Sorry I've been a little MIA the last couple of days, but my father-in-laws surgery was a success. They were able to get all of the tumor and now he is recovering at the hospital. He is supposed to go home by Thurs. afternoon and then we will be back down on Friday. Their city fair is this weekend so we will go down and walk the square. It is the biggest Free Fair in the state of Missouri and is always fun. My sister-in-law has already made sure that we will be sharing our annual funnel cake!
We decided to bring our in-laws dog home with us, it was actually hubby's dog but he left it behind when he moved in with me as we thought that was only fair to her because she has much more land to roam there, than she would have here. So I will enclose a picture of Shadow in this post!
Thank you for your prayers this weekend! Don't forget to comment on the 200th post so you will be entered in the giveaway!
I thought I'd take a minute just to let everyone know that we are out of town for the weekend, for my Father-in-laws surgery on Monday. The goodies have all gone over well so far. Our neice was pretty excited and ate one while we were gone and was excited to tell us that she stole a cookie! It looks like it will be a wonderful weekend filled with lots of family and good times.
So there will be no blog posts as we aren't home, but I will post any fun pictures I take!
First funny is that hubby made a wonderful meal on the grill last night, the steaks had been marinating for a few days as we kept putting off making them, they were so tender and oh so perfect. I used Grill Mates Southwestern marinade. As we were finishing up he says this was a perfect night....you should blog about it! But I didn't get any pictues! Sorry!
Have a great weekend everyone and I will be back with an update on Monday! If you could please keep him in your thoughts that would be wonderful!
I can not believe that I have posted 200 times....sooo crazy! I have gone from a food only blog that was so/so to learning so much and becoming a better food photographer and blogging about another favorite thing DECORATING!
So as a special post I am going to give a little something to one of my readers. Will it be baking, decorating, or something Kansas City...not sure yet, but it will be something I like so hopefully you will too! Just comment on my blog on this question? What do you like more, the food posts, decorating posts or do you think the mix I'm doing is the way to go?
Just post your comment, along with a way to get ahold of you and a lucky winner will be randomly chosen...probably taking a cue from another blog and numbers will get put in a hat and hubby will chose one! Deadline will be Sept 6th at 4:00pm, as you see I have shopping to do that weekend =)
Thank you to all my readers, for getting me to 200 posts!
This picture is thanks to my momma, she picked up the leaf doilies at the Dollar Store for $1 a package (there's like 20 in a package), and told me to use them for my food photography as well as scrapping, there is brown leafs, red leafs and pumpkins! Thanks Mom!!! This recipe has been floating around the What's Cooking board for some time now. I was searching my starred blogs for a chocolate chip cookie recipe to make to again take to my in-laws over the weekend and once again turned to my girl Annie of Annie's Eats and came across this recipe once again, and man am I glad I tried it. As soon as hubby walked in the door and headed for the kitchen, I knew my first tester was available. He walked out saying how great they were, and they are, they are thick, crunchy, have just the right amount of chocolate in them...one word....WONDERFUL! This will be my go to recipe from now on! Make sure you cook them long enough, I had a hard time getting my first batch done but I will be cooking the next batch (they're in the oven now) for 17 mins! Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven 325°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside. With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull apart into two equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball. Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (approximately 11-14 minutes). Do not overbake.
Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Source: adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Baking Illustrated
I was trying to figure out what I was going to take with us to my hubby's parents house and thought, granola for a quick/healthy meal, some cookies to snack on and these muffins from Annie's Blog that I've wanted to make forever. My hubby's dad has to have surgery Monday and I thought these would help them during the weekend and next week while, I am sure, there will be much running around to do!
Now Annie had beautifully puffed golden domes on hers and I was afraid mine wouldn't hold up, but I was wrong, they are gorgeous. Must be the recipe~
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
½ cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
¾ cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth. Add in the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin tins, filling each to the top.
Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
So when we went to World Market I picked up some food items, some I had been looking for for awhile now!
The first one are these Amaretto cookies that I have heard alot about. Amaretto is my favorite liquor and I had been looking forward to finding these so I could try them. I have also seen that you are supposed to make crusts out of them, so look for a crust for a cheesecake soon!
The next is this bag of green mint chips. I have heard of people making a host of different things with these and am excited to make some yummy brownies with them!
The next thing is this bag of Panko breadcrumbs. Now really what kind of a foodie would I be without these!
I am so excited about this next one, it's a jar of World Market's new Chocolate & Carmel spread. Think Nutella but only better! This will taste yummy on the plain scone mix I also bought! I have only tried it so far straight from the jar, but think it will be good on graham crackers as well. I am not a fan of Nutella and they also have a Cappoccino & Chocolate flavor as well!
This recipe comes from my new Gooseberry Patch. One of my favorite subs is the Chicken Carbonara from Quizno's and I thought this might just give me the flavors of that sandwich. It didn't disappoint. While I was making our menu for the week my hubby kept saying "bacon, bacon it's all you want this week", might have been because I had an extra pound of it in the fridge, or because I do love it. He tells me while we are eating it that he isn't much of a bacon person, but that that it was very good! So I think kuddos from my hubby!
5 slices bacon 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded and sliced thinly 16 oz jar alfredo sauce 2/3 cup parmesan cheese 2 cloves garlic minced 4 cups cooked egg noodles
Cook bacon in skillet over medium heat. Remove bacon. Reserve drippings and crumble bacon. Cook chicked in drippings. Remove Chicken. Heat alfredo sauce, parmesan cheese, and garlic. When heated through (aprox 5-10 mins), add crumbled bacon, chicken and noodles, let heat through and then serve!
This is from my new Gooseberry patch recipe book. It is called Comfort Foods and just in time for the fall/winter weather. There are several things I have already starred to make. Double Toffee Coffee Cake (perfect to take to Lamar next weekend), Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf, and a potatoe soup. So be on the lookout for several new posts from it! I knew I was going to make the pretzel dogs tonight and was looking for a side besides are usual rut of potatoe chips we've been in.
Scalloped Corn 1 can Whole Kernel Corn 1 can Cream Corn 3/4 cup milk 1 egg 1 cup bread crumbs (use regular not italian..trust me) 1/2 cup onion (due to our dislike I left out) 1/2 cup green peppers (if I had put in something green hubby wouldn't have eaten) 4 slices bacon--cooked to a crisp and crumbled 2 tbl butter
Preheat oven to 350. Mix first 3 together, then stir in egg-peppers. Pour into a greased 1 1/2 cup casserole dish. Place bacon and butter on top. Cook in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
Sunday: Pretzel dogs Monday: Steak on the grill, cheesy potatoes, beans Tuesday: Bacon Chicken Alfredo from new Gooseberry Patch Wednesday: Ribs in the crockpot with mashed potatoes Thursday: Sloppy Joes Friday: Pizza night Saturday-Monday: We will be in Lamar for Father-in-law's surgery, please keep him in your thoughts.
A while back I made a post for Pretzel Dogs and have continued to make them several times. During those times I have perfected them and I will update it here!
Original post: PRETZELS: 1 package active dry yeast 1/8 cup hot water 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 1/3 cup warm water 4 cups flour + more for counter/hands Kosher salt grease/butter/spray for pans Baking Soda
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Mix yeast and hot water in large bowl until yeast is dissolved. Add brown sugar and warm water mix until brown sugar is dissolved. Gradually add flour to mixture until it is smooth and pulls away from bowl. (I do to this point in my KitchenAide mixer)
Put dough onto floured surface and knead until it is strechy. (I find it takes more flour then you think to make it not sticky anymore).
Take about a palms worth and flatten it. Then I place a 1/2 piece of american cheese with a hot dog on top and pinch dough around the hot dog.
Place a large pan on burner fill halfway with a measuring cup. For every 1 cup of water add 1 Tbl Baking Soda to the pan. Bring to a soft boil, very small bubbles. Place pretzels into pan in small batches, count for 30 seconds slowly, then lift out using a sloted spatula, drain water off, and place on a plate lined with paper towels so thoroughly drain. Then place on a very well greased pan (I used a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, sprayed with Pam and sprinkled with salt) and sprinkle with kosher salt, garlic powder or parmesan cheese. Put pan into preheated oven cook on 475 for 8-10 minutes.
Do NOT be afraid to make these. I was but decided to just do it one day and I am so glad I did, now I could make them in my sleep and there is nothing better than one of these hot out of the oven. I made the Pretzel dogs for Labor Day, all of my family raved about them, especially my daddy!
Sorry I missed a post this week, but I will make up for it tonight with several posts. We have been looking for a dog bed for Nellie, she loves laying on blankets and thought she would love her own bed. During my frequent (a little too frequent hubby says) shopping trips with my mom (my constant shopping companion) we have had our eyes pealed for one. Found one at Home Goods, but alas it was a little too expensive and a little off color, PetSmart was found to be way too expensive, so when we were at World Market today and mom saw one I thought to myself that it would probably be too high, but nope for $20 and a lovely dog print, red with bones it was a perfect fit for us! We were right she loves he bed, as evident an hour after being home and she was crashed on it!
When Belton had the Locker Room we went just for one reason...the pizza. So about a month ago they closed, I was sad, I would miss the pizza. But about the same time an Italian place was opening down the street from our house. Hubby has to pass it everyday to and from work, so I started thinking...no it couldn't be...but maybe it is. So they opened last Friday but we had a busy weekend so today we had some running around to do and thought we would check on it, and yep, it was...the same pizza. Man it is so good!
For an appetizer we had a 1/2 dozen of Garlic Cheese Rolls and for $2.45 they were so worth it, they are buttery and garlicky, yum so good. They also have a full dozen for $3.95, and you can also get them without the cheese.
We of course got a 16", 1/2 cheese (for me) and 1/2 pepperoni (for the hubs) and it was as good as I remember and for $15.50 it was a deal. I am not usually a crust fan, but this crust I eat...all of it...not a bite goes untouched. They also have Calzones and Strombolis and as a fan of Calzones I will be trying one soon!
We both stopped at 2 pieces each as the waitress told us to save room for dessert. Which I had seen someone (I think one of the firefighters I know) eating and thought it looked heavenly. Yep it was we ordered a cannoli (for the hubs) at $3.75 and a piece of Tiramisu (for me) $4.75 and it was soooo good. I am a fan of Tiramisu and it did not disappoint.
They also have pasta dishes such as : Baked Ziti, Ravioli, Fettuccini Alfredo, Chicken Parmesan, Lasagna and Spaghetti.
They have hot and cold Sandwiches. And Salads.
If you eat in they also serve liquor, but have Coke products as well as Sweet and Unsweetened Ice Tea.
All of their prices are reasonable and they deliver. There is a minimum $10.00 order and a $1.75 delivery fee. However I think it's reasonable as well and I hope they like me because, they are gonna see a lot of me!
Lorenzo's Pizza, Pasta and Subs 1100 N. Scott Ave (where Gulfstream seafood used to be) Belton Mo 816-331-0800 Sun-Thurs 11:00am-9:00pm Fri-Sat 11:00am-10:00pm
There is a new place in Kansas City called Urban Mining. It is very much like Goodjuju for those that are familiar with it. However where Goodjuju is for large pieces, Urban Mining is for smaller pieces. Lots of antique type pieces and in every way very much my kinda place!
I went last weekend with my mom (constanst shopping companion) and sister. One of my finds was a pair of lanterns. I've kinda had a thing with lanterns lately. And then I saw a pair of sleigh runners, Immediately in my mind I thought, these could be lantern hangers...yeah I know, sometimes I don't even know how my mind works. So when I got home I put them together!
We have already made plans to go back in September!
So I have been perusing blogs lately, trying to find blogs that are full of good recipes, ones that will keep my attention, and ones that well just interest me. I like to hear about peoples battles with disease and injury, maybe it's because I am a sicko, or maybe it's because I am 29 and dealing with a chronic disease of my own. So tonight I came across the blog "Use Real Butter", which is a blog I had heard about but never ventured over there, man I don't know why. I love her, I love her blog, I love her pictures, but most of all I love her take on the world. We all have our demons, we all have our battles, but it's all about how you face the world every day. She had one post specifically that is all about why she will continue to come back to a blog, and I have to say I have been guilty of several of her cons. I have let my blog go by the way side way to many times, and yes I know my friends have called me on it and so I commit to you, my reader, to not do that again, even if it's a horrible week, I will post. My goal this week is to post everyday, maybe then it will become a habit and I will continue to post for a couple weeks, a month maybe even a year.
I want you to know me, I want to reach out to others, maybe gain a few readers that I don't know IRL that will come back time and again, maybe find a few others who are in this fight against Multiple Sclerosis.
Many of you know why I filed for disability, many others don't. I have Multiple Sclerosis. I was diagnosed in Feb. 2005 at the age of 25. An age when you shouldn't be worried about shots, about being able to walk when you wake up, and not finding a person to love you despite your diagnosis. I was lucky and I did find that man, and he is a wonderful man, and he loves me.
At 25 you are worried about weddings, starting a career and babies.
In the last 5 years I have had gotten married, gotten my beloved dog, and had to stop working a job that I loved. A job that made me complete. A job that I was happy to say I did. I was an Emergency Dispatcher, I helped people, I got yelled at, and cussed at...but I helped people. The day that I cried on the phone with a dad who's daughter had just been life-flighted was the day I decided I was no longer cut out for it, this also came after a week when I forgot the codes on the computer and I couldn't tell the guys, MY guys, what they needed to know because I couldn't pull the words out of my butt. I decided to walk away, so that's what I did.
A large part of my life that comes with MS is depression and so that may be the reason that I let my blogging slide, but that is just an excuse. So I say to you, please don't let that happen to me again, bug the heck out of me, get me back in here, because the one place I always feel happy is the kitchen!
We fought for a year to get my disability to go through, it was a long, hard year. But with the love of my parents, my hubby's parents and some friends that I would be lost without (you know who you are). We made it through.
So after reading through "Use Real Butter" and crying at some of her posts, and knowing that sometimes it doesn't matter if anyone is listening or reading, just getting it out into the universe is all that matters.
So even if it's a day that the fatigue (and yes it's different that being tired) has it's hold on me, I will share. I will share something funny that has happened, a small treat I have made or I will just let you know that yes I am alive.
P.S. Plus you will notice some changes to and around my blog. The fonts and colors have been changed and the name Crystal's Creations is for anything I do so I will start to show more of house things, and crafty projects I do!
I was looking over blogs and finding new ones I liked and could find good recipes from. I came across Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats. She has some great things on hers as well as these yummy looking Shortbread "sticks". I was looking for a little something sweet to make and with just 4 ingredients these looked like the perfect fix for my sweet tooth. I had been sick all day with what I believe is a sinus infection, yes again. I think that's what is going on at least. I didn't dip them as I wasn't feeling well and really just wanted to dig in to them. So I added a few extra chocolate chips instead, they are devine!
1 cup of butter (2 sticks)--softened 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar 2 cups of flour 1/2 cup of Nestle mini chocolate chips
For dipping: 1/2 bag of milk chocolate chips (I used 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 tsp shortening)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Beat all ingredients together, except chocolate chips. Stir in chips.
Shape heaping tablespoons of dough into 3" think logs. Place on non-stick or lightly greased cookie sheets.
Bake until the bottoms are lightly browned. Took mine about 8 mins. Remove from cookie sheet and place on waxed paper, carefully, to cool. Freeze overnight or longer.
Melt a half bag of milk chocolate chips in a double boiler. If you do not have a double boiler, melt the chocolate in your microwave on high heat for 1 minute, at 30 seconds intervals, stirring well between each interval. If the chocolate is not completely melted, continue heating it in your microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring well between each interval, and being careful not to burn the chocolate. Dip each stick into the chocolate about 1/3 the way up. Immediately place on waxed paper. Chill to solidify chocolate.
My favorite Food Network Chef is Ina. I tape all of her new episodes and when I saw this episode I wrote the recipe down without even going on line to get it! I knew it would be perfect for our BBQ we were hosting, and it was, and I got rave reviews from it!
4 hothouse cucumbers, thinly sliced (3 to 4 pounds) 2 small red onions, thinly sliced in half rounds (We didn't use) Kosher salt 4 cups (32 ounces) plain whole-milk yogurt 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar 1/2 cup minced fresh dill 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper Directions Mix the cucumbers, red onions, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt in a bowl. Pour them into a colander and suspend it over a bowl. Wrap the bowl and colander with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to drain for at least 4 hours or overnight. Discard the liquid that collects in the bowl.
Pour the yogurt into a sieve lined with a paper towel and suspend it over another bowl. Wrap the bowl and sieve in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Discard the liquid that collects in the second bowl.
When the cucumbers are ready, roll them up in paper towels or a kitchen towel and press the towel lightly to remove most of the liquid. Place the cucumbers and yogurt in a large bowl with the sour cream, vinegar, dill, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper. Toss well and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and serve chilled.
The Simple Woman's Daybook FOR TODAY... Outside my window...is rain, rain, rain I am thinking...I am greatful for my wonderful hubby and family I am thankful for...a great sister and mom that would come help me for 5 hours on decorating my home for my party on Sat. From the kitchen...there are hot dogs and lots of them after the party I am wearing...lounge clothes and not planning on doing too much at all I am creating...lots of homemade cards with fun scrapbooking stuff I got this weekend I am going...nowhere and am happy about that fact! I am reading...Debbie Macomber's "Twenty Wishes", I just love her! I am hoping...my sister gets to come back home in Oct. I am hearing...the news on t.v. and my hubby talking about articles in the newspaper Around the house...it is finally all done, no construction to speak of! One of my favorite things...is cardmaking with my mom & sisters A few plans for the rest of the week: having girls dinner club on Wed, hopefully going to the Museum with a friend on Thurs! Here is picture thought I am sharing...a very cool picture from our BBQ of the fire
Mon: Chicken tortilla soup and grilled cheese (it's cold rainy and nasty out)--just had grilled cheese Tues: leftover hot dogs--was not feeling well so hubby picked up tacos from Lights Wed: Buffalo chicken sandwiches--have Girls Dinner Club Thurs: baked ziti--we'll have the buffalo chicken sands Fri: pepperoni bread Sat: out hopefully Sun: hamburges on the gril--we'll have steak as HyVee has KC Strips on sale for $3.99/lb
This was a quick and easy dish to make while we were working on remodeling our house. I had everything on hand and it made for a wonderful dish!
4 chicken breasts cut in thirds (12 pieces) Bacon slices salt and pepper to taste garlic powder chili powder brown sugar
Cut each breast into 3 pieces, season all the chicken with the spices, then wrap a bacon slice around each piece, roll in brown sugar and place into an oven proof dish....make sure you have some olive oil in the dish too, like 2 or 3 tablespoons is fine.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and bacon is nice and brown and crispy.
Update 7/19/10 I made this again last night and made it with chicken tenders and used about 10 slices of bacon cut in 1/2. I also cooked them at 350 and it only took about 20 minutes (I used my meat thermometer) I have got to remember this recipe...so good!
I am so happy I made this and so happy I found the Full Bellies, Happy Kids blog! Me and Kevin absolutely loved this meal and we will make it again for sure. I loved my first Portugese dish and hope to make more!
1 lb cubed beef (I used eye round steak and cut it into cubes)
3 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
white wine (I used about 1/2 cup)
crushed garlic (I used about 2 tsp)
bay leaf (1)
salt (couple of pinches)
pepper (1 pinch)
paprika (I used about 1 tbl)
flour (enough to cover all meat, just eyeball it you can always add more)
1 medium onion sliced thinly (we didn't use)
In a bowl combine the beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaf, wine, salt and pepper and paprika. Place in the refrigerator for an hour or two so the flavors can really sink into the meat. The best way is to leave it overnight, the longer you leave the marinade, the better it tastes and the more tender the beef will become.
In a skillet, add some olive oil and a little butter. Grab the steak out of the refrigerator, add some flour and using your hands toss well to coat the beef. Pour into the skillet. Brown the beef well on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the beef cubes and reduce heat.
Add the sliced onions and some more olive oil and butter.--I skipped
I usually keep some water next to me and add a little at a time, just enough to keep a good amount of sauce in the skillet.Cook the onions until soft, then add the beef to the pan again, mix well and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Remember to keep checking the pan and adding a little water, you want to end up with a lot of sauce.
Ladle a good amount of beef and gravy into a plate, lay the fries around the meat and serve immediately.
It's gonna be a crazy hectic week with family being in town and getting the house ready to entertain Saturday night. I am so excited for the week though, I love my family and my friends so much! Both Sunday and Mondays meals come from my new favorite blog Full Bellies, Happy Kids. She has some of the best recipes on there! I am so excited to try tonights Bife Trinchado, as her family is Portugese. I have never had Portugese food but I am so excited to try it!
Sunday: BIFE TRINCHADO Monday: Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken Tuesday: Baked meat ziti--I'm gonna play around and come up with my own Wednesday: With my parents probably as my sister will be home Thursday: Hopefully out with family since papa and sis will be home! Friday: TBD Saturday: BBQ at our house with our family and friends!!! Sunday: leftovers probably