Friday, November 30, 2012

PW French Onion Soup

I just enjoyed this PW French Onion Soup, one of our November Sweet As Pie Cooking Club selections (I am a little behind on the November menu!)

Be aware it takes a couple of hours to prepare this, but it's worth it.

After a long onion prep and simmer...

....and the bread has been toasted and cut into croutons for easier eating (my preference)...

...and smoked gruyere, my latest cheese addiction... is piled on top and broiled ...

it's ready to eat...

I promise there is soup under all those yummy layers!

And I had a second ladle full...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

PW Angel Sugar Cookies

We don't eat a lot of cookies at my house, except for the occasional college kids cake mix cookies.  So I held off until the holidays on making this September Sweet As Pie Cooking Club selection thinking these Pioneer Woman sugar cookies might be good to give as a gift.

I was excited to start using these cute recipe bookmarks that I got on sale at Anthropologie.  I don't do black Friday shopping but the Wednesday before Thanksgiving you can get some good deals too.

There's a whole book full of them!  They're perforated and you tear them out of the book, fold in half or tear them into two bookmarks.

The colors and graphics are so cute and fun!  I just love flipping through it and looking at them.  Much better than these bookmarks...random notepad papers, coupons, etc.  Ugh.

Now on to the cookies.  Once the butter has softened and all the ingredients are stirred together, it doesn't look so appetizing here.  But it's easy to stir together, no stand mixer necessary unless you just want to use it.

After an hour in the frig, they're a nice chilled consistency to spoon onto the cookie sheet.  I liked the idea of using the buttered bottom of a glass to apply the sprinkles and flatten the dough.

Don't crowd them though, especially if you don't want the sides to touch.  Since these are "crumbly" I really didn't want to overcook them so the edges are just barely browned.

PW says in the cookbook that these cookies don't travel well.  I was a little worried about that but I piled them on a couple of trays and sent them on their way.  Maybe they can handle a long ride in the car!

Yum!  They are light, crispy and the center is slightly soft if you don't overcook them.  Oh, and it makes many more than 18 as stated in the recipe.  Now that would be 18 ENORMOUS cookies.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Pioneer Woman Pecan Pie...Again

My favorite men in my life, the Bassman and my Dad love Pecan Pie.  After I made PWs Pecan Pie the first time, and gave it away, I wanted to make it again and this time I planned to EAT some of it myself!!

This was also my challenge to overcome my fear of making the "the crust".    The crust recipe makes 3, so there's already one handy in the freezer from the first pie.  I like that and the crust taste good, it's light and flaky.

One of the Sweet As Pie Cooking Club ladies said hers turned out runny.  I just hope the pie I gave away wasn't runny, but I don't know for sure!   PW says cook it ... and cook it some more...without burning it...until it's only slightly jiggly.   Kinda high maintenance keeping a check on it while it's baking.  

Using a 10 inch pie pan, the crust came just to the top, not enough to ruffle.  No ruffle, less fuss.  I left the foil over the edges for 40 minutes instead of the 30 minutes in her recipe, so it wouldn't brown too much while trying to bake long enough to get the jiggle out.

It baked for about 75 minutes, until the jiggle was pretty much gone.

This recipe has more sugar than my usual pecan pie recipe, maybe that's why it tends to be more jiggly.  But it wasn't runny, so it turned out good.

Only a small slice for me, please.  I usually eat the pecans off the top and have a bite or two of the crust so I need lots of help eating pecan pie.  That's where my two favorite men come in!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wounded Warriors

Each year Semper Fi of North Alabama hosts about 30 wounded veterans, flying them into town to show them some of the sites and activities of this area.   

For the past few years, the Bassman has volunteered his boat and a day of fishing on Veteran's Day with the Wounded Warriors.

On their last day in town, we attended the farewell dinner.

Entertainment was provided by Easton Corbin.

This lady warrior had served multiple tours in Iraq and took General Libutti up on his offer to dance.  They had a lot of fun with it!

A young marine was eager to hold the door for us as we left.

Thank you Wounded Warriors for your service and sacrifice.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Better-Than-Fried Mozzarella Sticks

I'm not a daily "sit down and watch Dr Oz" person, but occasionally one of the segments will catch my attention.

Like the one where they talked about these Better-Than-Fried Mozzarella Sticks.  I pinned it and planned to try it on game day this fall!

These get extra points because I was able to use my dried oregano and homemade marinara.

I thought they needed to heat and brown a little more.  So I let them stay in the oven a minute or two longer than the recipe said and a few of them ended up like this.

Good thing it doesn't affect the taste!

Definitely a winner!

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 Ms. enPlace

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Family Favorite: Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp is a long time favorite of my family.  

Here's the recipe:

The recipe itself probably came from the weekly home town newspaper back in the 80s.  You can see how much I've used it from the frayed edges and stains!  

I hate my handwriting, so I typed some recipes onto cards. Apparently, I didn't have enough to do!   I don't even remember whose typewriter or where it was.   This was before there was a computer and printer in every home.

Looking at the recipe itself, I always wondered how do you sprinkle 1 teaspoon of lemon juice on 4 cups of apples?   If anyone knows, please share.

Any kind of apples work, some better than others but I usually use what I have on hand that are otherwise beginning to be ignored.  I've even used applesauce.

The topping can be dry.

That's why you serve it with ice cream :)

Apple Crisp

4 c apples
1 t lemon juice
1/3 c flour
1 c oats
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 c melted butter

Preheat oven to 375.  Place apples in greased pan.  Sprinkle with lemon juice (I usually skip this).  Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add butter and mix together.  Sprinkle mixture over apples.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

God answers prayer but I was on vacation

At some point as a Christian, at least for me, I find myself anticipating what God has planned next for my life. He doesn't lay out all His plans for our days ahead of time.  But we do see His signs along the way if we look for them.  If we already knew His plans, we would likely forget about Him.  It's the constant daily relationship with us that He wants!

So I found myself wondering and maybe I was praying about what was next or who was next in my path.  Who will have an influence on me?  Who will I have an influence on?  And the harder question, will I be ready?

On our visit to the gulf this past summer, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a teenage girl as she laid down on the lounge chair near us.   She was by herself and no one else joined her.  No family or friends seemed to be around anywhere, no one.   A fleeting thought of this being kind of odd crossed my mind.  It was hot on the beach that day.  Maybe I should speak and offer her a bottle of water.  But I was quickly distracted by conversation with my family, watching ocean waves, enjoying snacks, people watching and whatever else and I didn't notice her again until later, when she got up and left.

Later that evening, we were walking down the sidewalk, meeting people along the way, sometimes speaking to them and sometimes not.  I realized that we passed the same girl that I saw earlier on the beach.  I mentioned her to my husband, and when I turned around to look I didn't see her again.

There was just something that seemed sad about her.  If she was sad, would my speaking to her make a difference?  Would offering a bottle of water make a difference?  It certainly wouldn't have hurt.  We left the next morning and I didn't run into her again so all I could do was pray for her.

Was she that next person in my path?  Probably.  Looking back, I'm humbled by having seen her.  I'm humbled by how quickly this passed by and how easily I am distracted.  I am humbled by the fact that there was something there and I missed it.

As I was fixing my lunch and thinking about writing this post, this verse came to me.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

He is a God of second chances and will carry on to completion.  He will keep working on me for sure and He will give her another opportunity too by putting someone else in her path.

I won't forget that humbling event and my next vacation will have a different perspective!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fabric and Crochet Infinity Scarf

Earlier this year when I was learning how to crochet, I started with a scarf.  I love 'em plus I thought it was a smaller and less threatening project!  Something I could see the results sooner than later.

Except it didn't go quite like that.  Learning the abbreviations and deciphering the patterns was sometimes frustrating and confusing.  Looking at the demos on Youtube helped me so much.  As I learned to "Turn", my stitches got off count (was I supposed to be counting? ha ha!)  so row 1-5 has 10 double crochets and rows 6 until the end of the scarf has 9.  

So my first project is not even and after finishing the skein of yarn it's not long enough to wrap around my neck.    It looks like a crocheted "thing".  

Have you seen the fabric and crochet scarf combinations?  I like those too, so I took my crochet "thing" to the fabric store to find a matching lightweight fabric.

I cut the fabric about half an inch wider than my scarf on each side.  Stitch up one long side.

Then I placed the crochet "thing" inside the fabric.

Then folded the fabric over the crochet thing making a sandwich.

Pin and stitch across all three layers.  Do this on both ends.

Now tuck the crochet thing inside the fabric and stitch the other long side leaving about 3" open.  Turn it inside out.  Stitch the 3" opening together to close it.

The ends of the crochet thing are attached to the end of the fabric making one long infinity scarf.

Wrap it around your neck and leave it long...

Or wrap it around again...

It's slightly bulkier than I would like but it will keep the wind off my neck when I run to the store this winter.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Family Veterans

A big thank you to all veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice for peace and humanity not just here in the U.S. but in the world.

My brother entered basic training in the early 80's.  He saw the world and is now retired from the Air Force.

And other family members, mostly great uncles and distant cousins.

Almost Bunyan's Slaw

It's not difficult to find a good BBQ restaurant around here.  There's a BBQ restaurant, a church and now a bank on just about every intersection!   

But the slaw is a different story.   Sometimes the slaw just makes the sandwich better!   We love the hot slaw but not every BBQ joint makes it.   So I like to have it available in my frig.  

One of those BBQ places, Bunyan's in Florence, AL has good hot slaw.  And I ran across someone's attempt to recreate it.

 The slaw at Bunyan's is not quite as yellow as this version, but this is good! 

It also goes well with hot dogs and pinto beans.

Almost Bunyan's Hot Slaw Recipe
Reprinted from Almost Bunyans Hot Slaw


Veggie Ingredients
2 cups   - Grated green cabbage
2 Tbs    - Grated carrot
1 Tbs    - Grated onion
1 Tbs    - Grated green pepper (no seeds or membrane)

Sauce Ingredients
1/4 tsp  - Paprika
1/2 tsp  - Red cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp  - Salt (non-iodized)
1/4 cup  - Sugar
1 Tbs    - Goya/Crystal hot sauce (or similar)
2 Tbs    - Ketchup
4 Tbs    - Prepared yellow mustard (like French's)
1/4 cup  - White vinegar (add last, stir-in)
1/4 cup  - Apple cider vinegar (add last, stir-in)

  • Add dry sauce ingredients to a medium sized pot and mix well.
    Stir in the ketchup and mustard until well blended and paste-like.
    Stir in the vinegar a little at a time to avoid clumping.NOTE: The cayenne and hot sauce can be adjusted to whatever
    level of heat that you prefer.
  • Heat up to just short of boiling while stirring occasionally.
    This will blend and bring out the flavor of the spices.
  • Remove from heat and let cool a little while you grate the veggies.
  • Grate the veggie ingredients. Put the grated veggie ingredients
    into a pint-size container with a lid that can seal.
  • Pour sauce over the veggies and stir well. It may seem like there's not enough
    sauce for all the veggies, but once stirred well it should cover everything.
  • Cover and refrigerate a minimum of 24 hours, allowing time for
    the flavors to blend, soften and pickle the veggies, and generally thicken up.
    Even better to let it go for a week (seriously, it takes time).
  • Best served over plain pulled pork wrapped in a hamburger bun.
    Note that at Bunyan's BBQ, they only use about a Tbs of hot slaw
    to top a pork sandwich, and there's plenty of spice and flavor
    from that little bit to add the perfect complement.

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 Ms. enPlace

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Button Bracelet

Bracelets are my favorite type of jewelry.  

One day I saw the I Spy DIY girl on TV and she mentioned her button bracelets.  So I headed over to her site to check them out and I knew I could do this!

The instructions are pretty straightforward.  It helps to pin the button to cardboard or corkboard while you're braiding the cord.  I gives it something to hold on to.

These 2 have already been confiscated by my daughters.   So I'll be making more for myself!

This charm came from the Bella Rustica vintage mall.  I'm not sure I like the black cord with it so I may redo it.

While I was on a roll with the cord, I made an arrowhead necklace.    My daughter has been wanting an arrowhead necklace and my father gave this arrowhead to her.

Gotta go make more button bracelets!

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