Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Goodbye Tomoko!

We loved having you with us and you'll be dearly missed!
If you ever have the opportunity to host a foriegn student, do it. It will never be the "right time" so jump right in when the opportunity presents itself. What a blessing it will be :)

FNCCC - Week 29 - Paula Deen

AGGGGHHHH. It's Paula Deen week and I passed up all of the down home, Southern comfort, sweet and salty, yummy food for Marinated Tomatoes. Don't get me wrong, they were good. But I have numerous others that I will be trying at a later time. I'm still trying to use up items I have on-hand.

Soon, Paula, soon, I will try your Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup and your Loaded Oatmeal Cookies .

Marinated Tomatoes
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used much less without poor results - 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 to 3 green onions, chopped
4 to 6 large tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
Combine all ingredients, except tomatoes, in a large measuring cup or mixing bowl. Whisk well. Place tomatoes in a resealable plastic bag and pour marinade over. Marinate at room temperature for up to 2 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

Can't wait to see what you are cooking! Link your post to MckLinky below. Enjoy your week~

Thursday, March 25, 2010

FNCCC Assignment #29 - Paula Deen

Next week's FNCCC is Paula Deen!
"Start with one part Southern charm, add a dash of "hey y'all" and pour in a bountiful dose of cooking expertise, and you have the recipe for Paula Deen , host of three popular Food Network shows, including Paula's Home Cooking. Paula Deen is a self-made success story who learned the secrets of Southern cooking from her Grandmother some 30 years ago. She had no idea at the time that the love for Southern cooking her grandmother instilled in her would lead to a life-long career."
I know she gets a bad rap for her high fat and high sugar recipes but I just love her. She has a great story to tell as well. Food is meant to be enjoyed, and it's hard not to enjoy her food. Everything in moderation and we'll all be fine. Don't be afraid of the butter!
We'll post her recipes on Wednesday, March 31, 2010. Can't wait to see what other Paula recipes I can find that are fabulous!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - I'm Going to Drive My Car

I can only drive backwards but I don't mind!Where I really like to be is on top!
No fear here!

FNCCC - Week 28 - Patrick and Gina Neely

Pat and Gina Neely are the hosts of Food Network's Down Home with the Neely's. They make great southern food! I choose the Black-Eyed Pea Salad because I am trying to clean out my pantry and had a bag of black eyed peas I was supposed to cook for New Year's. So instead of canned beans, I soaked the dried beans over night and cooked them in the crock pot for a few hours until they were almost tender. I froze half of them for another occasion.

This salad was nice and fresh. I loved the simple flavors. Certainly and nice change from regular boiled black eyed peas. I will use this is my summer salad rotation. It would be great for a cookout!

Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Recipe courtesy The Neelys, 2008

1 large tomato, diced
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the rice wine vinegar, canola oil, sugar, and salt and pepper.
Toss all together and let marinate for at up to 8 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

I can't wait to see what you chose! Please link your post to MckLinky below. Enjoy your week~

Friday, March 19, 2010

Small Talk Six - Wishful Thinking Foods

Today’s Small Talk Six topic at is “6 things you love to eat, but rarely get to because at least one other person in your household does not care for it.” You can answer this with a list of 6 words, 6 phrases, 6 sentences, 6 paragraphs, 6 photos, 6 videos, etc . . .

This really isn't that easy because I often make these things anyway :) Sorry, hubby and kids.

1. Supreme Veggie Pizza with thin whole wheat crust

2. Heuvos Rancheros

3. Whole wheat anything (they will eat WW pasta but bread they all prefer a lighter one)

4. Reuben Sandwiches (or Reuben casserole, it's the sauerkraut and pumpernickle)

5. Amatriciana Sauce (too spicy for them)

6. Eggplant Parmesan

Want to join in? Go here to learn how and to view the weekly Small Talk Six topics for 2010.

Aloha Friday - Favorite Blog

"In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response."
So head over to her site, An Island Life and answer her question but while you are here you might as well answer mine:

Hand's down, what is your favorite blog or website to get sucked into?

I'm a big fan of The Pioneer Woman. When I first found her, I spent hours looking through the recipes and reading the story of how she met her husband. I even got the cookbook - which I love, even if most of the recipes are already on the blog. It's amazing how she finds the time to post so much (and in so many categories).
I would love to hear about the blogs you just can't pull yourself away from!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

List of Memes, Carnivals, and Blog Hops

I haven't shared this in awhile and need to look at it myself! I get in a blogging rut. I'm constantly updating this so let me know if you want me to include others!

Not Me! Monday
Menu Plan Monday
Make Me Laugh Monday
Musical Monday
I *heart* Faces
Simple Woman's Daybook
Make Do Monday
Mailbox Monday
Unplugged Project - weekly themed projects
Muffin Tin Monday
Music Monday
Time Out Monday
Memory Monday - scrapbooking!
Favorite Favorite iPhone Application Monday Meme
Mommy Monday

Two Cent Tuesday
Totally Talented Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tackle it Tuesday
Random Tuesday Thoughts
Help for Growing Families
Tightwad Tuesday
Take Me Back Tuesday - new
Tiny Talk Tuesday
What's on Your Tot's Plate
Tip the Scale Tuesday

Worldless Wednesday or Wordless Wednesday
Wordful Wednesday
Works For Me! Wednesday
Paper Crafting Wednesday
Food Network Chefs Cooking Challenge

Watery Wednesday

A Thousand Word Thursday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap
Slow Cooking Thursday
Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop
Thrifty Thursday
Mother Hen's Homemade Thursday
Thankful Thursday
Things I Love Thursday
52 Weeks
Kids in the Kitchen
Boggle Me Thursday
How Does Your Garden Grow? - new!
Three Things Thursday

Aloha Friday
Flabby Friday
Focus Friday

Grilling Goodness
Family Foto Fun Friday
Frugal Friday
Friday Fragments
Friday High Fives
Say it Forward
Virtual Girls Night Out
Friday Book Projects
Kid Friendly Friday
Show and Tell Friday
Feminine Friday
Friday Funnies
Friday's Fave Five

Favorite Ingredients Friday
Five Ingredient Fridays
The Way to a Man's Heart
Preschool Corner

Someday Saturday
Saturday Showcase
Photo Hunt
Random Picture Challenge
Camera Critters
Small Talk Six
Weekend Fun Food
Show and Tell Saturdays
Saturday Salads - in the fall/winter it was Saturday Soups
Saturday Picture Suprise
Raven's Saturday Wordzzle Challenge

Support Our Troops Sunday
Sunday Stealing
Tot School

Carnival of Aloha
Monthly Craft Challenge
Mod Podge Mania

Do you have one that you would like to add? Just let me know!

FNCCC Assignment #28 - Patrick and Gina Neely

The chef's for next week are Pat and Gina Neely. "Co-owners of Neely's Bar-B-Que, Patrick (Pat) and Gina Neely have turned their family restaurant into one of the most successful barbecue restaurants in the South. Now they share the secrets behind their favorite dishes and their passion for food, family, and fun on Food Network's Down Home with the Neelys."
I love watching their show (so does my middle daughter) but after reading several reviews (which are supposed to be about the recipes) it revealed that not everyone loves their touchy-feely relationship in the kitchen. They are fun. Their food is great (think lots of Southern comfort food) and I'm excited to try out some different foods from them.
We'll post recipes from there on Wednesday, March 24. Can't wait to see what you are cooking!

HERE is the list of upcoming chefs if you want to plan ahead.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Channeling Cindy Lou Hoo

I couldn't help it....her hair is getting long enough for these teeny tiny pigtails.

FNCCC - Week 27 - Nigella Lawson

This week's chef in the Food Network Chefs Cooking Challenge is Nigella Lawson and, if you were like me, it was very hard time picking just one recipe (OK, two, I needed to try her Cherry Cheesecake too!) . I settled on the Chocohotopots. This is definitely going into my dessert file. They are heavenly and, with a prep time of less than 5 minutes, they can't be beat. I didn't stray from the recipe one little bit. They are very rich, very chocolaty and a lot of fun. Cake with hot fudge sauce built right in. Try them. You will not be sorry you did!

Recipe courtesy Nigella Lawson

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, with 60 percent cocoa solids
2 eggs
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Special equipment: 4 (2/3 to 1-cup capacity) ramekins

Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Butter the ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter.

Either in a microwave or in a bowl suspended over a pan over simmering water, melt the dark chocolate and 1 stick butter, then set aside to cool a little.

In another bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar and flour with a hand whisk and beat in the cooled butter and chocolate mixture. Divide the mixture between the 4 buttered ramekins. Bake for about 20 minutes, by which time the tops will be cooked and cracked and the chocolate gooey underneath.

Place each ramekin on a small plate with a teaspoon and serve. Make sure to warn people that these desserts will be HOT! (if you are like me, this will not deter you from immediately diving right in :)

The Cherry Cheesecake was outstanding for a no bake cheesecake! The only change I made was to make individual ramekins instead of one big one. I had to try it because Tomoko, the Japanese student that is staying with us, says cheesecake is her favorite. We loved it. She loved it. I will be making this simple and yummy dish again!

So what did you cook this week? Did you hit the jackpot like I did? TWO fabulous desserts that are so easy to whip up!!! Link your post to MckLinky below. Enjoy your week!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tempt My Tummy Coconut Curry Chicken Stew

This curry stew was so quick, easy (one pot!), and tasty that I had to share. I have never used skinless, boneless chicken thighs and have never cooked curry so it was a first for a few things. I cut lots of fat off the thighs. Not sure if that's normal. I cannot believe how tender the meat was! The girls even ate it (no broth from the soup as they thought it was too spicy, just chicken pieces and rice). The sweet potato mellowed the flavor a lot and just fit so nicely. I tried it before adding the coconut milk and I would have enjoyed it without, although the coconut milk gave it another layer of flavor. My husband commented how he thought curry was always spicy and this one was just fine. I got this from magazine. Did I mention it only uses one pot? That is big for me :)

Coconut Curry Chicken Stew

2 T evoo
1 1/2 cups sliced halved onions
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 t salt
1/4 cup carry powder (Madras is GREAT)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 cups cubed sweet potatoes, skinned and 1 inch cubes
14 oz chicken broth
14.5 oz coconut milk

Heat oil in large pot over medium high heat until hot. Cook onions 2 minutes or until beginning to soften, stirring occasionally. Add chicken, sprinkle with salt. Cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until chicken starts to brown

Add curry powder and garlic and cook and stir 1 minute. Add sweet potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 to 12 minutes until potatoes are tender. Stir in coconut milk and simmer another 3 minutes.

Enjoy over rice, veggies, or just how it is. I think it's even better the next day :)

Go check out other Tempt My Tummy recipes at Blessed With Grace!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

FNCCC Assignment #27 - Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson is our next Food Network chef. She has over 200 recipes on the FN site with a HUGE variety. I'm sure you'll find something that will suit you.

"Nigella Lawson is the British bestselling author of Nigella Express: Good Food Fast, Feast: Food to Celebrate Life, Forever Summer, Nigella Bites, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, and How to Eat, which have sold in excess of 5 million copies worldwide. Her 2005 book Feast: Food to Celebrate Life inspired Nigella Feasts, which debuted on Food Network in fall 2006. Her second Food Network series, Nigella Express, launched in fall 2007 in conjunction with the release of her book, Nigella Express. American audiences also know Nigella as host of Forever Summer with Nigella, her popular cooking/lifestyle series that aired on style, and Nigella Bites, which aired on E! Entertainment Television and style."

Did you know that Natashya, over at Living in the Kitchen With Puppies, a regular FNCCC participant, has another blog I Heart Cooking Clubs, which hosted SIX MONTHS of cooking with Nigella Lawson (ends at the end of this month). They do themes each week with the same chef in mind (cool idea!). So if you need some inspiration, head over there!
Nigella Lawson #27 - post March 17, 2010

Thousand Word Thursday - The ZOO

Our first family picture in ages.The petting zoo feeding is always the biggest attraction.

And what's the huge draw with these picture things?

Little Bit is a brave one. No fear. She even went right up and pet the big snake. Something her big sisters would not do.

Cheaper Than Therapy holds A Thousand Word Thursday each week. Go visit to check out other pictures!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Daddy Daughter Dance

Little Bit didn't get to go this year but she sure wasn't going to miss out on the pictures :)

Check out more Wordless/Wordful Wednesday posts HERE or HERE.

FNCCC - Week 26 - Michael Symon

This week's Food Network Chef is Michael Symon. I didn't find anything on the FN site that caught my attention so I searched the Internet and found this beautiful recipe at Food & Wine - Toasted Cornmeal Corn bread. Toasting the cornmeal makes this unique. The flavor is so unlike regular corn bread. I am from the north and like my corn bread sweet while my husband is a Southerner and likes his corn bread salty. This was a good mix because the smoky flavor from the toasting goes nicely with the honey. Loved it!

Toasted Cornmeal Corn Bread
Recipe by
Michael Symon

2 cups course yellow cornmeal (I couldn't find course so used the regular)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup honey, warmed
2 large eggs, beaten
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Oil a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan.

2. In a medium skillet, toast the cornmeal over moderately high heat, stirring con
stantly, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. (I was afraid this might be hard to tell with the small grind corn meal but if you keep the cornmeal container open you can really see the difference. You can tell by the smell as well.) Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk with the honey and eggs. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and whisk until moistened. Add the butter and whisk until smooth.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the corn bread cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

The corn bread can be wrapped in foil and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days. Reheat in the foil.
Doesn't it have such a nice color?
Can't wait to see what you've been cooking! Link your post to MckLinky below.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy Day! Happy Day! A Penzeys is Coming My Way!

I LOVE Penzeys Spices. Love. Them. A girlfriend of mine in St. Paul turned me on to them by sending me one of their awesome gift packs for Christmas one year. There was no turning back. Each summer when I visit my parents I ALWAYS visit the Grand Avenue Penzeys. When we stopped by my brother's in New Berlin, WI, we visited the one in Brookfield as well. The closest one to me in Jacksonville, FL, which is forever away. I do order on-line but there's just something about going into the store.

I just received a postcard in the mail that tells me a Penzeys is opening less than 10 miles from me. Hoorayyyyy! It's a happy day!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Fragments - Feedburner Emails?

Some of my random thoughts today!

Yesterday Little Bit woke up from her nap with seriously bad hair and a need for juice. It's like me with my coffee in the morning....just helps you wake up a bit!

I have been super busy the past two weeks and just realized that I have not been getting any of my email blog subscriptions. Any of you having that problem? Do they just stop sometimes? How do I get them back or do I have to go back and subscribe to each email feed again??

We are having a Japanese student stay with us for the month of March. She comes tonight and we are all so excited! It's going to be a crazy month taxiing everybody.

The event that my girls look forward to AL YEAR LONG is tonight....the Daddy Daughter Dance! WooHoo! Tomorrow Mimi will start asking how long until the next Daddy Daughter Dance. Gotta love it!

I just finished a Yellow Submarine know, We all live in a yellow submarine.... FUN! Go see it HERE. Next week I am making a huge bike.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kids in the Kitchen - Little Bit

I've been making a lot of cakes lately and end up baking a good deal of our mornings. Little Bit is a mess maker so I've had to store our learning tower in the hallway, otherwise we couldn't leave anything unguarded on any surface. When she hears the mixer going she uses all her strength to drag the tower into the kitchen and watches me bake. So cute.
We know she can drag the tower around but it's loud enough that we have warning that she is about to get into something.
Dragging. Climbing.

Much better view.

Can you see her little "wow" face?

Go over to A Little Fun With Me and Lu to check out more Kids in the Kitchen posts!