Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I am a bit under the weather, so I will be ringing in the new year by sleeping off my Nyquil! Happy New Year!

Produce Club Basket Day!

I get really excited when I pick up my Produce Club basket every week...I just think it gets me all inspired to cook with great vegetables. Since we live in Florida, we are so lucky to get locally grown, organic produce all year round. So we signed up for the "Small Family" basket, and this is what it looks like when I pick up: (look at the cute little fingers "helping"!)

Then once I get it home, I lay it all out on the counter and start formulating a menu plan with the veggies:

This week, I received:
romaine lettuce
red cabbage
4 portobello mushrooms
large sweet potato
green beans
green pepper
2 red tomatoes
yellow tomatoes
seedless watermelon
3 cucumbers

Here are a few preliminary dinner ideas:
Black Bean Enchiladas with Green Tomatillo sauce
Roasted Eggplant
Mushroom Stroganoff

Now my biggest problem: how to store all these veggies so they stay good for at least a week! My frig stays pretty full!
I know, I know, I refrigerate my tomatoes. I don't like to, and I've even asked the Produce Club people what to do. They recommend not washing the tomatoes, refrigerating them until use, but allowing the 'mators to come up to room temp before cooking with. I've tried keeping them on the counter, but when I have this much produce to use up every week, it takes ALL week to use them up, and they sometimes go bad. You know what's worse then rotten tomatoes? Rotten ORGANIC tomatoes that I should have eaten. You get the point.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage

Red cabbage has been in my Produce Club basket for the past few weeks, and I finally found a recipe that makes it a welcome addition to the dinner table! I have ruined many cabbage recipes over the past month trying to replace red cabbage with green (hellooooo purple Runza's!)

My son really enjoyed this last night. As my very apprehensive husband said "this is surprisingly good!" I served it with grilled pork chops and grilled potatoes. Now I know, red cabbage is not on everyone's radar, but I was very pleased that I was finally not wasting that beautiful organic red cabbage.

I'm sharing this recipe at Eat at Home's Ingredient Spotlight Cabbage.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage
recipe adapted from

1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 medium head red cabbage, shredded
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 medium tart apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large bowl, stir the cider vinegar and sugars until sugars are dissolved. Add cabbage; toss to coat. Let stand for 5-10 minutes.

In the bacon drippings, saute apple and onion until tender. Add water and cabbage mixture.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes more or until tender.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

This was a new addition to our Christmas goodies this year and it was a hit! This is the first batch of cookies that I have made that have turned out OK for about 6 months so I was very pleased with them.


Recipe: Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies



1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips




Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter or margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in oats and chocolate chips, mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until cookies are almost set. Do not overbake. Cool 1 minute on cookies sheets, then move to wire racks. Cool and store tightly covered.

Cooking time (duration): 10
Number of servings (yield): 12
Meal type: dessert
My rating: 3 stars: ★★★☆☆ 1 review(s)

I'm sharing this recipe at Eat At Home's Ingredient Spotlight. Look over there for other recipes using chocolate chips.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Welcome Family & Friends!

If you're stopping by from my Family and Friends email I sent out, WELCOME! Please take a look around! More will be coming!

Tis the Season for Thank You's: Sewn Notecards

Tis the season for Thank You cards!
Here is a fun way to dress up cards with a little zigzag stitch! These cards came about when I accidentally bought a huge box of FLAT cards, not FOLDING cards and needed a way to dress them up.

I pick out scrapbook paper that coordinates with the thread that I have on hand:

Then cut the paper into long thin pieces, put a dab of glue on the back of the scrapbook paper to keep it in place on the card.

Then get sewing with a zigzag stitch! You might have to play with the tension a little, and use the smallest needle you have on hand so you don't get super huge holes in the paper:

Then trim the long threads
And there you go! Now you can get crankin' on all those thank you's for those Christmas gifts!

Here are some general etiquette rules for thank you cards:

1. Send your thank you notes as quickly as possible.

2. Always make specific reference to the gift that is the subject of the note, such as "Thank you so much for the blue sweater. How did you know that was my favorite color?"

3. Provide children with age-appropriate notecards or paper and help them with the message. This year my son scribbled with crayon and I wrote Thank You over it, and included it in our more formal thank you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

O Christmas Goodies, O Christmas Goodies...

I got all of the Christmas goodies done today! I decided to have a task focused day to get all of our snacks made today, so that
a) It only took one day and not a lot of evenings
b) We wouldn't eat too many goodies early!

Here is the lineup:
The Traditional Chex Mix - both my family and my husband's family eats lots of this around the holidays!
Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies - this is a new addition this year, and my husband has been very happy with the "test cookies"Buckeyes - these weren't planned to be included, but we had some given to us (Thanks Laura!) and they were so good, I decided to make some for ourselves!

And in the freezer waiting to thaw and rise Christmas Eve night, the Cinnamon Rolls!

Of course, my day of baking was filled with extra episodes of "Jack's Big Music Show" to keep my son entertained. After I finished washing the dishes, this is where I found him:

Merry Christmas and happy snacking everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Card Display on Cabinet

I have found a new way this year to display all the cute Christmas card photos we received this year!

I needed a way to display the cards in a way that my son who loves to touch touch touch everything couldn't get into them. I used a wide red ribbon, regular clothespins and the wonderful green painters tape to attach the ribbon to the back of the cabinet.
I think next year I'll do something similar, but keep my eye out for some cute mini silver clothespins while I'm shopping next year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fun Reindeer Handprint Project

Here is a fun Christmas project I saw at Gig Harbor Scrapper thru Today's Creative Blog. I did not do my son's feet for the reindeer head, because I can't handle having more than one appendage of my child dipped in paint at one time! His grandparents all loved the gifts!

Look at that cute handprint!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Gyro" Burgers with Cucumber Sauce

So this recipe is a combination of few recipes from I am trying to branch out from eating Mexican every night! I served this with sliced onion on buns, and a side salad. I wish I still had my Penzey Greek Seasoning to use with the burgers, so I totally guessed on the burger seasoning. The verdict? We really enjoyed the cucumber sauce, the burgers.......well not so much! I'll keep looking!

Recipe: Gyro Burgers in Cucumber Sauce




Gyro Burgers with Cucumber Sauce Burgers:
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons onion, grated
1 slice bread, toasted and crumbled
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 dash ground cumin

Cucumber Sauce:
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup peeled and grated cucumber
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley




Burgers: In large bowl, combine ground beef, onion, and bread crumbs. Season with marjoram, salt, pepper and cumin. Knead until mixture is stiff. Shape into 4 patties. Cook patties for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.

For the Sauce: Combine the sour cream, cucumber, dill, garlic powder, lemon juice, and parsley in a bowl; stir to combine. Chill in refrigerator at least one hour before serving.

Number of servings (yield): 4
Meal type: dinner
Culinary tradition: USA (General)

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking


Hello out there! Well after months of reading blogs blogs and more blogs, I thought "Why can't I do this?" So here I go and please come along!