Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I went shopping....

No not shopping in a mall or department store. When it comes to that, I’m so not into shopping. I’m not your typical female who loves to spend the day at the mall. Now yard sales and antique stores….that’s more my style.

My most favorite store in my little corner of the world is Things Made Wonderful. The name really describes the store perfectly. The bottom floor is filled with all things primitive and country and gorgeous. The top floor is loaded with antiques and handmade items. I love the top floor.

John took me there Sunday so I could try and pick up a few things to decorate my renovated bathroom.

I hit the jackpot this trip.

What did you get you ask? Well let me show you!

First I spotted this set of vintage loaf pans. Three different sizes, two even had little handles. I fell in love. Had to have them.

Antique finds box pans

Next I saw this beautiful old box. I have a thing for old wooden boxes. When I see a gorgeous one like this, I just can’t pass it by. I’ll fill it with some baby pine cones, or maybe some rosehips then stick a mercury glass candle holder in it with a few sprigs of pine.

Antique finds box

Now on to the finds for the bathroom. I really did well. Check out this gorgeous cheese box. I know, again with the wooden boxes. I thought this would look perfect hanging on my bathroom wall. Then I spotted a metal soap saver. It even had little bits of soap still in it, and lookie, lookie, it fit perfectly into the box.

Antique finds cheese box

I took the soap out, and filled it with mini pine cones and tied it with a grungy ribbon on the handle. It looks great in my bathroom. Just perfect.

Antique finds box with soap holder

We also found this antique cast iron towel rack. The exact size we needed for underneath one of the cabinets. It’s like it was waiting for us to buy it.

Antique finds towel rack

We found this gorgeous washboard. Again, it’s like it was waiting for us. It fits perfectly on the wall.

I’ll be hanging some Sweet Annie from it.

We also bought some cast iron hooks to go on the side of one of the cabinets (see pic below). Bathroom decorations complete!

Antique finds washboard

I spotted this mini cast iron pan. It’s a little rusty (ok with me) but I thought I could take it home and do something with it. So I added in some black eyed peas, stuck a grungy candle in the middle and ta-da, I have a cute little candle holder for my kitchen table. Cheap too! I’m sure I’ll be messing with it and adding things in as the weeks pass.

Antique finds CI skillet

We also picked up a few more things. Great little tins for 50 cents each, perfect for holding all my rings on the windowsill or in the bathroom. Scored a beautiful red handled knife and veggie peeler too. I love the vintage utensils. Scored a gorgeous tin cup. I'm going to load it up with holly and put a nice taper in it.

Antique finds

Lastly, John found this book dated 1909. The Arabian Nights. I thought cool, then he told who illustrated it…..Maxfield Parrish! My favorite artist! Book - $3. Me – very happy! What a score!

I spent so much less then I would have at a department store, and I feel like I really walked away with such treasures.

Antique finds Max

Antique finds Max1

I'll take a day driving up to the country any day over a crowded parking lot in a mall.

Oh one last thing...no I didn't stop cooking or baking, although it may seem like it from the lack of posts. I've got a few things in the works and after the Christmas crafting dies down, I'm sure I'll be baking up some holiday goodies to share. Hang in there with me!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday~ Not so much.

Blueberry Pie

I feel blessed to live the life I have. I really mean that.

I am content with everything and everyone I surround myself with. How great is that?

I've finally reached a peaceful and calm place in my life and if things never change, I'm ok with that. I'm ok with my kitchen that's a little too little for my liking, and my hips that are a little too big, the wrinkles that are starting to surface, the staycations, the "exciting" weekends when we both fall asleep by 8pm, the daily routine, my know-it-all teenagers, the early mornings, the endless laundry and dishes, I'm really ok with it. Crazy but true. I think you just have to make up your mind at some point to accept and appreciate what you have and not always be on a quest for something different or to want something more. I am content and it really frees me.

I'm grateful that Moose made it through a very rough summer and is here by my feet happily wagging his tail.

I'm grateful for a husband who puts up with all my craziness and says "whatever you want honey" way more then any man I know.

I am grateful to have two of the best friends anyone could ask for. Friends who accept me for who I am, who laugh with me and cry with me, and sometimes know me better than I know myself.

I'm grateful for the special people this blog has brought into my life. People who I have never met, but who share a connection with me just the same.

I'm grateful for all the little moments, good and bad, that make my life what it is.

I had to post this vintage postcard, cause how many times do you get too see two turkeys driving a corn cob car with lemon wheels??

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuck-thanksgiving-rt0004

Monday, November 22, 2010

O'Henrys

O Henry


Phew.

I've been up to my eyeballs in crazy bz-ness lately.

Work - crazy!

Home - crazy!

Downtime - I'd love some please!

We've been trying to finish up our Christmas projects, plan holiday menus, and finish up the last little details in the bathroom. This is also the time of year when the school fundraisers kick into gear, and the holiday concerts, work parties, etc.

I'm trying to keep it simple again this year. I do not want or need to get caught up in the stress of it all. I simply refuse, so we are keeping things as simple as possible. We've asked family and friends to really cut back on gifts, or simply eliminate them completely. We want to spend time truly enjoying the people who are part of our lives, not be frazzled trying to shop for the perfect gift.

Our shopping list really has decreased significantly over the past few years. Instead of buying gifts for our closest friends, we all chip in and have a really nice dinner. I'll buy some jumbo shrimp, some filet Mignon, some great wine and we all get together after Christmas and really enjoy the night - no presents allowed. You should try it, it's really a wonderful thing.

Needless to say, I confess, I haven't been making much blog-worthy stuff.

I confess again. I made these O'Henry bars over a month ago and just now got around to posting them.

O Henry 2


3rd confession..... I've never in my life eaten an O'Henry bar, but I knew John liked them. John is a peanut lover, so I knew this was a treat he'd love....and he did.

This is a no bake recipe. You nuke the ingredients and stick it in the fridge. Cut your pieces small, cause these are very rich.

O’Henrys
1 cup Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanuts (unsalted, do not chop)
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups rice krispies
1 – 12 oz package chocolate chips
1 – 12 oz package butterscotch chips

Stir together the syrup and the sugar. Microwave for 2 minutes. Add the peanuts and the peanut butter to the Karo mixture. Microwave again for 1 minutes. Add 3 cups of rice krispies. Spread into a greased 9x13 inch pan.

Combine the chips in a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Spread over the rice krispie mixture and cool in the fridge.

Cut into 1 inch squares to serve.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This weekend was filled with:

For rent

  • Painting walls
  • Staining cabinets
  • Quick meals – one night it was sopresatta, crackers, cheese, olives, etc.
  • Fun trip to Ikea with my best friends
  • Ikea’s frozen yogurt (it’s almost worth the trip just for that)
  • Best frozen onion rings ever – Alexia’s. Try them.
  • Boo-boo finger – I crushed it in the glove compartment – ouchies!
  • Shopping at Trader Joe’s with Mitch.
  • Football (we won, sorry hunny!)
  • Starting a new book - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cheese & Garlic Sausage Balls

Garlic Cheese Sausage Balls 2

A few weeks ago there was much discussion on a food board I frequent about sausage balls.

Apparently, these are a party staple in the South. Here, not so much. I mean I have heard of them. I think I've made them at one point a long, long time ago, but it's not usually one of the first things on my appetizer list.

So I read through all the posts on these sausage balls and then I went and did a little Internet search on them. I scanned through a lot of sausage ball recipes and I finally decided that I was going to make up my own dang recipe.

The first thing I noticed was that a lot of the recipes used a whole heckuva lot of Bisquick. I talking cups and cups full. I decided to skip the traditional Bisquick and use Bisquick's Cheese and Garlic Biscuit mix. It's sold in a little pouch near all the other biscuit mixes. I thought this might bring a lot more flavor to these and I was right.

I fiddled about with the recipe and came up with what I think is the perfect biscuit to sausage ratio.

I put a plate of these down on the counter and they were gone in minutes.

I mixed up a little honey mustard sauce for dipping. Just use one part mustard to 2 parts honey. Mix and dip.

If you are pressed for time you could also make these ahead of time, bake them and re-heat.

They really were delicious. How about that....I have my own new recipe to share.


Garlic Cheese Sausage Balls 1

Cheese & Sausage Balls
recipe from Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
1 (7.75 ounces)package Bisquick Complete Cheese-Garlic Biscuit mix
1 pound ground pork sausage (I used sage flavored)
1 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
2 tablespoons chopped chives (optional)

Oven to 350.

Let the sausage sit out for a half hour to come to room temperature. This makes it easier to mix. Combine the sausage and biscuit mix. Add in the egg and mix (with your fingers) to combine. Mix in the cheese and chives. Form into walnut size balls and place on a baking sheet lined with no-stick foil. Bake 20 – 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve with dipping sauce of your choice.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Black & White Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Black & White Chocolate Cookies

Everyone in my house was in a cookie mood last week.

This is what I heard from Evan several times “When are you going to make some cookies? You haven’t made cookies in a long, long time”. “Are you going to make cookies soon?” He was a cookie hound.

He was right though. I hadn’t made cookies in quite awhile.

Black & White Chocolate Cookies 2

Last week we were smack dab right in the middle of the bathroom renovation. John was also building me cabinets, we were shopping for a new storm door, and we had the electrician and the plasterer at the house, we made countless trips to Lowes and Home Depot. We were a bit busy. Heck, we still are. The walls are in the process of being painted and so are the cabinets. I still need to sand and antique them too. Suppers consisted of lots of grilled foods, quick and easy.

I did break down and make these delicious cookies. I adapted this recipe from Ina’s Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies. The original recipe called for an outrageous amount of white chocolate (1 ½ pounds of it!). That was just way too much for me, and hello, I’m a chocoholic. I went with 1 cup of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips and 1 cup of white chocolate chips. It was the perfect amount.

Black & White Chocolate Cookies 1

Listen to Ina when she says take these out right at 15 minutes. You don't want to overbake these babies.

Black & White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Ina Gartens Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
2 sticks of butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 extra large eggs at room temp
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chip

Oven to 350.

Cream the butter and both sugars in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time. Mix well. Add the cocoa and mix again.

In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add this to the mixer on low speed, mixing until just combined. Don’t over mix. Fold in the chips.

Drop the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Use a 1 ¾ inch ice cream scoop or a rounded tablespoon. Leave about an inch in between each cookie. They won’t spread very much. Dampen your hands and flatten the dough slightly. Bake for exactly 15 minutes, the cookies might seem underdone, don’t worry. Let cool slightly on the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Black & White Chocolate Cookies 3

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Right Now

Time: 4:08 PM

In my mug: tea with lemon

In my belly: Grilled t-bone, asparagus and rice. We had an late lunch/early supper.

Last thing on :
The Pats game - we lost.

In my life: Chaos! We are in the midst of a bathroom renovation. The old cabinets came out today. John made me beautiful new cabinets, one that I painted today and now I love it even more. The bathroom is ripped apart and the contents are scattered around the house in laundry baskets. It is making me crazy. I freak out when the house is untidy and right now it's really untidy. The walls have been stripped....next step primer. I could scream but I need to learn to take a deep breath and keep telling myself, it's just temporary chaos. It's going to be a long week. Here's a peek at said chaos:


Bathroom

Wanting
: My house to be neat and orderly again, the bathroom to be painted and put back together.

Last thing on the laptop
: Searching for a really good tree stand. We get a big ass tree every year and we are in desperate need of a fantastic tree stand.

Looking forward to: a few days off this week. I'm going to be taking the boys pics for our Christmas card. and planning for Thanksgiving.

On my mind:
All the painting I need to get done for Christmas presents.

What I'm feeling right now:
Moose all cuddled up next to me.

What I'd like to make again:
These madeleines. I can still taste how good these were.

Madeleines stacked

Friday, November 5, 2010

Turkey Meatballs & Pasta in Mushroom Cream Sauce

Turkey Meatballs & Pasta Mushroom Cream Sauce 1

I’m sure all of you have had the same experience as I did this past week. I see something delicious on a blog and it gets stuck in my head. I keep thinking about it. I add all the ingredients to my shopping list. I’m planning on which day I’m going to make it. I’m anticipating how scrumptious it’s going to be.

I’d had this experience 3 times over the past month. It started with some lovely looking stuffed cabbage on a food blog. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. No one in my house will eat stuffed cabbage. No one. So if I make a pan of it, I better be having a dinner party and if I’m having a dinner party, I’m going to have to make stuffed cabbage and another main course, cause again, no one in my family will eat it. Ugh. So I moved the stuffed cabbage out of my brain….for now.

Next up…the Accounting department where I work has a little Halloween lunch. They all bring homemade goodies. I’m not in the Accounting department, but they like me and I get invited to come and sample said goodies. I immediately see spinach dip with bagel chips. Ok…that’s all I need. Push all the other food aside. I’m all set.

I eat spinach dip for the next 2 day at lunch (there were leftovers) and I still can’t get enough of it. I’m craving dip at 8pm, first thing in the morning, I could eat it for lunch again, but alas, spinach dip is yet another food that my family would turn their noses up at, so I’m waiting for Thanksgiving on that one.

Turkey Meatballs & Pasta Mushroom Cream Sauce

Now on to the meal that I could make, that everyone in the family would eat! Hallelujah!

Joan over at
Mayberry Magpie posted this Turkey Meatballs & Pasta with Mushroom Gravy last week, and let me tell you, my heart sang. We’re all about the meatballs in this house and the fact that I didn’t have to bake them separately – even better!

This was absolutely, extraordinarily delicious!

It reminds me of a stroganoff, and Joan's husband thought so too, but it's even better than stroganoff to me, it’s got such great depth of flavor. The mushroom, wine, and cream just sent me over the edge. We LOVED it. All of us, even my picky “I hate mushrooms” kid.
He loved it!

This recipe makes a lot. Joan doubled it.
The direction here are for the doubled amount. I got about 40 small meatballs from it. We all ate and there were leftovers for the next day…and we ate every single bite of them. I’d half the recipe if you were only making this for 2 or 3 people.

The only change I made was adding leeks – see notes. We all love the taste of leeks so I used one in the meatballs and one in the sauce. I used a sweet Italian Moscota wine.

This recipe is great for a chilly autumn night.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Joan. I know this will be in heavy rotation at my house.

Turkey Meatballs & Pasta Mushroom Cream Sauce 2

Turkey Meatballs and Pasta in Mushroom Cream Sauce
For the meatballs:
½ cup breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
2/3 cup milk
2 pounds ground turkey
½ cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
½ cup green onions, finely chopped (I used 1 medium leek, thinly sliced and sautéed)

In the Dutch Oven:
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup green onions (again I used 1 medium leek, thinly sliced and sautéed)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used portabella)
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup white wine
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 pound pasta, cooked according to package directions

Combine the breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Combine the ground turkey ½ cup parmesan, eggs, 1 tsp salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, garlic, parsley, ½ cup green onions. Add in the breadcrumb mixture and mix well with your hands. Form into small meatballs. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add remaining ½ cup of green onions, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and sliced mushrooms. Sauté for approximately 5 minutes. Add the flour and continue to stir for 2 more minutes. Add broth and wine, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Gently drop the meatballs into the sauce (It’s ok if they are a little crowded or are in a double layer). Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cream, stir gently and return to a simmer.

Add the drained cooked pasta to the pot and gently stir to combine. Serve with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Playing with the moon~

This made me smile.

Click here

Be sure you click on the right hand corner watch it in full screen mode.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chocolate Pumpkin Snack Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Snack Cake

I'm addicted to this simple combination of a cake mix, pumpkin and water. It's so amazingly simple I still can't get over it.

Remember my 3 ingredient, super easy, Pumpkin Spice Muffins?

Well I decided it was time to try this recipe with a chocolate cake mix cause, well, chocolate always makes everything taste better (at least to me).

So I mixed up a batch and baked it in a 9x13 inch pan and.....wah-lah.....Chocolate Pumpkin Snack Cake.

Let me tell you this...if you have a picky eater in the house (like I do) and you want to sneak in some veggies, even if said veggies is pumpkin, make this cake and they will never know that there is a pumpkin in it.

Evan came home last week with 3 friends in tow, as usual. They walked in the house, saw the cake, each grabbed a piece and proceeded to shove it in their pie holes, ummm, I mean cake holes. I asked them how they liked it and through mouthfuls of crumbs they all proclaimed "great". I then told them it had pumpkin in it. All four of them stopped for a minute, shrugged, and grabbed another piece.

Chocolate Pumpkin Snack Cake crop


Chocolate Pumpkin Snack Cake

1
package (18.25oz) of your favorite cake mix (I used Milk Chocolate)
1 15oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup water
Chocolate Chips (as many as you like, just throw 'em in)

Mix the cake mix, pumpkin and water in a bowl and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips. Place batter into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan and bake at 350 for 30 - 35 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool and cut into squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.