Saturday, August 29, 2009

Creating Memories

My grandmother, we called her Dar (short for Doris) and my grandfather, Poppop Henry when they were younger. Aren't they beautiful, they look like a sitcom couple.

One of my fondest memories as a child was playing in grandmom's bathroom medicine was covered the whole wall over the double or triple sinks they had in the bathroom. She sold Avon and had tons of fun makeup and cold creams and even wigs on top of the cabinet..she was a show girl when she was younger, so she had all of the cool stuff..she was pretty hip as far as grandmoms go! Of course, fond memories cooking with both her and mom, summers at the pool, I just reminisced about with an old friend, and too many other memories to mention here. I would not want to bore you, they are my memories, you probably don't remember doing them lol.
We are always creating great memories and no matter who bad you thought your childhood was, there have to be some warm memories that you just love! I am sure my boys have many fond memories of growing up, unfortunately they weren't hanging at grandma's like we did, my grandparents lived across the street from us growing up so we got to see them every single day.

My nieces came over this morning, to hang out while my sister had something to get done. It was early, we ate cereal and then watched The Bee Movie and while we were watching that, I was thinking...I don't want the memories of Aunt Shannon's house to be watching tv I got out my jewelry making supplies and had them make an anklet and bracelet. I did not give them any advice, I gave them two trays of supplies to pick out of and design their own jewelry.

Taylor made this adorable anklet (hard to see in the pic) using pink seed beads, little pearls, butterfly shaped metal beads, and a heart charm.

Brianna made this yummy bracelet with multicolored glass beads, metal butterfly beads and also a heart charm...(I told her it looked like edible candy)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pico de Gallo

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I made Pico de Gallo in less than 5 min from my garden veggies this morning and am now eating it non stop with tortilla chips.
I guess if you serve it on italian bread rounds, you can call it Bruschetta..with one or two adjustments...omit cilantro, replace with olive oil and oregano, basil..
I did not have any fresh cilantro in my garden, so I had to use dried..I better work on that!

Let me start of by raving about my Wolfgang Puck immersion blender..this thing can go in a pot to make soup, or you can use the handy little chopping container it comes with. I use this thing every single day of my life!
I love this thing.
I buy steak and chicken thighs and breasts and chop them myself to make my own ground beef and ground chicken...who knows what is in that stuff they put out at the store...I know what I put in mine...I use it for nuts, and veggies. I could go on and on about how much I love this thing.
I make a brussels sprouts and bacon and shallot hash for a side dish and this does all of the work for me.
You can make Margaritas, or any drink, mayonnaise, and even slushies, the sky is the limit.

I do not make any money on this product, but want to note, every kitchen should have one!

I started off using a bunch of grape tomatoes (they did get big, didn't they?)

Of course, hot peppers...WITH SEEDS...the seeds add heat (we want that!) and they contain alot of nutrients! I leave the seeds in my peppers and tomatoes...nutrients.
Three pulses of the immersion blender stick...and....this is what you get!

Why not, some green peppers.

Gotta have one of these tomato corers! Pampered Chef sells them too, I have one somewhere from them, but I have a few from the restaurant store too..costs about a buck!

quarter them....then chop

Dumping it all into a glass bowl as I go.


Now before we stir this....

Squeeze the juice of a lime into it...and some cilantro goes in too...I buy my limes in bulk at Sams...because I love lime in my water too...always have lime on hand...I am even growing a key lime tree in my kitchen...I threw a few seeds from a key lime I was cutting, into a pot and plopped it on my kitchen counter...its big limes yet...but its young.

And the finished product!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Swine Flu it safe

This is a great commentary on the swine flu vaccine and before you give in to getting a vaccine, you may want to listen to this.

It does not need to be tested before it's given in the US and the vaccine company is not going to be held liable for anything.

Click the link and pan down slightly and click on the blue box with a speaker and arrow to listen to him talk about the vaccine..educate yourself before you make any decisions...the flu can be prevented with herbs and vitamin d and things like that.

Please educate yourself!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Revisit to Rice Cooker info

I just got my Turquoise Rice Cooker today, thanks again Deb Murray! I am not new to the rice cooker, I have been using my for two years and its still something I use at least once a week.

I cannot tell you enough how this little magic machine makes the best meals..not just rice, but full meals...I updated this blog entry...please see the links at the this thing in action!!!!
With school sports starting, this thing is a Godsend! You throw in the ingredients and leave the house, come home to a completed meal...or stay home and wait 20 min and viola (wala lol T$)

Monkey Trifle (banana)

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I am no photographer and surely not a dessert chef but here is a wonderful trifle I made for my son's 14th birthday party. I quickly snapped a pic, but had no time for caring too much about the pic, I had so much to do...and so little time. There were about 20 crazy teenagers there, all scattered, some inside, some outside. I never got a group pic, which is a bit upsetting..but oh well. Family came to hang out as well.

This is so easy to make! Takes almost no time, and except for a nuke in the micro to melt the "ganache"...(coolwhip and choc chips) cooking either.

Monkey's Fav Banana Creme Trifle

18 whole graham crackers

3/4 c semi sweet chocolate chips

1 twelve oz container of Cool Whip,thawed

1 3.4 oz box banana cream instant pudding mix

1 C milk

1/2 lemon (for it's juice)

4 large bananas, sliced

Coursely crumble graham crackers with your hands and set aside

Next, to make the ganache, put chocolate chips and 1 & 1/2 C cool whip into a microwave safe bowl and nuke it for 15 seconds at a time and stir, doing this several times, until it comes together to form a creamy chocolatey fudgelike product (ganache). Put into a ziploc bag and cut off the tip to use as a piping bag.

In another bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk until it thickens, and then fold in remaining cool whip.

Drizzle half of the lemon's juice over top of bananas to prevent browning..

To assemble trifle, place 1/2 of the graham crackers on the bottom of the container you will serve it in, a trifle dish or glass bowl. Next place half of the bananas around the dish, sticking them against it all the way around and layer in the should still have half of the bananas left.
Next, take the piping bag of ganache and pipe it against the glass and drizzle it over the bananas in the center, using only about 1/3 of it.

Next layer half of the banana creme pudding over it, spreading out to the edge of the are trying to make this look like layers.

Repeat, using remaining graham crackers, remaining bananas, 1/3 of ganache, and remaining banana creme pudding.

Garnish the top with a banana slice or two or however you want, some graham cracker crumbs if you want and drizzle the remaining ganache on top....I did it in a B for my son's birthday.

I assembled this in my Southern Living Trifle dish, that doubles as a candy dish when not in use for trifle.
My son with some of his friends outside skateboarding and goofin off.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quesadillas are so much fun!

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Make the chicken ahead of time in the pressure cooker cooking it in water with the spices you like to infuse it, or buy it pre-cooked frozen and "nuke" it in the microwave, or get a rotisserie chicken and shred it.

I use my WP immersion blender and prep it all ahead of time...chopping chicken, peppers, onions, whatever i am using. I have it all ready and in the frige for when I am making quesadillas.

I spread the shredded cheese all over the tortillas to the edge to "glue" it shut and put the innards to about 1 inch to edge...cheese on top and bottom too to "glue" it.

If you have small children who are picky,chop veggies tiny to put in it. They wont' even know its there!

The sky is the limit with can use just cheese, add veggies of your choice or even seafood!

Don’t forget to top them off with Salsa, Avocado or Guacamole and or Sour Cream

Have fun! You can make them on a Panini Grill or a quesadilla maker. The gas grill, even a cast iron from pan with some flipping.

Wolfie's panini grill is awesome, like all of his appliances! (Can ya tell I have a thing for Wolfgang Puck?? He's so cute too)

Breakfast Quesadillas

1/4 c monterey jack or cheddar cheese shredded

2 flour toritillas

2 large eggs

1 T chives

precooked bacon, whatever you want!




beat eggs with chives, salt and pepper and pour slowly onto panini or quesadilla plates, cook egg 2-3 min and remove from griddle

put tortilla on panini or queadilla plates, cheese, egg, and cheese and tortilla on top close lid 3 min or until tortilla is lightely browned.

top with salsa

Cheese and Bean

1 16 oz can refried beans (or just canned beans of your choice)

1/4 c shredded cheese (whatever you like cheddar, monterey, etc)

1 small onion, minced

3 T pickled or fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped

6 flour tortillas Cheesy Quesadillas

1/2 c sour cream

1/2 c shredded cheese (cheddar, monterey jack)

2 scallions

1 t chili powder

1 T pickled jalapeno slices chopped (I buy mine chopped and use as relish too)

1 T minced cilantro

4 flour tortillas

Combine first six ingredients and spread onto toritills leaving 1/2 inch space around edges.

cook 3-4 min

Veggie Quesadillas

You can sub in zucchini or whatever you have or like.

1/2 c bell pepper and onion strips

1 t of your fav fajita seasoning

4 flour tortillas

1/2 c shredded cheddar or jack cheese


sour cream

guacamole sprinkle some cheese on tortilla, then veggies, salsa and cheese again. cook 3-4 min, slice and top with sour cream or guacamole

More options:

Ricotta, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, sausage. Pepperoni pizza, broccoli, ham,

etc anything that goes with cheese will work.

Some other options without cheese..

Peanut butter and Jelly or banana...


1 c canned apple pie filling or make your own (sliced apples, sugar, and cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg)

4 flour tortilla

powdered sugar and cinnamon to garnish

spread onto tortillas leaving half inch around edges with tortilla and shut the lid. 3-4 min till dessert...

this would work with sliced bananas mixed with alittle sour cream and cinnamon

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wolfgang Puck

Watch this video, this magic pot makes full meals with no effort!
there are tons of videos of the old model on you tube also to see what that does, and this one one, does so much more.

I am sooo excited.

I just got to see Wolfgang Pucks newest rice cooker! I have my rice cooker a few years now...and I never let it collect dust..its one of my top three appliances in my kitchen...right up there with his electric pressure cooker too. They beat out my kitchen aid stand mixer because I use them so much more often..more than anything in my kitchen! Super fast and simple meals, great in the kitchen, they don't heat it up in the summertime!

Take the tediousness out of cooking rice and steamed dishes with the Wolfgang Puck Stainless Steel Steamer and Rice Cooker. Not only does it cook rice easily without constant monitoring and adjustment, but it also steams veggies, seafood and other dishes in any of its 3 stainless steel steaming racks. Plus, the pot features a nonstick cooking surface for convenient food release and cleaning and a detachable lid that keeps rice fresh and retains heat for up to 12 hours.Wolfgang Puck Stainless Steel Steamer and Rice Cooker Includes:
Rice cooker housing
Rice cooker pot
Removable lid
Tempered glass lid
3 stainless steel steaming racks
Condensation collector
Measuring cup
AC power cord
Care and use manual/recipe book Product Features:
7 cup pre-cooking capacity yields up to 12 cups of cooked rice at a time
Create marvelous dishes with a flip of a switch
Ready alarm - dings to let you know when your rice is ready
Keep Warm function - rice cooker automatically switches to "WARM" when cooking process is complete and remains on that setting until unplugged; also switches to warm when there is no more water left in the reservoir
"MAX" fill line in rice cooker pot - gives you a clear indication of how much to fill
Keep warm and cook indicators - lets you clearly monitor which function has been activated
Condensation collector - helps prevent spills
Detachable power cord - remove and place in cooker when not in use for easy, compact stowage
Measuring cup - helps you keep accurate portioning for delicious results every time
Scoop - designed specifically for rice
Mirror-polished finish - stylish contemporary design that will accent your modern kitchen decor
Fashionable color choices - look great with your kitchen decor
User manual with recipes - includes a variety of creative recipes from one of the world's most celebrated chefs
Measures approx. 10-7/8"L x 9-3/8"W x 13.75"
Weighs approx. 5.5 lbs.
Model #: BDRCRS007
Hand wash pot, lid, steaming racks, cup, scoop and condensation collector; Do Not immerse housing in water - wipe clean with a damp cloth
Power Source: Plugs into household electrical outlet
500 Watts; 120V-60Hz
UL listed
Made in China
Comes with a manufacturer's 1-year limited warranty
About Wolfgang Puck...For years, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has entertained the Hollywood elite at his Beverly Hills restaurant, Spago. His skill in the kitchen and passion for quality have earned him a reputation that’s unparalleled in his field. Now, he brings that same level of excellence to his own line of professional-quality cookware. Puck’s renowned attention to detail is evident in the smart design and durable construction of his kitchenware, making it the perfect choice for today’s serious cook. If you share Puck’s passion for good food and great cookware, this collection is for you!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Design your own signature rubs and barbq sauces

(borrowed this pic from my idol Martha!)

Two great articles I read online yesterday are to make your own signature rubs and barbecue sauces.
Here on this link, you can create your own signature barbecue sauce...
and her on this link, you can follow a four step method to create your own signature dry rubs.
Rubs and Sauces - Secrets to Tender, Smoky Barbecue - Photos -

I could really have fun with this and can't wait to create my own signature sauces and rubs for my family to enjoy!

Be your own grill master and design your own "family recipe".

Free Recipe, they look good!

Just a quickie today, I wanted to share this before I forget! Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I get this newsletter from Maria Gracia of I need to get back on track with her and do her missions.
I wanted to share, you can subscribe to her great newsletter or buy her products and organizing ebooks on her site.

No Excuse Organizing

Do you ever feel defeated before you even get started? Do you have a million reasons (read: excuses!) why you can't get organized? Believe me, we have all been where you are. We've all used the same excuses to avoid getting things organized. For every excuse we can find to use, there is a solution.

So, if you are motivated to get organized, join along with us as we resolve our excuses and get organized.

1. There's just too much stuff!

Get rid of the stuff! I know we sound like a broken record when we say this, but it just illustrates the need to reduce the 'stuff'. If there is just too much stuff, it's time to remove some, whether you donate it, hold a garage sale, advertise on Freecycle or Craigslist, or just trash it--bottom line, get rid of the stuff!

2. I don't know where to start.

No matter what, you have to just pick a place and start. It isn't going to get any better until you do. It helps to know what needs to be done. To accomplish this, you need to make a master list. It isn't a hard thing to do, it's just a list of every single thing you want to do in your home, including decorating, remodeling and so forth. You can do a whole house Master List, or you can do a room by room Master List. Once you have completed your initial list, move one or two items from it to your daily or weekly to-do list. Don't try to do more than one or two items weekly, it will get too overwhelming.

3. I just don't have time.

No one has every single second of every single day scheduled. No matter how busy we are, we all can find five, ten or even fifteen minutes in which we can get things done. It doesn't sound like much time, but you will be amazed at how much you can get accomplished in just a few minutes a day.

4. I want to get it all done now.

In all likelihood, your home did not get in this condition over night. No matter what, you aren't going to be able to change things overnight, or in one marathon session. It is highly likely you would only get discouraged and give up. So, schedule time into your day, just as you would any other important appointment, to work for that amount of time, whatever your task may be. Slowly, little by little, you will see changes.

5. I don't know how to go about getting organized.

Well, you've come to the right place. You'll find tons of tips and ideas in this newsletter, on my site, in my books and throughout my discussion forum. Everything you need is right at your fingertips when you visit the Get Organized Now!

6. My spouse won't toss anything.
So, don't worry about your spouse's belongings. You can't expect to jump in cold and change your spouse's ways.
If you are unable to convince your spouse to donate or sell his/her things, then just work on your things. Then negotiate with your spouse to declutter family things, or jointly owned things. Otherwise, just focus on decluttering and organizing your own items. Eventually your spouse may be inspired to join you in decluttering and organizing. Once your spouse sees how nice things look, and how easy they are to find, he/she will be more likely to team up in your quest to declutter and organize.
7. I get it organized, but it doesn't stay that way.
And it won't unless you put routines in place to help you maintain it. Just like your home doesn't stay clean once you clean it (wouldn't we all love that!), you need routine upkeep to keep things organized. A) Start cleaning up after you do anything. If you make a sandwich, clean up so that after you eat your sandwich, no one knows you've made one. B) Pick it up and put it away. If you see something out of place, pick it up and put it away. Just practicing these two routines each day will go a long way towards keeping things cleaned up and organized.

8. My children undo, whatever I do.

No matter what age your children are, they can and should have responsibilities around the home. Hold a family meeting and discuss all of the things that need to be done to keep your home running smoothly. Let your children choose which age-appropriate chores to do. If they choose them, they are more likely to complete them. Let them know too that they can re-negotiate which chores they'd prefer at the next meeting.

Hold regular family meetings, twice a month or even once a month. Every family member needs to be a cooperating family member. Remember, you are the parent, you are in charge. Be their parent, not their friend. Teach them what they need to know to be a functioning, responsible adult.

9. But, I might need it someday.

Every one of us has felt that way. The reality is that almost everything you do toss won't be missed at all. In all likelihood, you won't even remember what you've tossed. When a friend's grandfather died and things had to be cleaned out, it was amazing to see all the stuff he hung onto, just because he might need it someday. The list was very long and included things like bent rust nails, because someone might need them! If you do need it someday, in all likelihood, you can purchase it at a rummage sale, rent it or borrow it.

10. I don't know what I should get rid of.

There is an easy way to know what should stay and what should go. When trying to decide if an item should stay or go, ask yourself two questions.

1. Do I love it?
2. Do I use it? If the answer to both of these questions isn't yes --donate, sell, recycle or trash it. If you don't love it and use it, it shouldn't be taking up space in your home. And that includes gifts that you're keeping out of guilt. If it's something you are keeping for sentimental reasons that you just can't bear to part with, box it up and put the current date on the box, nothing more.

Mark your calendar about 6 months out. In six months, if you can't remember what is even in the box, and you didn't go to open it in the 6 months, it's very probable that you can donate the box and not even miss the items. If you do remember and still don't want to part with it, then start using and loving that item--frame it, display it, pass it to a child--give it the love and use it deserves!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fish Tacos...the lazy, no cooking way

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My kids eat tuna and salmon right from the pouches they come in..they tear into the packet, and stick a fork right down in and eat it.

I decided to doctor it up for them...added sour cream (instead of mayo for a chicken salad type of consistency)...add some taco seasoning (Yeah, this crap I bought has MSG in it, so I have to mix my own next time) and olive oil (had to sneak in more omega 3s). Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe is below.

Mix it up, spread it on a tortilla, add shredded cheddar cheese and "rabbit food" to your liking..and roll it up. Stick it in the frige for an hour to get it nice and cold and help keep its shape, and then get out and slice up into two's or threes or even bit sized one inch slices. Serve it with salsa or hot sauce on the side and maybe some guacamole or just plain old avocados!!

These packets are great for camping and snacking late nights...I know they have color added (well the Salmon does)..but at least my kids are eating that and not some junky potato have to pick your battles around here! Semi-nutritious is better than junk.

Quick tip on the shredded cheese..cheddar, mozzarella, etc...keep it in the can use it right out of the freezer and it stays fresh for ages! I do this also with grated and whole Parmesan cheese, and also with whole ginger can grate it and put the root back in the freezer for later use.
The guy who owns Salino's, the italian market I like to go to, told me that...he's a doll! He is always right there to wait on me...I never have to wait. When I get treated special at a store or restaurant, you can bet I will give them a Kudos!

Taco Seasoning
3/4 cup dried minced onion
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. each cornstarch, crushed dried red pepper
dried minced garlic, ground cumin
Combine all ingredients and seal in ziploc or vacuum seal bag (or jar).
To Use: 2 T Mix, 1/2 c. water & 1 lb ground beef, simmer altogether.
Add 2 Tbsp. dry mix to 1 lb. ground beef and 1/2 cup water.
Heat through.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


This is the basil in my kitchen garden. I plant this in the ground. I have some in planters for inside too, but I like to let it grow in the garden too. It got out of hand and became quite lanky. Oh well, I trimmed her up and she will bush out some again.

Here is my kitchen garden...yikes, I need to make curtains for my summer kitchen..that window looks awful, but I don't do much sewing in the summer time, so it will have to wait. We have a big field garden, and this is my little gardey by the house that I can run out and get stuff while cooking, in a pinch. I call it the kitchen garden. I have spaghetti squash, tomatoes of a few varieties, peppers of a few varieties, herbs, edamame, cabbage and eggplant. It also serves as a nursery for the baby blueberry bushes and our concord and niagara grapevines.

My rosemary is in a pot in the ground, so I can bring it in before frost..its my favorite herb!

Some basil in my hand.

Growing herbs indoors (and out) is simple and worthwhile. It's very inexpensive for the seeds, or even baby plants at a nursery, and they keep growing and growing and make kitchen recipes taste even better than store bought dried herbs in the spice section. They smell great growing and cooking!
Pan down on a friend's blog, " My Tasty Treasures" for a beautiful picture of her basil in a pot.
Here is a good site with some information on herbs.