Friday, September 28, 2012

PW Pasta With Pesto Cream Sauce

This Sweet As Pie Cooking Club selection is the perfect recipe for the last of my basil plant. 

For half of this recipe, I made the entire amount of pesto and then froze half of it to use later.   I substituted walnuts for pine nuts.  The butter-y, cream-y, pesto-y sauce poured over the pasta was looking and smelling so good too!

It made a good side with grilled chicken.

Unfortunately, half the recipe still calls for the full amount of pot and pans and food processor to wash.   And some recipes only get one photo, the one of my plate!

Now excuse me, I'm going to get a breath mint.  That pesto is kicking!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

PW Crash Hot Potatoes

This recipe was my pick for the Sweet As Pie Cooking Club.   Thinking back, I have been cooking potatoes most of my life.  Seriously, since I was about 10!  Coming from a family of 8, we had potatoes almost every night.   They were mashed, stewed or fried.   We never had baked potatoes that I can recall.  I'm not sure why, except that maybe the oven was busy with the roast or the oven-fried chicken.  And this was before microwave ovens.  It seems weird saying that!

So I chose Crash Hot Potatoes in honor of my all my potato-fixin' years.  And this recipe didn't disappoint! 

Some days I'm not a fan of recipes that require being "cooked" twice.  This one does, and I didn't know that before I chose it, it wouldn't have mattered anyway.

While the potatoes boil, start looking through the drawers and utensil places for the potato masher.  It never gets used in my kitchen but it's around here somewhere, just gotta look!

So mash to the left and mash to the right.  Brush on the oil.  Season with salt, pepper and the best part, rosemary, fresh from it's pot.  Other herbs can be used instead.

Bake about 25 minutes until toasty.

These are good.  The kids and picky people will probably like them too, even with that green stuff sprinkled on top!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

PW BBQ Jalapeno Poppers

We're always ready to eat jalapeno poppers.  We love them!  We even like 'em nekked.   I was excited to see one of the September picks in the Sweet As Pie Cooking Club was jalapeno poppers!  Perfect for gameday...or any day for that matter!  The game is only the side attraction, right?

Leave some seeds and membrane because we like 'em hot.

Fill them with cheese and secure the bacon wrap with a toothpick.  After wrapping the bacon around several peppers, it occured to me this step was more time consuming than I wanted it to be.  After all, where do we think this bacon is going anyway?   I guess the toothpick is a help when it comes to grabbing one when they're done.

A friend recommended Blue's Hog BBQ sauce and we tried it on smoked ribs.  It's pretty sweet, which is not our preference, but it's what I had on hand.  I brushed it on a few and left some plain.

One of the variations was to spread on some preserves.  So I tried that too.

Isn't the pan going to be swimming in grease with half a slice of bacon on each popper?   I cut back on the bacon, laying on just enough to cover the top.

Bake them for what seems like forever at 275 degrees or until the bacon is crisp.

Well, it never got crisp and the longer they baked the softer the jalapenos got.

I turned the broiler on and toasted the tops until the bacon started browning.

With jam


With BBQ sauce
Although the peppers are too soft, they still taste ok, just mushy.  After all, how can you mess up jalapenos, cheese and bacon? 

With some adjustments, basically less bacon and higher oven temp, I would make these again.  It was a good variation on a family favorite!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Little Miss Tutu

Little Miss Tutu ....

turned ONE last weekend... 

...what a par-tay it was!

This is our sweet grandaughter.  Yes, time goes by fast and yes, we can't believe she's one and yes, they grow up too fast!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Butternut Squash Challenge #1

Here they are, the butternut squash.  My brother kept giving them to me from his garden. 

I've NEVER had a butternut squash, NEVER cooked it, much less CUT one!  All I've heard is "Oh, they're so hard!"

My sister-in-law likes Butternut Squash soup.  One of my Facebook friends said she fried it like green tomatoes or cook it like you would sweet potatoes.  Another friend said bake it with brown sugar and cinnamon.

So here it is, my self-imposed Butternut Squash Challenge.

Two of those stubborn squash were needed to make a soup.  I found 2 simple recipes, one from the Food Network that had nutmeg and the other Paula Deen recipe had cream that just happened to be very similiar.

I ran my knife across the sharpener a time or two and sliced those two in half.  Not a big deal if you use a sharp  knife.

Trim the ends and scoop out the middle.  Then using a sharp vegetable peeler, peel the squash. 

I used my stainless steel vegetable peeler from Rada Cutlery.  Get one! 

Chop the squash into 1 inch pieces.  Not hard to do.

I waited until the very end to add nutmeg or cream.  Once the veges were done, put them in a blender to puree.

After it's all pureed, I then divided the mixture to make two different variations, one with nutmeg added and the other with cream added.

Butternut Squash Soup with  Nutmeg

Butternut Squash Soup with Cream

I prefer the one with nutmeg. 

Two squash down, two to go!

Stay tuned, two more recipes to try!  
Love Bakes Good CakesPhotobucket

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fall Repurposed Wine Bottles and Orbs

Determined to hang on to summer as long as I can, I put off starting my fall mantel until AFTER Labor Day. 

My friend Jennifer from Come Rain or Come Shine and The Sweet As Pie Cooking Club recently asked me what projects I had going.   At the time, I couldn't think of exactly WHAT I had going, so much of them are just in progress! 

So far I have more repurposed wine bottles.

Just spray paint them.  That green doesn't look like fall in this picture, we'll see how it goes with the rest of the stuff on the mantel.   Or use Modge Podge and attach scrapbook paper or yarn. 

When the yarn is dry, embellish to your heart's content!  These gold leaves were earrings I found on a clearance rack, and of course, the wine cork.  

This is all in progress over several days so I've still got to add something to the scrapbook paper bottle.   Suggestions are welcome!

As for orbs, I have always loved them, but never purchased them.  Some really pretty ones I have seen cost up to $12 each!   I knew I could DIY orbs.

I found large plastic Christmas balls and sprayed them brown.

Then with the Modge Podge attach anything with texture like these wooden discs.

I also covered one with jute but any heavy cord would work.

This is where it got ugly!  I cut some linen in strips and tied the ends together.

And wrapped it around the ball.

Ugh,  not at all what I was hoping for.  You might not see that on my finished mantel!  Ha ha!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chocolate Mint Brownie Fall Apart

Head's up chocolate and mint lovers!   You'll love these, I also threw on a scoop of vanilla ice cream.   Now that I've come down from the chocolate high I can tell you about these from The Sweet As Pie Cooking Club

This is Katie's selection, she's at Come Hell or High Waters.  I had the opportunity to meet her a couple of days after I made these brownies!  Isn't that sweet?  Nice to meet you Katie! 

I love Andes mints but had never seen them used in a recipe before.  Katie found Andes baking mints, but I used the individually wrapped ones.

Just unwrap them.  Repeat 50 times.

I don't have a stand mixer...maybe I should ask Santa for one.  I whipped up the ingredients with my hand mixer.

I love mint, but I didn't add mint extract.  With so many Andes mints already, I thought I might not miss it.

Kind of as an oversight, I used semi-sweet chocolate instead of the bittersweet and unsweetened baking chocolate.   I didn't have my grocery list with me when I bought the chocolate so I just bought baking chocolate and went with it.

Coming out of the oven, they look like mushrooms because they overflow out of the muffin pan.  

PW warns to grease the pan generously, which I thought I did.  But several fell apart while trying to get them out...sigh...I put them on the back for this photo opportunity.

So just carry on!  That doesn't stop the chocolate dipping and pouring and sprinkling of the remainder of melted chocolate and chopped Andes mints over the brownie fall-apart.

I had to have the college crowd around to help me eat these so I would not eat them all by myself!

Not shown:  scoop of vanilla ice cream


Monday, September 17, 2012

My 80's Afghan and Crochet

My grandmother made this afghan for me back in the early 80's.   I had it on my couch last fall.  It kept my tootsies so warm!   It's been put away during the summer so the cats wouldn't destroy it (they love it too!) but it's time to get it out again.  

I chose the colors back then and 30 years later, this chevron pattern and these colors are back in style.  

My Mom taught me a basic chain crochet stitch, but it didn't turn into anything, not even a potholder!   She said her third grade teacher pulled a few of the girls aside during PE class and taught them to crochet.  She taught them to make granny squares.

This afghan inspired me to want to try it myself.  I also began meeting with some wonderful ladies at a prayer shawl ministry.  These ladies had been stitching for a while and have made beautiful afghans.  The first couple of times I attended, I had yet to make one stitch!  Ugh, why was starting so hard!

I thought starting out small was best.  Maybe a scarf, since I love scarves.  I had already pinned several to my board that I might try. 

I googled EASY and BEGINNER crochet patterns only to find that those terms are often misleading!  Any pattern where each row is a different stitch is not my definition of EASY and BEGINNER!  Some of these patterns look like software source code!  Ha ha!  I really wanted to do one stitch over and over again to make something useful.  Was I asking too much?  

Finally, I found it!   And figured out the "source code" too.  Here's the first one I made, in my favorite color, of course.  It's a wrap that just goes around your shoulders or across your lap.

While shopping in Michaels one day, I ran across some "baby yarn" on sale.  It was so soft and a fun delicious sherbet color. 

Yet it was another misleading was one of those "fun" "boucle" yarns they call them.  Not so fun for a beginner to learn with!

I finally did manage the boucle and now it's ready to bless a sweet baby!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Puppy Love

Has you ever been awaked by sounds in your closet?  I was so rudely awakened one morning a few weeks ago to the sound of this:

Yes, the top rack hanger thingy in the closet fell!  Ugh, what a mess! 

As I peeled through the layers of stuff in the floor, I ran across my old collection of Donny Osmond albums. 

I understand if you click the X to close your browser at this point!  Ha ha! 

Oh, yes, the Justin Beiber of the 70s!

I just had to get out my old photo album and look at the poor pictures from the concert where I saw him in person!  Yes, I couldn't believe it at the time, that I was going to his concert.

And would you believe is only cost $7.00?

It seems silly to be sharing this.

At this point my family will say "Don't you have anything better to do?"  My response is "Yes, I just choose to not do it at the moment!

And the closet is back to normal...I know you were wondering about that, too!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Diners, Drive-ins and Chris' Hot Dogs

I doubt if Guy and Triple D ever stopped here but we make a point to whenever we're in the area.  And it IS a dive! 
It's Chris' Hot Dogs in Montgomery, AL.  My husbands father brought him here when he was young.  And his father came here with his grandfather (does that make sense!?)   It's been in business for 95 years.

Basically there are 4 generations in his family that have eaten at Chris'.  My husband remembers that he would eat about 12 hot dogs.  His Dad gave him and his brother a sip of his beer when he was about 13!

Back in the day, the buns were homemade and the hot dogs were very tasty.  They are nothing special today, but the sauce is their own original recipe.  It's a good hot dog sauce, it's all you need on your hot dog!  Oh, and onion rings, do order onion rings.

He said that each booth had it's own tabletop jukebox, but they're no longer there.

Being just down the street from the capital building, this place could probably tell a story or two if the walls could talk!

Kind of a neat place to stop for lunch just to say you did.


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