Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2 New Recipes

I tried 2 new recipes tonight. First off: Baked-Skillet Spaghetti. This was SUPER easy. It all cooks in one 12 inch skillet. I was able to trim a few calories by using lean ground sirloin and turkey italian sausage. Other than that, it's a can of crushed tomatoes, garlic, herbs, noodles (Barilla Plus), half & half (instead of cream) and a cheese blend. Easy peasy! Incredibly tasty for how easy it is to cook and how simple the ingredients are.

Look at that spinach salad..so proud of myself on that one.


Then I promised my various co-workers at the 3 places I "work," that I would bring in some tasty morsels. My December/January issue of Cook's Country has a recipe for Blackberry Bliss Bars. These are addictive. Very bad since I've been trying to be good lately. They are essentially a Dolley Madison Bar or Magic Bar. It's a crumble type crust (with oatmeal and toasted coconut) with blackberry jam spread on top, then sprinkled with chocolate chips, toffee bits, toasted walnuts and some reserved crumble. Wow! Good thing I have 3 tupperware containers packed for my co-workers and David's. Like I need 24 chocolaty-blackberry goodness squares sitting around.

Mmm..you can see the jam oozing through the chocolate. It adds a fruity zing to the richness.

Christmas Decorations

I L-O-V-E Christmas decorations...David does not. So it's my job to pick stuff out and create new things. This year we added a couple of ornaments from our recent trip to the UK. Plus some tatted snowflakes that I made and a Santa Gourd from a craft sale.


A thistle from Scotland.

And Sherlock Holmes from England.

One of my tatted snowflakes.

Hand-painted Santa on a gourd.

Oh and my Candle Village with a wreath I decorated (the wreath was assembled by the folks at the tree farm).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Tree Farm

Yesterday we went with some friends of ours to a "Choose and Cut" Christmas Tree Farm. It's become a tradition since we've been up here. We head up to the mountains to Jim Frazier's farm. This year there was the added bonus of snow from the previous day. It was so pretty to see the trees with real snow highlighting their branches.

The scenery really made it feel like Christmas!

Debbie and I scoping a field of trees.

Brian in snow almost up to his knees.

David and I sharing a sweet moment.

Delicious dinner we had after we got back.

The coolest Christmas decoration ever! It's a ceramic tree that lights up. Love it!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

First Snow of the Year

What a pleasant surprise to look out the door while running errands...and see snow! When we got home, we decided to to Asta out to romp in the snow. He seemed to like it. :-)

Isn't he handsome!

And um...I made him a Grinch dog antler. Hehehe!!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Anniversary Weekend

I've been really lazy about posting lately. Sorry about that. October 27th marked our 3rd Wedding Anniversary. To celebrate, we went back up to the Mast Farm Inn for a long weekend. We had gorgeous weather and the Deschamps family treats us like royalty. Since it was three nights away, we had to board Asta. We decided to pick a vet up in the mountains so we could have "visitation". The Blue Ridge Veterinary Clinic was great! They let him play outside in the fenced in yard, I think he got spoiled. It was a wonderful getaway, David works so hard he really needed some time away.

Here we are hiking at the Hebron Rocks. It's Asta's first hike!

Since it was Halloween weekend, we hit up the Candy Barrel at the Mast General Store.

David found a Woolly Worm (I had never seen one before).

This is Price Lake. Gorgeous!

They have an active Beaver population, although I never saw one!

Dam.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Big 3-0

Sunday was David's 30th birthday! Hard to believe since I've known the guy from age six. We didn't make a big fuss, no black balloons or anything. But he had a nice day and got a lovely present.

Here's David opening his brand new Italian leather messenger. A real grown-up bag.

For his birthday, David got to pick what kind of cake but I got to decorate.

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My first attempt at making crab cakes

They were awesome! The worst part is picking through the crab meat. That takes time. Other than that, it's a really easy recipe from out of my America's Test Kitchen Light Cookbook. Since they were homemade, there were huge lumps of crab meat. Yummy! David's new favorite.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall is in the air

Finally some cooler temperatures the past couple of weeks! It makes it actually feel like fall. To celebrate, here's a cute picture of Asta with our pumpkin.

What a handsome boy!

Oh..And some pumpkin spice bread that I made in my special loaf pan. Cute huh?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So many recipes...so little time.

So as many of you know, I try out at least 1-2 new recipes a week. It keeps things new and interesting for dinners. Plus it keeps me on my toes as far as cooking and techniques. So what I'm posting tonight, I actually made a while back. But I get busy with my projects and it takes David awhile to upload the photos for me. But here's something called Swiss Steak. It's made with a Top Blade Roast (which was impossible to find, I had to track down an actual butcher shop so that was handy in the end) and tomato gravy. The roast is cut up into steaks and slow cooked in a dutch oven over low heat. The meat just falls apart people! I hardly ever eat red meat but I found this delicious. I made some low fat mashed potatoes and a skillet green bean casserole that doesn't involve a can of soup. All thanks to America's Test Kitchen of course!

Mouth watering good!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

That time year again

Yay! Fall means pumpkin ale. We have tried a variety of them. Shipyard Pumpkinhead seems to be my favorite. But it can be hard to get, apparently it sells about quickly. It's well worth getting early and stocking up. To me...it takes more like a pumpkin spice ale rather than we just took our regular ale and added some spices. Cottonwood isn't too bad. Neither is Dogfish Head. So live a little and step out of the box. Try a pumpkin ale this fall.

So here's to Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale! It goes great with a lot fall dishes. And well...it's just darn tasty.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Perfect Sweater

I am in love with this sweater. Obsessed really....
It comes in great colors. Not to mention the design is totally cute. Now I just have to find some $$ because I like 4 colors.

Monday, August 30, 2010

American Twist on an Italian Classic

I l-o-v-e Pasta Carbonara. It's one of my most favorite Italian dishes. While leafing through my collection of Cook's Country magazines, I found an interesting recipe for a Carbonara Casserole. Hm...could be interesting. It was awesome! The whole dish is cooked in the same skillet, so there's less dishes for David. Delicious dinner + less washing up = happy husband. :-D

Here it is when pan comes out of the broiler.

And this is my bowl, I kind of mixed it all up so the crumb topping was all through out.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A couple new recipes

Here's a couple of new recipes that I tried this week.

First is Crunchy Buttermilk Baked Chicken by Cook's Country.
This one was very easy. Take chicken, we chose tenders, brine in buttermilk, sour cream, ranch seasoning and salt. Then take toasted homemade breadcrumbs (in my case Ritz Cracker crumbs) and combine with remaining Ranch seasoning. Toss the chicken and bake. The result: tangy, tender chicken.


Next I tried a recipe from their 30-Minute Supper Magazine: Potato Crusted Halibut.
I didn't use Halibut because I realized on our recent trip to the UK I really like Haddock. True the title of the magazine, it only takes 30 minutes. You whip up a sort of tartar sauce using mayo (olive oil mayo in my case), dijon mustard, capers, chives and S&P. Spread a tablespoon of that over the top of each piece of fish, then press in grated potato pieces. You brown the fish in a pan and then finish off in the oven. (for me the hard part was getting the pressed potato coated fish in the pan and have it come out looking pretty...not so much) The leftover mayo sauce is great to serve on the side. The crispy potato topping is like hash browns, then combined with the tangy sauce underneath...tasty! And hey...it got me to eat a fish dinner.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meet Asta

Well...I finally got my wish and we adopted a dog!

Meet Asta.

We got Asta from a local rescue here in Greensboro a couple of weeks ago. The rescue is actually for Jack Russell Terriers but the lady could not resist when she first saw "Tiger" (yes that was his name). He was in a shelter down in Greenville, SC in what they call their "last chance room". Sad huh? She couldn't just leave him there, so she took him back to her rescue despite the fact that he's some sort of Schnauzer mix. The shelter said he's about 3 years old and his previous owner had passed away. (heart breaking I know).

He's very good inside and house trained. Not usually an early riser, so I can even sneak out for my morning runs without him wanting to go out too. Although normally very quiet, he does let out the occasional bark but nothing constant. Outside on the leash is another story, he's not quite leash trained but we're working on that. We bought the Gentle Leader collar/harness and it really helps train him outside. And I learned today that he growls at the UPS truck. What did "Brown" do to him?

He's the sweetest little thing, who's had a rough life and deserves the loving home that we can offer him.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Finished Pillow

You may remember that I was working on a strawberry needlepoint project. Well, I sent the stitched piece off to be finished into a pillow. I think it turned out great! I'm quite proud of it actually. I can't wait to start one of my other projects.

Tah dah! Nice huh?

And here you can see the sort of velour/velvety fabric on the back.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gourmet Monday

What's so special about Monday?? Nothin'. But why not jazz it up with a tasty dinner? Tonight I made two new recipes out of my magazine, America's Test Kitchen Light & Healthy. I made Chicken Piccata with Scalloped Potatoes. It was amazing! Then to complete the evening, a piece of Lemon Chess Pie (made it last night, no that's not low fat :-D)

Potatoes when they came out of the oven.

The complete dinner..tasty huh!

Lemon Chess Pie.

Sweet and lemony but not tart.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another fall favorite


Okay folks....I know it isn't fall yet. But I am obsessed...obsessed with this candle scent. It may sound weird but the combination of the apple with the balsam, plus other notes. Incredibly good!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

So it's no where close to fall yet....


But I just had to buy this and try it. It's very tasty! Not super strong, just like a mild flavor of pumpkin spice bread. I hope I can save enough to actually have once it does get chilly out.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Lighter Side of America's Test Kitchen

I rave about ATK all the time. But there are times when I just can't do the "fully loaded" dinners. For that I have my America's Test The Best Light Recipe to turn to. I've only tried a few things before, like my creamy pesto. So tonight I tried their Macaroni and Cheese with Ham & Peas. Very tasty! It said to use the 50% Cabot Cheddar but I chose to use the 2% Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp. I don't know what the difference is between the two. Maybe my use of skim milk instead of 2% made up some of the difference. And rarely do we eat regular pasta anymore, so I used the Barilla Plus elbow noodles.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Craziness!

So what began as an experiment has turned into craziness. David was trying out FaceTime on our new iPhones and did a portrait for a customer of his in Miami. Then he tweeted about it. He got a pretty good response. Next another client tells some of his friends. Next thing we know, he's on the internet geek blog gizmodo.com and the website wired.com. He's slightly overwhelmed! (to put that gently) Gonna have to take on the role of administrative assistant.

Check out the articles!

David on Gizmodo


And by the way...wired.com...who said you could call him "Dave".

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Finished Products

So I have finished two of my projects.

First off, my needlepoint.
I went a little too far out on two of the edges but that won't matter once I have it made into a cushion.

Now my afghan. I love this throw. It ended up bigger than I thought it would be. There were variations in the instructions, so I went with the longer of the two.

Almost big enough for the bed.

I just love all the colors. So much variety.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

MVP

My poor little soccer star...at least that's what he wants you to think. ;-)
Broke two bones in his foot. Guess our mountain trip is off....and I just learned it's the highland games this weekend. :-(

Watch out world! He's a menace on those crutches.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Another Project

Here's the blanket I'm currently working on. It's made by doubling up colors and crocheting them together. The whole thing is made up of about 17 different color combinations. Stay tuned for the finished product.

The design is a ripple pattern, one of my favorites.

Most of the colors don't really match but it all seems to work.


And here's a picture of baby blanket that I made for a friend.
Their colors were pink and green...I can't really handle baby pink.