugar and butter in large bowl until light.
  4. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then vanilla and chocolate.
  5. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating just until combined.
  6. Chill dough until firm, about 2 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  8. Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets.
  9. Place powdered sugar in shallow pan.
  10. Form dough into 1-inch balls.
  11. Roll each ball in sugar to coat; shake off excess sugar.
  12. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart.
  13. Press 1 cherry half into center of each cookie.
  14. Bake until cookies puff and crack but are still soft, about 10 minutes.
  15. Transfer cookies to rack and cool completely.
  16. (Cookies can be prepared ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month.).
I'll be doing more baking on Wednesday, and I'll be sure to post some about that. In the meantime I've gotta get these cookies put away and find some time to wrap some presents.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Well, the good news is that the tree is up...

The bad news.. (okay, not really bad, but still..) I haven't had time to make any cookies yet.

Getting the tree was a total fiasco.. The Kid and I took a walk to Home Depot.. only to find they didn't have one tree left, not even a Charlie Brown tree.. and the only other place around here was half a mile away, so I figured if need be we'd get the tree and take a taxi home... I stopped and grabbed some cash and off we went to go and get a tree...

$40 for a Christmas tree!?! I wanted to pass out... but in the Spirit of Christmas and not to let my child down I plunked down all the cash I had on me and we carried this monstrosity of a tree home.. (the guy could have tied it up a little better) with myself on one side and The Kid (who is, respectively at least 3 inches taller than me now) we've each got our share of bruises on our legs from the tree carrying journey. We got home just as it started to snow (again) secured the tree onto the stand and strung on the lights and added the ornaments and now there is this beautiful tree standing in between the kitchen and living room.

Now, it's officially Christmas..

Tomorrow, Cookies.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It’s crunch time

I am so unbelievably behind in everything this year I’m really ashamed of myself.. I don’t have my Christmas tree up yet, my first batch of sugar cookies has come and gone (and half of it baked into one giant glob thanks to The Kid, they were edible though, lol) Close to nothing has been wrapped yet and It’s a Freaking Snowstorm here in NY today!

I’m on a mission to get my Christmas tree tomorrow, come Hell or high water that tree will be up and decorated tomorrow and I’m determined to either get some cookie dough made tonight (and bake it tomorrow) OR get some of these presents wrapped tonight.. All my Christmas shopping is done (so that’s one thing that I don’t have to worry about anymore) Gifts have been shipped to my sister and a few friends who I won’t be seeing.

I have a few tried and true Christmas cookie recipes that I always make and if I get the time I really want to try a few new ones.. But since going out to the grocery store is out of the question today (and possibly tomorrow) Whatever I need I’m going to have to add to my peapod order that I have scheduled for Sunday (they had already blacked out today and tomorrow yesterday for the oncoming storm) It's not really Christmas in my book until the cookies are baked.. so Bring it on!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yee Haw.. Cowgirl Chocolates.. Mmmmmm!!!

I love surprises, really.

Packages have been coming to my door on an almost daily basis.. I hate shopping (really) I don't want to stand on line, I don't want to deal with crowds or nasty sales people.. or worse, trek all the way to the store only to find they don't have what I'm looking for.. so to avoid all that nonsense I do most of my shopping online.. and thanks to Wonderful sites like Smoking Hot Deals and My Bargain Buddy where I find the hot deals and coupon codes that I need to bag just what I'm looking for at the prices that I'm looking for too.

After one minor box opening incident by The Kid early on in the season he has managed to keep his grubby paws off unless he has the go ahead, so when an unexpected box came in the mail yesterday I asked him to open it.. I had no idea what in the world could be inside.. there was only one package that was planned, so while we were on our after school phone call I asked him to open the box, and with all the ooh's and ahh's I was wishing I was there... so when I finally asked him.. Well, what's in the box? He said to me.. a little red box from Cowgirl Chocolates.. so I thought back to myself... did I ever order a freebie from them? No.. Hmm.. I had no clue.. so my only instructions to the kid were to NOT open the box of chocolates and please put them in the Fridge... and then I had to find out what this Cowgirl chocolate was all about.. so to Google I went... and there was One lone blogger that had already blogged about these mysterious chocolates that had found there way to my door.

Well, once I got home I was prepared to start sampling the chocolates in the box.. not your average chocolates either, these are chocolates with a kick.. each one is wrapped in a different colored foil wrapper and it comes with a little guide as to what's what.. Being the sharing, caring mommy that I am, The Kid and I have split each one that has been tried.. and every one has been absolutely outstanding. I have been eyeballing that Habanero Caramel, but something inside me is telling me not to go there.. at least.. not yet. We have tried the Raspberry Dark Chocolate, which was so amazing and even though in the Spicy category, it had a nick kick but was very pleasant. Double Dark chocolate, which was absolutely delicious, creamy and smooth and just tonight we sampled the Raspberry Lemon, which popped when I bit into it and had a lovely, creamy almost liquid center and a very true to life raspberry lemon flavor.

I'm taking it one day at a time with these chocolates, slowly savor my tiny package of unexpected chocolates.. and I will let y'all know what I think of the rest as they are tried..

Ciao :)


PS.. we've tried them all.. and they're all unbelievably amazing!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Apple Cinnamon Ornaments (non-food post)

My mom had a box of Christmas ornaments that always made their way onto the tree no matter what (and I would give my right arm to have them today) but the one ornament that I remember the most is the little Gingerbread man ornament that my sister made when she was in Kindergarten, he was a little cinnamon scented guy with pink and white trim. Even after 14 years of hanging on the Christmas tree he never lost that scent.

I came across this recipe a few years ago when I wanted to make these ornaments with The Kid but for some reason I never got around to making them.. at least, not until now.

Makes 10 -14 decorations


  • 1 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon fragrance oil (apple, cinnamon,range or your own choice)
  • 2 tablespoons white craft glue
  1. Mix in a bowl the cinnamon and cloves.
  2. Add to this applesauce, oil and the glue.
  3. Knead this mixture for a few minutes til you have a firm but pliable dough.
  4. Too wet, add more cinnamon--too dry, add more applesauce.
  5. Roll the dough out on a surface dusted with cinnamon, 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters [x-mas tree, hearts, stars, etc].
  7. Make a hole in the top with a wooden or metal skewer, this must be large enough for ribbon if you want them for hanging.
  8. Air dry them for several days on paper kitchen towel, turning them over several times so they don't warp.

Impatient, try the quick dry method:

  1. A low oven [200°F] for a few hours will also do the trick, don't forget to turn them over.
  2. When dry, decorate with a ribbon.
  3. You can also use shallow plaster, cookie and candy molds, press the dough in the cavity, smooth with a rolling pin, ease out of the mold and cut away the excess dough.
  4. Or roll out the dough, place a piece of decorative lace on the top, using the rolling pin go over it until it has left an impression of the lace, then cut out using the cookie cutters.
  5. You also get a nice result using cookie stamps.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Spaghetti Carbonara

I am truly blessed with a child who will eat just about anything (really, the only thing he won't eat is avocados and pepperoni cheese) He's never been a picky eater so it was no surprise to me when I was in college he ate everything I would bring home and for the longest time salmon was his favorite food (yea, that was a strange thing coming from a 4 year old, lol)

After seeing a post on foodgawker yesterday I had Spaghetti Carbonara on the brain.. I wanted it.. but I had to make a run to the store to get a few things, and being the high yesterday was 27°F that was not going to happen, so I had to settle for leftover lasagna last night... sigh, lol.

Today though it was nearly 50°F, so making a run to the supermarket at lunchtime was no biggie, I made my list, stashed my reusable shopping bag into my purse this morning on my way out the door and when noon rolled around I was out the door like a bat outta hell. I got everything I needed and shoved it into the tiny fridge at work and even through the mediocre gyro I had for lunch (from a local diner that delivered a freakin' hour later!) I couldn't wait to get home and make dinner.

As soon as I got home I got cracking on dinner.. mmmmmmmmmmmm.. nothing like hearty And quick.. yay!

Spaghetti Carbonara
makes 3 generous servings

1 12 oz. box spaghetti
5-6 pieces bacon, cubed (I used turkey bacon)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. olive oil
freshly ground pepper
2 eggs
1/4 C grated parmesano reggiano cheese

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain well. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile in a large skillet,add diced bacon and cook for 1-2 minutes, Add chopped onion, and cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add minced garlic, and cook 1 minute more.
  3. Toss the cooked and drained spaghetti into the pan. Toss to coat and heat through, adding more olive oil if it seems dry or is sticking together. Add beaten eggs and stir it until eggs are barely set (Stir, stir, stir, for at least a full minute). Quickly add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and toss again. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that bacon and Parmesan are very salty) and cover for 2 minutes to let the flavors meld together
  4. Serve immediately with salad on the side (or your veggie of choice)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Today's Christmas cookie lesson

I wanted to start making my Christmas cookies today, so I asked The Kid if he wanted to help and he eagerly accepted my offer, so we went about just making sugar cookies today, I wanted to try out a recipe a little different from the usual recipe that I use and try making candy cane cookies by dyeing, flavoring and molding the cookies into candy cane shapes.

my dough came out too soft and I didn't want to add too much more flour so I just rolled them into balls and dropped them into some red and green sugar and let them be.. The Kid on the other hand, he wanted to try..

after several failed attempts ( like I said, the dough was quite soft) I told him to just roll them into balls like I did and they'd be alright..

well, apparently my son with the short attention span made SOFTBALL sized balls instead of golf ball sized, tried to pipe his name using a large round pastry tip (which came out alright) and made a snowman, who (funny enough) was smiling when he went into the oven, came out looking very indifferent (ROFL!!) Into the oven for 15 minutes and when the timer beeped I ran into the kitchen when he exclaimed "MOM.. OH MY GOD!" his cookie sheet was overrun with gigantic cookie blobs (see, this is what I get for not checking first and folding laundry) I was going to take a picture, but he's already pulled most of it apart.

Next week it's back to the old roll out sugar cookie recipe with the good old cookie cutters ;)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

YES!! It has arrived!

The Lemmings are here, the Lemmings are here... No, really.. My Lemming Central box arrived today and OMG.. Seriously people.. If you’re missing out on this, you have no idea what you’re missing out on.. Because for $20 you get SO MUCH STUFF.. Really.. I will try to get this ancient camera of mine up and running or y’all are going to have to suffer through cell phone pictures, lol..
Now, in all fairness every package (or stocking in the case this month, they usually come packaged in cellophane bags) is different, with samples from so many different companies you can’t put the same stuff in every one.. But for Christmas I ordered 2, one (of course) for myself and one to share amongst my friends to put in with their Christmas presents or stocking stuffers.. However I deem fit :)

Everything smells so amazing I can’t wait to start tearing into this stuff! I already have a Tart in my tart warmer and wow!

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's that time again....Lemming Central Holiday Boxes are On Sale NOW!

I get almost Giddy when these boxes go on sale.. they're like the Ultimate goodie box and in my honest opinion So worth the $20. I've been lucky enough to snag one for the past 4 sales (Every 2 months a new sampler box goes on sale) and I'm still using a lot of this stuff.. I've got bottles of lotion in my desk at work, in my bathroom, in my desk at home, in my purse, I pass them on to friends.. soap samples, bath bombs, candle tarts.. it's amazing at all the things (perfectly packaged, mind you) that goes into these boxes.

The Lemming Central Holiday boxes are on sale as of 11am this morning.. but by the looks of it they're going fast (I snagged 2 myself for gifts) so Hurry up and grab one while they're still available.. here's all the info that you need:

Holiday Sample Boxes On Sale Now

LC Holiday Sample Box sponsored by Soy Lovely is on sale right now! Don't miss out! Treat yourself or a friend to one, they make a great gift!
Be sure to look for your raffle ticket which will be stapled to the red flyer in each box. One lucky person with the winning raffle ticket will win a $100 Visa Gift Card!

The winning number will be posted on the LC Home page on Dec. 3rd.

Buy Your Holiday Box!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Coconut Custard Pie

So Thanksgiving has come and gone and now the Holiday season is officially upon us. I'm not looking forward to the colder weather (ahh, winter.. I hate the cold and snow) I suppose the only good thing about this ridiculous weather is that I can have the oven on and turn the heat down and my apartment smells yummy all the time :)

Today it's been raining.. all damn day and hovering around 37°f so to help ease this monster sweet tooth that I've had since I got up this morning I decided that I would make a coconut custard pie.. all the ingredients on hand and I haven't made one in a really, really long time.. So...

Coconut Custard Pie


  • 1 cup flaked coconut, divided
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pastry shell
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (14-ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 48 minutes (total)1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toast 1/2 cup coconut 5 minutes or until lightly brown; set aside.2. Bake pastry shell 8 minutes; cool slightly. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat eggs. Add sweetened condensed milk, water, vanilla, salt and nutmeg; mix well. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup coconut. Pour into pastry shell. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.3. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; bake 25 to 30 minutes longer or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool. Chill if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

This was so easy and it baked up absolutely perfect.. it's in the refrigerator chilling right now.. I can't wait to tear into it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


We really like eggnog around here, but I'm not too keen on that stuff they sell in the supermarket.. it just doesn't do it for me.. I've tried many different 'recipes, but just the thought of raw eggs in my drink makes me want to be physically ill... so I've done some research (and since the kid is a Nog lover too and we're non-alcoholic it's very easy to compromise)
I've come up with this recipe, adapted from a few that I've tested.

Eggless Eggnog (or, Just... Nog)


8 cups milk
1 (3 ounce) package jell-o instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  1. In large bowl, mix pudding with 1 cup milk.
  2. When pudding is thick, add remaining ingredients, mix very well.
  3. Chill.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hello Pumpkin! Pumpkin Maple pie with maple pecan topping

When I was a kid I wouldn’t eat pumpkin pie, my grandma always had Entenmanns (Ack! Store bought, mass produced) pumpkin pies at the Thanksgiving table, it looked gross to me, and I wasn’t having any part of that crap.

Move ahead a few years to the first time I made Thanksgiving and the very first time I made a pumpkin pie (because, really, what is Thanksgiving without a pumpkin and a pecan pie on the table?) I wasn’t going to just make any run of the mill pumpkin pie.. It had to be special..with some Ashley Pizzaz..

This is the pie that I made.. And that I have continued to make for the past 12 years

Pumpkin Maple Pie with Pecan topping

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter or margarine
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water


1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin-pie spice
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/3 cup corn syrup
1-1/2 cups pecan halves

1. Heat oven to 425°F..

2. Combine flour and salt in large bowl; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in water with fork until flour is just moistened.

3. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface into 12-inch circle. Fold into quarters. Place dough into 9-inch pie pan; unfold, pressing firmly against bottom and sides. Trim crust to 1/2 inch from edge of pan. Crimp or flute edge. Set aside.

4. In bowl, combine sugar, salt, and spice. Whisk in eggs, pumpkin, half-and-half, and maple syrup. Pour into unbaked pie shell, and bake 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 350°F, and bake pie 45 minutes more, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

5. In a large saucepan, combine sugars and corn syrup. Place over medium heat and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until sugar is completely dissolved, about 3-1/2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pecans. Evenly spoon over warm pie filling. Place in center of preheated broiler rack. Watch carefully and only broil until the topping bubbles. It will happen quickly! Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Pie can be served warm or at room temperature.

Refrigerate leftovers for up to two days.(HA! Like it ever lasts that long!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How do you prepare your turkey?

I’ve been making my turkey the same way for years and it’s always been foolproof. The first time I did it I almost passed out because it looked like the perfect turkey straight out of a magazine. My trick? Butter soaked cheesecloth! I didn’t have time for basting every half hour, not when I had a 9 month old to take care of.. So, from the pages of Parents Magazine I took their top turkey tip and, after loosening the skin and shoving globs of sage and pepper seasoned softened butter under the skin I draped it with a piece of butter soaked cheesecloth and then for the last half hour or so I tented it with a piece of aluminum foil. I did have to baste it a few times.. But not that much since the cheesecloth kept it nice and moist.

I don’t stuff my turkey, but I do toss some quartered onions, carrots, turnips and celery in the cavity (and then add those to the stuffing which I make separately)

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is 9 days away.. I’m usually a last minute Christmas shopper, but this year I’ve gotten a lot done. I am not one of those people you see in the stores on Black Friday.. You’ll find me seated comfortably in front of my computer doing my shopping that way. I don’t like crowds and I don’t like standing on line. Patience is a virtue.. But I deal with enough people in one day.. I don’t have the patience for that kind of nonsense Smilies Last year the only store I actually went to was Blockbuster to get a gift card.. Other than that, all my shopping was done online. I am a last minute wrapper though.. I often find myself up at 3am on Christmas eve getting presents wrapped (Now, I know that The Kid doesn’t believe in Santa Claus any more, but I do this to keep the dream alive) I did have to warn The Kid though this year, since he comes home before I do that there will be packages delivered and he is Strictly Forbidden from opening anything (Jeez, it’s not easy trying to keep a secret from a 12 year old)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's been a chili kinda day

I went to bed last night with a crippling migraine (of all the things I inherited from my mom, I had to get these damn migraines.. yea, thanks mom) when I got up this morning it was cloudy and damp.. and I still had a dull aching in my head. It was not the day full of baking or even really any kind of meaningful cooking like I was looking forward to. Today was one of the few days I was glad that The Kid likes to sleep until noon because I didn't feel bad laying in bed doing nothing but trying to ease this pain in my head.

I felt instantly horrible when The Kid finally got up and went to make some eggs and there were none.. so I got dressed and we took a walk over to 7-11 which is the closest thing to any kind of grocery I've got around here to get some eggs and while I was there I decided I would make some chili.. a pot of Mary's Magic chili was definitely the thing to make this dreary day a little better. It was nice to be able to do very little to have this great smell wafting through my little apartment, the only request from The Kid was "Please mom, no beans" (lol) so it was just a straight meat chili today.. yummy anyway :)

I'm hoping to get some baking done tomorrow.. I'm craving some pumpkin bread.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Venison.. YUM!

One of the ladies in my office has the sweetest hubby who was kind enough to ask me if I would like some venison that he got while hunting when he called to speak to her yesterday.. of course I said yes.. Venison.. Mmmmmmm!

When she came in this morning she handed me a bagWith 2 large steaks and one nice sized tenderloin all vacuum packed.. Oh JOY!!

I’m planning on making some Venison stew tonight, but if any of you have any good recipes you would like to share, I’m all for trying something new. Last year when I got Venison from her hubby I made a huge pot of tomato sauce with one of the packs of cubed venison that I got and it was so unbelievable. We're in for a nasty, rainy day tomorrow, so I might just do that again, or I might try something in the crock pot with the venison. I need some ideas though.

I will post more on my Venison Adventure tonight.


Ugh, well, ya know how they all say The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I'm on the bus on my way home and I realized I left the Venison in the work fridge.. DAMN! There goes my venison stew.. crap. Oh well.. I have a throbbing migraine, so I fixed up some ground beef with tomato sauce and spices and tossed it with some campanelli and called it a night. (well, I couldn't exactly let the kid starve could I? Free Smiley Face)

Oh well..
tomorrow is another day...

I'm out..

Free Smiley Face

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Scalloped Corn (Another Thanksgiving Recipe)

This is one of those sides that I could eat the whole dang thing.. but I manage to restrain myself, lol.

This is not strictly Thanksgiving.. I do make this during the year when I want something on the side that's a little fancy and substantial.

Scalloped Corn

6 Tbs Unsalted Butter
4 Tbs All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 Cups Milk
1 Tbs Sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
3 (11oz) cans Niblets corn, drained
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 Cup fresh bread crumbs (from 3 slices bread)

1. Heat oven to 350. Lightly grease 11x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a medium saucepan melt 4 Tbs butter over medium heat. With a wire whisk, stir in flour and cook 2 minutes

2. Gradually add milk, whisking until smooth; add sugar, salt and pepper. Cook 3- 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens; set aside and cool 5 minutes.

3. Place corn in a large bowl. Pour white sauce over corn and mix well. Stir in eggs until thoroughly combined. Transfer corn mixture into baking dish.

4. Sprinkle bread crumbs over corn. Cut remaining butter into small pieces; use it to dot the top of the casserole.
(I've also found that you can spray the top with some butter flavor cooking spray and it makes the whole top crispy and delicious)

5. Bake 30 - 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean

Whenever I make this P. totally devours it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

OMG.. it's almost Thanksgiving!

Sorry I’ve been so MIA lately.. Life happens, right.. Nothing can be done about the slight absences sometimes.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching I’ve been going through the recipe box in my head thinking about what to make for Thanksgiving. I always seem to make the same things over and over, no matter if I’m staying home and it’s just us or going to visit (I still like to have some Thanksgiving foods in my fridge to munch on for the long weekend ;) ) I have a lot of Thanksgiving recipes that I will be posting over the next few days, pics will follow shortly as I'm not making it all as it's being posted.

I made my first thanksgiving dinner 12 years ago when P. was just a little peanut. I made everything from scratch and I was so excited. It was the beginning of a great Tradition for me and the recipes that I used on that first Thanksgiving are the ones that I continue to use today.

One of the things that I’ve always made on my own (and never, ever will buy canned.. EVER) is Cranberry sauce, or in my case it’s more of a relish, chunky and beautifully ruby red and delicious.

(Pictures will get posted soon.. I like to make this a few days in advance to let it get set up nice like a good thick jam)

I will share this recipe with you guys today

Ruby Red Relish

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 (12 ounce) bag cranberries, rinsed and picked through
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon orange zest

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat bring sugar and water to a boil. Add cranberries, apples, cinnamon and allspice.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until cranberries pop - about 8 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir in orange peel.
4. This can be made up to 3 days in advance and stays in the refrigerator up to 7 days in a tightly sealed container. (but it never lasts that long, lol).

Monday, November 3, 2008

This is so completely off topic..

I figured I'd give y'all an advanced warning.. this is not food related in any way..

There’s nothing like a good book..

Or a whole freaking set of them in my case.. Sheesh, lol...

For over a year now my best friend has been on my case to read Twilight by Stephanie Meyer so when she told me the movie was coming out I broke down and got the book.. And I read it in 3 days (on the bus in the morning and after work!) I was at her house when I was about to finish it and she gave me the other 2 and then proceeded to order the 4th book as soon as I got home on Saturday afternoon that make up the set. When Patty said it was a book about Vampires I was a little put off, but it’s not the bloody, gory Vampire books that I’ve seen in the past.

This is a true love story, true in that love knows no bounds. I was absolutely engrossed! I finished the 2nd book, New Moon in one day and started on the 3rd, Eclipse yesterday afternoon and I’m already onto Chapter 7. It’s very easy to get into the story line and I’m really hoping that it never ends! After finishing twilight I ran over to Stephanie Meyer’s web site to see the trailer for the movie and wow.. I’m really hoping the movie lives up to the one that played in my head while I was reading the book. It’s like nothing that I’ve ever read before. There is a 5th book coming out, but someone posted a copy of the manuscript online and messed it all up for everyone.. So now we have to wait..

If you haven’t heard about twilight or have interest in fiction books like me, pick this up. I got my copy at Hot Topic for $10 (because chances are the library is out no matter where you live) I’m telling you, you will not be disappointed. If you've already read it.. let me know what you think. Are you going to see the movie? (I am, lol)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween.. A Special Treat for you

Happy Halloween

happy halloween Pictures, Images and Photos

If you have kids, have fun Trick or Treating, be safe and check all your candy (Sheesh, I’m such a mom, lol) I get it from my own mom, but I still go through the trick or treat bag and toss any candy that isn’t properly wrapped and anything that looks even moderately odd (there was once a man that gave P. a baggie (like a sandwich baggie) full of peanuts and pennies (okay, to me that was Totally odd, but anyway, lol) Just be careful because there are just so many weirdo's out there.

I thought I would share a (free!!!) Guilty pleasure with y’all today. I don’t remember how I found this, but I’m SO glad I did. Desserts Magazine!

You can go to their web site and browse through the current (and back) issues for free.. I’m In LOVE! You can sign up to have the issues delivered to your inbox for Free. (Instant Gratification.. Nice!)

Alright, already I’m in awe of this because one of the featured recipes is STEP-BY-STEP FRENCH MACARON by Helen of Tartlette. I love this Magazine! I’ve been wanting to try Macaron’s and I just have been too chicken to do so.. But I love to “spread my wings” around the holidays and try new recipes.. I’ve never really had a disastrous outcome.. The gingerbread cookies I tried last year weren’t that great, but still edible, lol.. I used to rent from a German woman who always brought me back Chocolate covered gingerbread cookies from Germany and I just can’t seem to recreate that same cookie no matter what I do.

I have a sneaky suspicion that I will be posting quite a few recipes from this issue.. So stay tuned.

As for now, I have to say Ciao.

I’ve got to get myself together to get outta here.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween :)
trick or treat Pictures, Images and Photos


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nothing like a warm bowl of Pasta E Fagioli

It was nice today, still cool but it is October after all so I can’t complain too much (even though I still do, lol) it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t near freezing like it’s been the past 2 days but I’ve been thinking about Pasta E Fagioli all week and the only thing I didn’t have was a can of beans.. But I got that taken care of on my way home tonight (yay)

Pasta E Fagioli (pronounced like Pasta Fazool) is one of my favorite dishes, it’s quick, hearty and can be served as a main dish or a side.. Tonight it was the main event with some fresh baked bread.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 diced onion
1/3 cup diced Prosciutto or you can use Italian sausage, removed from it’s casing and crumbled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 15-ounce cans Great Northern or Cannellini beans with their liquid
4 cups chicken broth
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 cups canned plum tomatoes, well drained and chopped
1 pound Ditalini or other small macaroni, cooked
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (Optional)

1. Combine oil, onion, prosciutto(Or Sausage, that’s what I use most often), and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent and begin to turn golden. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
2. Stir in beans and their liquid, add broth and salt & pepper and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes and return to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes
3. Stir in cooked pasta and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve hot, sprinkled with Pecorino Romano cheese, if desired.

This is something that my grandma made when I was a kid and I would sit there with the cheese and black pepper and ‘fix it up’ the way I liked it and would sit there with the bread sopping up every last bit.

Monday, October 27, 2008

This is Halloween...

Halloween was never really considered a fun Holiday once I passed the trick or treating age, but then The Kid came along and it was a whole 'nother story... I started getting those pumpkin carving kits and then I started doing them on my own when I was in culinary school, my front porch always had at least 3 or 4 wicked pumpkins adorning it. When I moved to this place being sort of front porch-less I stopped carving pumpkins (because you can't really see the pumpkin sitting on the side stoop, now can ya?) But this year The Kid almost begged me to get a pumpkin "Come on Mom, Pleeeeeeeeeeease?" So on Saturday we went over to Home Depot (which is the only place around that still had any pumpkins worth carving and half price too!) and picked up this Ginormous pumpkin (it had to be around 25 pounds). Yesterday afternoon we took the pumpkin outside and The kid had a little too much fun scooping the 'Guts' out (and throwing them at me, mind you) we saved the pumpkin seeds to maybe try and plant a few to see if we can grow our own pumpkin for next year and roast a few then we planned our mission, to carve a 'really cool' pumpkin with little help from mom, so we did a little pencil drawing and I gave The Kid my set of kid friendly pumpkin carving tools and he was on his way to becoming a carving master.

The Result.. . an Awesomely wicked pumpkin that looked downright evil with the right lighting..

After I took the picture I realized he needed a little help on his mouth.. but it was really freaking cold last night, so maybe I'll try again later on tonight :)

He's still pretty Wicked though.Photobucket

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Easy Apple cake

Or.. in my words "Holy Crap that was easy" Apple cake

I came across this recipe when I was looking through my recipe binder this afternoon, Craving something sweet and apple-y. I've had 3 McIntosh apples sitting on my kitchen counter for days and I've been waiting for the right recipe to come to me.. this is the one.

This is a really easy, absolutely delicious one bowl cake that results in a super moist cake that will have everyone asking for more. Try it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream.

Easy Apple Cake

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes

SERVES 12 -16


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup macintosh apples or other sweet apple, peeled, and chopped (you want to use a nice sweet apple)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Soften margarine.
  3. Mix all ingredients together in a lg. bowl.
  4. Bake in a buttered 8x8" baking dish, for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Let cool, cut, and then store in a plastic container.
I didn't have any walnuts, but I added 1/2 cup of raisins, and I also added some nutmeg and ground ginger to spice it up a bit.. YUMMY!!

I'm sitting here with a piece as I'm writing this (who cares that dinner isn't ready yet, lol)

In yet another "Holy Crap" moment today.. I tried out the old, Old camera and OMG, it's working! Probably not for long and the pics aren't that good,.. but check out the Apple cake!

Friday, October 24, 2008

If you can't have fun in the kitchen then what's the point?

Today was one of those days at work that started really slow, I got in at 8:45 and until almost noon it was pretty much dead (but that tends to be a typical Friday) so I went through my emails this morning when one particular blog caught my eye when reading something totally unrelated to food, lol.. Outblush is a blog dedicated to shopping... but it's dedicated to ALL kinds of shopping, not just clothes or gadgets or whatnot.. it's a little bit of everything baby! So, as I was browsing through Outblush I found some cool kitchen gadgets I wanted to share with y'all.
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Onion Action Goggles
(these come in Pink, black and white)

Serious foodies know when to take precautions. They also know how to up the ante in order to torment their friends.

Our Onion Action Goggles perform a duty (they are anti-fog and provide a foam seal against vapors) but primarily, they place the chef in a different league.

Okay, when I saw this one I thought of Chef Duff and the episode of Ace of Cakes when he makes the world's Largest cupcake, so freaking funny! I love that show, I wish I could work with a chef as cool as Duff, the only chefs I've ever worked for were total A-holes (and that's putting it nicely)

Giant Cupcake Cake Pan


Designed for the kid in all of us, this whimsical Wilton Giant Cupcake Cake Pan ($28) is sure to be a big hit at your next party. Great for birthdays, graduations, and anything in between, it's made of durable cast aluminum with a premium nonstick interior.

Slice Solutions PreCut Brownie Pan Set

(this is like that old fashioned ice cube tray my Grandma used to have when I was a kid!)
And now, for Outblush's good deed of the day: A fabulous (and fabulously new) excuse to—bake brownies. With this Slice Solutions PreCut Brownie Pan Set ($25), every piece comes out perfectly, no hacking away at baked goods required. Plus, the removable bottom makes it easy to pull brownies out of the pan without the stuck reside stuff. And by sectioning off your brownies, you can make a million—OK, 18—different kinds in one pan.

And last but not least:

Progressive Magnetic Measuring Spoons


How frustrating is it to begin baking, only to realize that you can't find the right measuring spoon. The Progressive Magnetic Measuring Spoons Set ($8) includes five measuring spoons that can be stuck to the fridge or nested together in a drawer for handy storage.
They make Measuring Cups too!
Progressive International Magnetic Measuring Cups
Remember, I'm a bit disorganized... one of these days I will have a kitchen that is bigger than a hallway with enough cabinet space to hold everything I have.. but hey, if I can stick my measuring spoons and cups on the fridge for easy access, I'm all for it :)

And those are my random thoughts for today..

Ciao :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A few random thoughts and a poll...

Ever get to work and start browsing food porn? (like FoodGawker, TasteSpotting or PhotoGrazing) then kick yourself for not having breakfast or start daydreaming about what you're going to make for dinner or start planning your shopping list.. It happens to me all too often, lol. My office has been pretty slow this week, but sometimes I wish I had a StealthSwitch for when I sense The Witch in the back office approaching from behind me. I've got a nifty little button in my taskbar though that takes me right to the desktop for when I sense a disturbance in the force. We don't have cubicles around here, it's pretty just one big, open office with the exception of the Witch in the back (she used to be a very heavy smoker and up until 2 years ago smoked here in the office, but never closed her door) and the attorneys (who rightly have their own offices and the Big Guy who likes to slam his heavy door when we're making too much noise or is pissed or whenever he feels like it pretty much), so you can't gt away with too much being on the computer and Instant messaging is a total no no.. even though most of us don't even have computer speakers.. it's still too easy to get caught goofing off, lol.

I've been meaning to make baked apples or something apple-y for days.. an apple dessert or something, anything really.. but I just cant' seem to find a recipe that I'm happy with.. so I'm open to any and all suggestions here.

Now, as Halloween is fast approaching and the store shelves are amass with candy I've got a question for all my fellow bloggers and foodie friends out there..

What is your favorite Halloween Candy? I have a bad sweet tooth for the sour things... although I can't stand sour Skittles (they burn my tongue!) but gummy sour anything I'm pretty much game for. I'll never forget the first time I gave The kid a sour starburst.. the look on his face was so funny.. but he loved them.. he ate almost the whole bag, lol!! I don't like Candy corn though, It's too sweet and just.. eww.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches

I have to say that I am so honored to be a part of Foodbuzz, it's a really great community of Foodies and people in general.
Contact: Allison Costello



Doug Collister





San Francisco – October 13, 2008: Foodbuzz, Inc., officially inaugurates its food blogger community with more than 1,000 blog partners, a global food blogging event and an online platform that captures the real-people, real-time power of food publishing in every corner of the world. At launch, the Foodbuzz community ranks as one of the top-10 Internet destinations for food and dining (Quantcast), with bloggers based in 45 countries and 863 cities serving up daily food content.

“Food bloggers are at the forefront of reality publishing and the dramatic growth of new media has redefined how food enthusiasts access tasty content,” said Doug Collister, Executive Vice President of Foodbuzz, Inc. “Food bloggers are the new breed of local food experts and at any minute of the day, Foodbuzz is there to help capture the immediacy of their hands-on experiences, be it a memorable restaurant meal, a trip to the farmers market, or a special home-cooked meal.”

Foodbuzz is the only online community with content created exclusively by food bloggers and rated by foodies. The site offers more than 20,000 pieces of new food and dining content weekly, including recipes, photos, blog posts, videos and restaurant reviews. Members decide the “tastiness” of each piece of content by voting and “buzz” the most popular posts to the top of the daily menu of submissions. Foodbuzz currently logs over 13 million monthly page views and over three million monthly unique visitors.

“Our goal is to be the number-one online source of quality food and dining content by promoting the talent, enthusiasm and knowledge of food bloggers around the globe,” said Ben Dehan, founder and CEO of Foodbuzz, Inc.


The Foodbuzz blogger community is growing at a rate of 40 percent per month driven by strong growth in existing partner blogs and the addition of over 100 new blogs per month. “The Foodbuzz.com Web site is like the stock of a great soup. The Web site provides the base or backbone for bloggers to interact as a community, contribute content, and have that content buzzed by their peers,” said Mr. Dehan.

Global Blogging Event

Demonstrating the talent and scope of the Foodbuzz community, 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs offered online food enthusiasts an international, virtual street festival of food and diversity. The new feature showcased blog posts from 24 Foodbuzz partner bloggers chronicling events occurring around the globe during a 24 hour period and included:

24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs” captures the quality and unique local perspective of our food bloggers and shared it with the world,” said Ryan Stern, Director of the Foodbuzz Publisher Community. “It illustrates exactly what the future of food publishing is all about – real food, experienced by real people, shared real-time.”

About Foodbuzz, Inc.

Based in San Francisco, Foodbuzz, Inc., launched its beta Web site, foodbuzz.com, in 2007. In less than a year, Fooduzz.com and its community of over 1,000 exclusive partner food blogs have grown into an extended online property that reaches more than three million users.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I knew it was coming, but it was still a kick in the ass

I got to work this morning..Freezing my butt off so I went to get a Caramel Macchiatto and my Starbucks was closed crying animated smiley Pictures, Images and Photos

I knew it was coming.. almost every Starbucks around here is closing (and with all the attorneys around here I was really shocked!) Apparently Dunkin Donuts pushed them out, but to be totally honest with y'all, I don't like Dunkin Donuts coffee, their Latte's are good, but the coffee itself is just too bitter for my taste. I was so mad that I didn't even bother going to Dunkin Donuts..but I may be compelled to go there at lunchtime, which is fast approaching as I'm writing this.. they finally turned the heat on in my office building, but it's still cold in here.

I'm really bummed about Starbucks.. I was there last week too when P. was with me on Monday and I didn't even see the sign on the door "This Starbucks will be closing as of October 16th", I'm thinking they didn't bother to put it up until Tuesday... I"m gonna miss me Peppermint Hot Chocolate and my Peppermint Mochas.. the Vivano wasn't too bad either.. Now I've gotta go and search The List to find out which Starbucks around here are going to be staying open.. Boo Hoo.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It's cold, and I don't like it

Once the weather drops below 50 I'm not a very happy camper, I don't like the cold, I'm not a huge fan of winter (and go figure, the Kid is a Winter baby) I was born in the summer and I like it Hot, once it's over 80° I'm happy.. (I might whine because I have no ac, but that's a given with anyone I think.) I love the long days of summer and being outside, catching fireflies, having dinner outside and not having to wear 3 layers of clothing to keep warm.

I woke up this morning and it really hit me.. HOLY CRAP! it was 42° outside and not much warmer in here.. my landlord still hasn't turned the heat on. I can't 'really go and bitch and moan to turn the heat on, but I'd like to! I'd also like to bitch about the party they had last night well into the early morning hours.. but then again I have to remember that this is not my house, I'm just renting here, but a little common courtesy would be nice.

Anyway, as I'm starting to veer to the left here let me get back on track.. because since it was so annoyingly cold in my apartment this morning I decided I was going to make pot roast in my crock pot, but I was out of my usual cream of mushroom soup.. damn.. in the very back of my cabinet I found a packet of vegetable soup mix, so I worked with that and it all turned out really good :)
1-4 lb pot roast
3 potatoes cut into chunks
1 packet Vegetable soup mix

Really, that's it. I started it off on low at 8am and at 12pm I flipped it over and cooked it another 4 hours. The meat totally fell apart and there was almost a full pot of gravy in there! Since P. likes his more of an au jus I left it as is and served some sauteed broccoli and garlic on the side with some freshly baked bread. ( I told you, it's cold in my apartment, so I turned on the oven to bake some bread too, lol)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vote in the Boobie Bake off!

Unfortunately I missed out on this one, I will join in next year though, I'm all for baking for a good cause
Save the TaTas Pictures, Images and Photos

boobie bake off

Hosted by Marye at Baking Delights here are all the details:

This is how it works. Choose one of the entries that you like and press the donate button. In the description area write the item you are voting for..you can use the number if you can’t remember the name. You can vote as many times as you like BUT each vote costs $1.oo You can vote until October 24th. On October 25 I will announce a winner, the amount that was collected and give each participant a button to post on their blog, if they want. By October 31 I will have sent the money to the Susan G. Komen Foundation in the name of the winner…and we will begin planning next year’s event!

Click right through the banner and place your vote :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sausage and Peppers, in the crock pot!

I'd been staring at the sausage in the pack in the refrigerator since Tuesday.. I kept saying I'll get around to it.. and I did.. last night, at 10:30.. I was getting ready to go to bed and I decided that I was just going to toss it all in the Crockpot and just give it a go.. if it didn't taste good I had chicken in the fridge.. so.. I did just that!

I lined the Crockpot with my trusty Reynolds liner and started layering..

1 whole onion chopped
1 bag of frozen mixed pepper strips (seriously people, these are the best things.. I can't spend $2.99 for a pound of peppers, I just can't.. it's insane unless I"m having a party or making a special dinner, these are like $1.49 for a 10 ounce bag of yellow, red and green at Stop and shop)
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 cup crushed canned tomatoes
2 Tbs. dried Italian seasoning

Chop up the onion and toss in first to make a layer at the bottom of the Crock

Take the skin off the sausage and toss it on top of the onions

Dump the bag of Pepper strips over the sausage

Pour in the tomatoes

Sprinkle Italian seasoning over tomatoes

Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours (or overnight if you're like me)

I turned the Crockpot on when I got home and heated this all up (it was in the fridge all day) and served it with some crusty Italian bread that I picked up on the way home.. It was so Freakin' good! there was a Ton of sauce and the sausage was all crumbly.. It wasn't Grandma's with the nice caramelized onions and peppers.. but it was still really good with very little effort.

OMG, I just realized this is my 100th blog post! WOW!!

Tomorrow I'm gonna have to post something really good :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Monster Cupcakes


I'm starting to see a trend lately.. gross looking food in preparation for Halloween. Now, my baby is getting a little too old to send to school with treats for his friends (I think they'd laugh at it now, in 7th grade) but it's never too late to share with y'all the fun I've had in the past. This was one of the most fun projects I had... and it was really both exciting and gross when I found the gummy goo filled bugs and spiders in the grocery store by work.. what better to decorate monster cupcakes with?

After letting the kid ask his classmates which kind of cupcake they wanted, vanilla or chocolate they voted for Vanilla and I went with my favorite Vanilla cupcake recipe

Easy One-Bowl Vanilla cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (can use 1-1/4 cup for a less sweeter taste)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening (very soft but not melted, Crisco is best)
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half cream (or milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla (or use 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract)
  • 2 large egg


Set oven to 350 degrees F.
1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour with sugar, baking powder and salt until combined.
2. Add in the shortening cream or milk, vanilla and eggs; beat on medium speed of an electric mixer scraping the bowl constantly until just blended (the batter will be thick, if desired you may add in a few more tablespoons cream or milk).
3. Pour into paper-lined regular size muffin tins filling under just three-quarters full.
4. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the cupcakes test done (do not overbake as they will be dry).
5. Immediately remove from pans.
6. Cool completely before frosting.

I frosted them with a mixture of cream cheese and marshmallow fluff once they cooled. While the cupcakes were in the oven I melted some semi sweet chocolate chips and carefully dipped large marshmallows until fully coated and placed them on a sheet of parchment to dry. Once they were dry I piped on a teeny drop of icing and 'glued' on 2 kissables (red hots are good too, I use those for Spiders) and with a fork dipped lightly in frosting I added fangs. I iced the cupcakes, added the monster heads and gummy, goo filled bugs for a creepy effect and they went into the fridge until the next morning. It's always fun to bring goodies to school.. but I wish I would have been there to see the faces of these kids when they saw what P. had in the pan.. he told me all about it.. but to see it all first hand would have been a blast!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Food and music (these are a few of my favorite things)

The words of the late Andrew Wood rang in my head while I was thinking of a title for this post: "Words and music, my only tools". I've always loved music, since I was a little kid listening to the oldies with my dad and classic R&B and rock & roll with my mom. I fell into my own when I first learned about college radio, I listened day and night, I became friendly with the DJ's and even got lucky enough to host my own show for a few nights (that was a blast and I still have them on audio cassette) Of all places in my apartment my stereo is in my kitchen, yup, you read it right.. it's nestled in a little nook in my kitchen right under a shelf of cookbooks. I've got Q-104.3 on while I'm cooking or I've got a CD on and of those it's either something Grungy like Pearl Jam or the above noted Andrew Wood and his band Mother Love Bone or I'm listening to Country music.. Kenny Chesney being one of my absolute favorites that I came upon totally by accident one night after I moved here into this apartment and I was sitting in my room late one night by myself flipping through the channels and stopped at this guy who looked so much like This guy dated and I couldn't help but stare in awe. He was being interviewed about his new song that was being released "who'd you be today" and I sat and listened to that song as tears just came falling.. that song hit so close to home.. I kept listening to his music and I turned to country music because there was so much there.. it wasn't the old "my wife left me, my dog ran away" stuff that I thought it was.. it was life.. real life right there and I was in love. My friends and family think it's hysterical because after the 'grunge phase' I fell into heavy metal.. when my dad died when I was 15 it threw me into a bad place and I was angry at everyone for everything and I would lock myself in my room and blast this really dark scary music, I didn't want to be bothered with anyone or anything for a long time.. I say it all the time and no truer words have ever been said, but my family didn't really understand what I was going through at the time and if it wasn't for my best friend, Patty, I probably wouldn't be here to tell y'all this right now, she was there to talk to me and help me out of the hole I had fallen into. Tracy Lawrence says it in 'find out who your friends are"

You find out who your friends are,
somebody's gonna drop everything,
run out and crank up their car,
hit the gas, get there fast, never stop to think
What's in it for me�, or its way to far�...
They just show on up with their big old heart.
You find out who your friends are

When the waters high,
when the weather's not so bad,
when the well runs dry...
Who's gonna be there?

There's a reason I've been friends with the girl since I was 11, she's always been there for me, no matter what.

There is a theme song to every day of my life.. it's not all good, or fun.. but ya gotta make it through, right?

Today Kenny's new CD was released, Lucky old sun. I went after work and picked it up on my way home.. I had a pot of Chili simmering in the crock pot since last night so when I got home all I had to do was make some rice and The kid was in here finishing up his homework, so I popped the CD into my (slightly ancient) stereo and sat on my kitchen floor against the wall and just listened.. ate my chili and listened and sang along.. It's nice, it's not my usual Rock & Roll running around the stage Kenny (saw him in July '06 at MSG, it was awesome!) but a more relaxed, deeper Kenny.. and I really like it.. there's fun like 'Everybody wants to go to heaven' and more mellow 'down the road' I'm loving Every song on this album..

Food and Music.. and a little background about me.. Hey, it's how you learn about your friends, right?

I still tend to pull the heavy metal out once in a while.. like when the teenagers that live upstairs from me really start to piss me off with their music.. nothing like some live Metallica or Suicidal Tendencies to shut 'em up

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cesar chicken.. with a twist.

Maybe you've seen my Ranch Chicken thighs recipe, they're so good, moist, tender and full of flavor.. I was planning on making those for dinner last night when it hit me that I didn't have any ranch.. shoot.. I panicked just a teeny bit before I saw it.. I didn't even know I had any left.. Ken's Light Creamy Cesar.. whoopee!! Hmm.. Cesar chicken thighs.. Oh yeah baby..

What resulted was holy cow amazingly moist chicken with an absolutely outstanding crust.. I think I'm gonna try with creamy Italian next time.. this was so good! I love Chicken cesar salad, wraps.. Pizza (Don't knock it 'till ya try it). I served these with Smashed Potatoes and it was Delicious!

Cesar Chicken Thighs


  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumb
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 6 chicken thighs (skin removed)
  • 1/2 cup bottled Creamy Cesar dressing


  1. In a shallow bowl, combine crumbs, Parmesan cheese, cornmeal, and Italian seasoning.
  2. Dip chicken into salad dressing, then coat with crumb mixture.
  3. Place chicken in a greased 13x9 baking dish.
  4. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until juices run clear.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chicken & Dumplings.. my way.

It wasn't cold by any means yesterday, actually it was one of the most gorgeous fall days, blue sky, warm sun and temperatures in the mid 70's it was amazing (and we're in for that all week, yay!) I had my sights set on Chicken and dumplings, I didn't want to really do it on the stove though.. I wanted to be outside taking care of my garden and enjoying this beautiful weather.. so my compromise? I did it in the crock pot :) and, no matter what kind of dumpling recipe I try I always find myself going back to my old standby Bisquik, because they are the most delicious dumplings in soup or stew (or just plain broth when you just want some dumplings, lol)

Chicken & Dumplings

6-8 Chicken thighs, skin removed (boneless if you've got them)
Italian seasoning
crazy salt
3-4 red potatoes (cut into cubes)
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cups water
1 large chicken bullion (I use Knorr)

1 Cup Bisquik
1/3 Cup Milk
1 Tbs. Italian seasoning (optional)

Wash and cut up potatoes (I leave the skin on), Peel and chop the carrots and toss them into the (lined) crock pot (I use Reynolds Crock pot liners, if they're unavailable I use Reynolds Oven Bags in the large size, they work just as well) place the chicken on top of the veggies and season well (I don't bother to measure here, I just kind of eyeball it to how we like it) Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours.

Add water and bullion, cover and cook an additional 30 minutes.

Mix together bisquick, herbs and milk to make a sticky dough and drop by tablespoons over the hot liquid. Cover and cook an additional 20-30 minutes.

(I didn't say it was fast.. but it sure is Delicious :) )

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Great find today at the wholesale store!

I've been in a baking mood lately, I love to make bread and rolls and I've been searching every store in my path for a bag of instant yeast.. I've seen it on ebay (and the shipping charges were outrageous, even on amazon it was expensive) so I kind of just threw in the {kitchen} towel and succumbed to the fact that I was just going to have to use the little packets of yeast that they sold in the supermarket.. Until today, while I was shopping at one of the local wholesale stores with my best friend and I looked up and there it was 2 1pound bags of instant yeast for under $5! I wanted to dance for joy.. but instead I just looked at Patty and exclaimed to her how happy I was because I've been looking all over for this stuff and now I can bake even more bread and stuff (and share, of course, lol) Woo hoo!!!

So, Yes.. now there will be more "Baking Adventures With Ashley" LOL.. I should be good for about 6 months with 2 pounds of yeast!

alright.. well.. it's late and I've gotta be up early..


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Lemming Central October Box Has Arrived

I love coming home to boxes filled with goodies sitting on my porch, Since April I've been lucky enough to get one when they go on sale every other month and, like I said before, I have never been disappointed in the goodies that were inside. I use most, some I give away (not much though, lol). Inside this box I got a huge surprise though..

Some of these samples are Huge! I am pleasantly surprised by this, giddy even!

Now, remember not all boxes have the same samples in them (and I always wonder what everyone else got) Nonetheless I'm always happy with what I get.. All I've gotta say is judging by this box the December box is going to be awesome
As if right now there are 30 boxes still available at LemmingCentral

Okay, so here's the list of what I got in my box and if ya ordered one, lemme know what you got too :)

  1. The first thing that I saw in the Cello bag when I opened up the box was this gigantic softball sized bath fizzy in pineapple Cilantro from Sheba's secrets (along with a 20% off coupon!)
  2. Next up was 2 soy wax tarts from Things that make scents in Orange Caramel Crumble and Black Cat (along with a 25% off coupon)
  3. .33 ounce sample of Pure Bliss Exotic butter cream with a 15% off coupon
  4. a huge (maybe 4 ounce) sample from Heaven & Earth Essentials of Candy Corn whipped sugar body scrub, Delicate Raspberry crepe scented emollient lotion sample and a sample of healing lotion (and if you sign up as a new customer on her website you can get $5 off your first order!)
  5. Lip balm in Tangerine Vanilla from Pookie ( I think this is full size!)
  6. Tea and Coffee samples from SBS Teas along with a little baggie of candy corn
  7. From Sandi's soap scents there was a sunset magic hand and body lotion sample, a pumpkin pie soap sample, traverse city cherry soap sample (these 2 were just little slabs) and a little flower shaped soap sample in lavender, apples and oak (and a 15% off coupon for my first order)
  8. 2 whipped body frosting samples from Pink bow bath boutique (with a 15% off coupon)
  9. Pumpkin Vanilla candle tart from Just Right candle Co. (with a 20% off code)
  10. Vanilla lip balm from Harley's delight
  11. Vegetarian cold process soap sample in Apple Mango Chutney and an aloe smoothie sample in chamomile tea scent from Crater lake company
  12. Chamomile Bergamot soap slab and grapefruit casis lotion sample from Ginger's Garden (with 10% off code)
  13. and last, but not least from the Blue Gecko candle company a sample of Silky milky bubble bath and a pumpkin shaped spiced pumpkin brulee wax tart, with 15% off code

WOW!!! It all smells wonderful!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

I'm a sucker to try any recipe that catches my eye, and this one really caught mine while I was cruising foodgawker last night.. Man, oh man I can't even begin to tell you how amazing these cookies are, you're gonna have to just try them out for yourself (unless you're close enough to me, then you can come on over and try one yourself)

The post is from Erin Cooks
and I could go on and on about these cookies, but I'm gonna just cut to the chase..

Here's the recipe, straight from Erin's page:

Really, you've gotta try it!

Chocolate Chip Amish Puff Cookies
Originally Published In: A Field Guide to Cookies by Anita Chu
Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (Note: I only used one teaspoon in this step)

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt into a bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars on medium speed for several minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture, and mix on low speed just until combined.

Cover dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line several cookies sheets with parchment paper (Note: I use silpats).

Roll tablespoon-sized balls of dough in the cinnamon sugar and place on cookie sheets about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown. Cool cookie sheets on wire racks.

They are OHMYGOD Amazingly good.