Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Thankful #30

Today I am thankful for encouragement.

via here

I love and am so moved when I am on the receiving end of encouragement from others about a new endeavor, current endeavor, uncertainty, etc.  But I also am so happy and impressed when I hear others being encouraged..from a little kid trying to ride a bike to an adult about to make a speech, etc.  The sentiment and support behind encouraging others is often just something I take for granted and today I am thankful for it!



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving Thankful #29

I am thankful for hot chocolate, heat-heated seats, heated blankets, etc., warm sweaters, mittens, scarves, etc.

I am a wuss when it first turns cold..I need a few weeks to not be shivering and turning blue!  Well we got into the low 30s tonight and I was out and about and just with my sweatshirt..until I raided the backseat and I got all the warmy goods I needed!!

So thank you to the items that kept me and keep me warm and safe in wintery weather!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pineapple Blueberry Crunch Cake-So easy they won't believe it!

mmmmmm  so good and SO EASY!!!

This was my first attempt at something that was not just a box..now admittedly part of it is just a mix in the box..but that is what gave me courage to say let's go for it!!

I was watching Food Network...saw the amazing Paula Deen making this cake and was like I think I can do this (huge I know since I had watched this channel for oh YEARS without attempting a single recipe!!)

First time I made it I made it with cherries instead of blueberry b/c dad doesn't like blueberry and NO pecans (neither dad or I like them..mom does though poor lady). Second time I made it I did not have a pie filling so just used a fruit cocktail.  Third time I used blueberry pie filling and pecans as instructed...have to say it..the third time was the BEST..thought the cherry was pretty amazing as well:)  This non-pecan loving gal actually thought the pecans made the cake..it had a crisper texture on top to even out the gooey yum on the bottom!

**With the fruit cocktail, I had to cook it longer and it did not sit as well b/c more juice the filling in the pan.  Might be obvious to some, but not to me until AFTER I made it...however, it still was pretty darn good to us**

You can find the recipe for this cake AKA the lazy man cake HERE or below!






Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, plus more for dish
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, in juice
  • 1 (20-ounce) can blueberry pie filling
  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13 by 9-inch casserole dish.
Melt 3/4 cup butter in saucepan over low heat.
Pour the pineapple with juice into the casserole dish and evenly spread blueberry pie filling on top. Cover with dry yellow cake mix and top with pecans. Drizzle with melted butter and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
**
Beginner cook aka ME notes~ I needed more butter b/c I always have had dry cake mixture after it cooked..so maybe I just haven't gotten the hang of pouring it yet?? 
Super easy right? AND whoever you cook this for is going to love it AND they will not BELIEVE how easy it was to make!!
PS~ Mom and dad liked theirs even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side!



Wordless Wednesday- It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas




*Three of the furbabies- Ms.Taylor, Mr. BlackJack and Ms. Scarlett!!!  Please remember all pictures are mine and not to be used without permission.  Thank you**

Thanksgiving Thankful #28

New adventures!

Today my family and I are going to start a new class at the church and it made me reflect on the concept of new adventures and how things are yup...changing!  I am so grateful for the opportunity to have new adventures and see what I can learn and where I go!

What new adventures are you off and exploring??

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cuteness=Chihuahua day!!

A little dash of cuteness for y'all today!

Snuggle bugs

someone has a new buddy!!

Why must she continue taking my picture??


dashing fellow isn't he?

Such a lady!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Daily Chef Spanakopita- REVIEW

I love LOVE love Spanakopita!!  I make my parents go with me to the local Greek restaurant at least once as week so I can order it.  When I go to the Greek festival each year I must have it.  And I must go to more than one city's Greek festival!  These things are delicious!

So when we were at Sams Club the other day and saw these I had to try them!  Overall they are good.  They do not have the exact same flavor profile as the fresh ones from the Greek restaurant or festival in my home town, but I also can't tell what exactly is missing.

They come 6 in a row, don't break apart before cooking and very easy to separate after cooking.

Much smaller than the ones I get at the restaurant and festival, so this is actually three that I placed to take a picture and have my family try.

As I said they overall are good and while I would prefer to go the Greek restaurant, on days I couldn't get there or they are closed this would be a great item to have in your house.  You never know when you might need a quick Spanakopita fix!

Thanksgiving Thankful #26

The start of the holiday season!!

I love the crispness in the air (during the holidays), how everyone is talking about family/traditions/Christmas/Thanksgiving/etc.  I love the general feel that everyone is trying to be nice/pleasant/helpful to each other.  This time of year is fantastic for reflection and for just thinking about how thankful and blessed we truly are in our every day lives!


Deviled Eggs..so many ways so many flavors

Who doesn't love deviled eggs?  So good and they just scream holiday meal (though to be honest my family makes them all the time!!)

I normally follow my mother's method which is cooking the eggs, then taking the yolk, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.  I have always added to it just a dollop of mustard.  Yes dollop b/c I have never measured ingredients until the last few weeks..oppsie!

Well when I made these the other day I wanted to expand my cooking knowledge box..so Food Network to the rescue!  I found a recipe from Sandra Lee HERE or you can see it below!

My finished product on my mom's lovely Christmas plate!

DIRECTIONS: Mash 6 hard-boiled egg yolks, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise or yogurt, 1 1/2 teaspoons spicy mustard, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon relish and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Fill the egg whites with the yolk mixture. Top with chopped chives and crumbled cooked bacon.

**I did not have spicy mustard..I had a sweet & spicy mustard that I used.  I did not have plain relish.  I had a sweet pepper relish that I used.I did not have chives..I did not add/use Anything**

Until today I have always taken a spoon and just dipped the spoon into the mixture and then into the eggs.  Well I was watching Paula Deen on Food Network and she showed how to use a plastic sandwich type bag, cut the tip and pipe the mixture into the eggs...LOVED it!  The eggs looked so much better!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Thankful #25

I am thankful for you!!

Each day as I work on my blog, my writing, what I review, how to cook, etc. I am thrilled and so thankful that more and more people are checking it out and giving feedback!  Really it makes me ecstatic b/c while this is fun to write and keep up, I do not want to do it just as an online journal for myself.  haha, I want this to be a way to connect to other bloggers, job seekers, readers, cooks, etc.!

So thank you.  Thank you for taking the time to read about me, my endeavors and my blog posts!

via here

Ham Broccoli Mac N' Cheese Casserole- Say what??

Okay the title is a bit long and so is the name of the dish...BUT we needed a dinner and had these ingredients so I plugged them into the handy little Google app...and VIOLA!  dinner recipes were abundant!  You can find the recipe HERE on Food.com or below with my pictures!


** I did not have margarine- I used smart start butter.  I did not have flour-I used NOTHING. I did not use milk, I used lactaid free milk.  I can't eat onions..so I used onion powder! I did not have "diced cooked ham" I had deli ham that I cut up into smaller pieces:)..and; I did not have a thing to shred the cheese with so I cut up enough cheese into small/very small pieces**

Ingredients:
Servings: 6
Units: US | Metric
2 cups uncooked pasta, I used rotini
10 ounces of chopped broccoli, thawed
2 tablespoons stick margarine
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2-2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
12 ounces of diced cooked ham
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided


Directions:
1: Cook pasta according to directions on pasta box.
2:Drain, but do not rinse.
3:In same pan that you cooked the pasta in, add margarine and onion.
4:  Cook until onion is slightly softened, add flour and stir until well combined.
5:Add milk a little at a time, until slightly thickened, you might not need all the milk.
6: Then add dry mustard,cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
7: Remove from heat.
8: Add up to 1 1/2 cups of cheese, and stir until melted.
9: Add pasta back to cheese mixture, stir until well combined.
10: Then stir in broccoli and diced ham.
11: Place into a greased 2 quart baking dish.
12: Sprinkle top with remaining cheese, and bake in a pre heated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.


**I served the casserole with a side of whole kernel corn (from a can..but cooked down with butter for about 30 minutes on the stop..and slices of red apple!**

Easy level- GREAT..all ingredients I knew and had some variation of and the instructions were easy to follow!

Most certainly beginner cook friendly!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chebe Gluten Free Pizza- REVIEW

I love pizza.  I think it is fantastic.  Unfortunately pizza does not love me.  I have tried many types of pizza and still get sick...sooo I have been trying to be more aware of gluten items and trying to incorporate that into my life and see if I feel better.

*Yes I know that it is recommended to go to a doctor, but when I went I was told nothing is wrong with me..and yet I still get ill frequently..sooo**

I got this Pizza as a "gift" from family to try and see if it would make me sick or not.  Well I made it last night and...I thought it was FANTASTIC..and BONUS no illness afterwards!

It was super easy to make...just 2 tbsp of oil, 2 eggs, optional cheese (I used cheddar), and then 1/4 cup water or milk (I used silk).  Once everything is put into a bowl just mix and blend until smooth.  From there I placed it on a pan, spread it out for a good amount and then added my ingredients.  Once all of the ingredients were placed on the crust I baked it for 15 minutes...then another 4 minutes b/c the middle of the pizza was still mushy(ish).




I used a general tomato sauce once I was happy with how the crust was spread out.  Though I should have spread out more is why I think the middle was mushy.

 

My second topping was baby spinach.  The pizza recipe I found called for basil, but I did not have that so I used baby spinach which I think is one of the best things ever!



Huge fan of mozzarella here..especially the mozzarella balls...so I had some in my fridge.  I just took them and broke them in half and scattered them over my pizza.


 The last ingredient I put on the pizza was the absolutely flavorful and to-die-for prosciutto.  YUMMMO


Out of the oven..making my mouth water just looking at the pizza!! 

The topping recipe for this pizza came from the back of the prosciutto container...so good!

I would most certainly use this recipe again and I already have the pizza mix listed on my next grocery list!!

Do you have a favorite pizza mix?  Do you make yours without the aid of a box mix?  Let me know!



Thanksgiving Thankful #24

Today I am grateful for Silence.

I am a very talkative person, but I also enjoy and appreciate the gift of and power of silence.  Sometimes a comfortable silence is worth more between two people then all the gabbing in the world.  So today I am thankful for the use and gift of silence.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Thankful #23

Today I am thankful sunrises, naps and sunsets!!

While I did not partake in the Black Friday shopping, I did observe all three of the above items!  And they were all magnificent!


**I will be posting about holiday events/fun after tomorrow b/c I still have family events tomorrow, but thank y''all for all the warm wishes and thoughts this Thanksgiving!!**

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Thankful #22

The little things...

Today on Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for the little things.  The things that I take for granted or that I do not thank about in a separate train of thoughts.  For these things and all the little things that make my happy or help make me happy and others happy I am so grateful and thankful!!

Hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving Day with family and friends!!  Stay tuned for some great cooking adventures on this here turkey day (ps we don't have turkey at my house...we do ham!)

Happy Thanksgiving


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

John Frieda Precision Foam Colour- REVIEW

I have only dyed my hair twice by myself, once with Perfect 10 and then this time with John Frieda.

Ease wise they are about the same, but colour wise I have to say I really enjoyed the John Frieda product.




I was super nervous about doing my own hair (especially going from blonde to red...but the instruction, the product and the process were easy as 1-2-3!

The product was a little under $12, which considering my hair usually costs $75-125 what a STEAL!!  The smell was light to none, especially when thinking about normal smells to go blonde.  The wait was 20-30 minutes to see how the final color turned out.

Overall I am very happy!  I am not exactly the shade I want, but that is my fault in reading the color spectrum, not the product.  So in a few weeks I will be buying another box to get to the exact shade of red I want.

The blonde I was 

The redhead I became!

Final thoughts~  To those looking to save money, try something new, looking for a cover-up in between special trips to salon this is a FANTASTIC product, one that I look forward to using again!

Classy Southern Charm rating~ 4 Stars



Thanksgiving Thankful #21

Tradition...yes the other day I was thankful for changes, but today it is all about family traditions!


I love looking forward to certain things and some family traditions are on that list.  Today was the Spencer-Salisbury Holiday Caravan that I have attended almost every year since I was 5 or 6.  I was able to go to it today with my parents and some of the furbabies and I am so thankful for that!

There has  been quite a few years that we were not able to attend as a family b/c of health reasons and so to be there today and to enjoy it with each other was fantastic!

Ms. Taylor in her Ms. Claus finest!!

Mr. BlackJack in his Mr. Claus finest!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bourbon Glazed Meatballs....oh yeah

OMG...just mmmmmmm

Not to toot my own horn, but wow these were good!!  I finally understood the difference in frozen v. fresh meatballs (I had heard Gordon Ramsay and Bobby Flay talk about it before, but did not really think it made a huge difference...I was WRONG).  The recipe I found used frozen meatballs, but I found a recipe for fresh meatballs and then had to tweak that since I did not have all the ingredients.

SO I am going to post pictures...and also the two recipes (but with my changes above the actual recipe)

MEATBALLS
I put all my ingredients together beforehand...when I realized I did not have Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs or parsley!!

After doubling the recipe, mixing it all together I had 35 meatballs and they were cooking away!

20 minutes later, a bit smaller, cooked and smelling/tasting firm, moist and flavorful!

I started with Alton Brown's recipe for baked meatballs and then tweaked it since I was missing some ingredients.  You can find his recipe HERE or posted below.  

As already mentioned I was missing some of the suggested meats, spinach,  parsley, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.  I tweaked it by hamburger meat and sausage, taking another mild cheese-emmental (mild to me anyway), cut it up into super tiny pieces, ignored the bread crumbs and parsley.  ALSO~ I doubled the recipe because it said it was made with the thought that there would only be 18 meatballs.  My family loves..LOVES..meatballs so we usually make more (total of 3 lb. in meat).

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 pound ground round
  • 5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, divided

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, lamb, ground round, spinach, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs. Using your hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Use immediately or place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Place the remaining 1/4 cup of bread crumbs into a small bowl. Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1.5-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds, roll in the bread crumbs and place the meatballs in individual, miniature muffin tin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.


 BOURBON GLAZE


The entire reason I wanted to try this recipe!  haha no joke.


All of my ingredients (and YES I had all of the required/suggested ingredients)!!

Everything mixed together!!

Simmering away, all combined, smelling heavenly for our dinner tonight!!

I doubled this recipe as well since I doubled the meat it suggested.  I also researched what type of bourbon whiskey was good for cooking.  I found the recipe HERE and I found the suggested cooking bourbons HERE.





 Once this dish was done and both recipes were completed I sat down to a very full and fantastically achieved meal!!  I was so happy and proud:)  I also for the first time in my LIFE handled the meat without gloves, spoon, etc.  SUCCESS all around!