Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Favorites

Table setting Guide - This has table settings for a formal, breakfast, casual and a few others. Plus it has printable guides to help you out as you actually set the table.

5 Ingredient Chicken Recipes

The 25 Most Common Cooking Mistakes - I found the list interesting and regretfully I have done many of them.

Okay this is a new one for me that I am trying out and might have a review for it in the future.... - I have found many of their products are either the same price as I pay now or lower. You can select your products just to store or to put in your cart and then the best feature....FREE SHIPPING! Another feature I really think I will enjoy is that you can set up reminders - so that it will send you a reminder to order something. Such as if you go through your granola bars every 3 weeks then you can set up a reminder to order them every 3 weeks. I haven't used it yet. But I think I will and if so....will do a review.

How to Replace a Kitchen Faucet - Just a good link to have around.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book Review: Soup Galore

Soup Galore by Elisabeth Luard

This isn't much of a review but I just didn't like the book all that much. I thought that was something I should say at least. Although I think this book has recipes for a huge variety of soups, I still think I would go with another soup book. This book had many soup recipes that I had never heard of but not many I would cook. It had many good recipes but not many that I could just grab ingredients out of my pantry to make. Such as Rabbit Soup with Beer and Prunes or Chilled Sorrel Soup. If I wanted to go a good soup book, I would go with the Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special book or Cook Illustrated The Best of Soups and Stews.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Favorites

Country Living Soup Recipes - These are soup recipes for every seasons....including Cool Cantaloupe Soup with Basil Cream, Tomato and Garlic Bread Soup, Ginger-Pumpkin Soup, Cuban-Coffee Chili and so many other delicious looking recipes. I am all about soups this time of year but they had some combination that looked great for every season.

Grocery Store Planner via Design*Sponge - not only does it have how-to on covering the clipboard and the pencil holder but also pdfs to download and print for the grocery store lists and menu planning lists

Project Calculator - It has calculators for figuring out how much paint, wood flooring, vinyl flooring, tile, grass see and several others ones. I am horrible in figuring out those type of things so I see this coming in handy when we start remodeling our bathrooms.

Girl's Night Casserole Swap - First I wouldn't limit this to just girls but friends in general. So how about getting several of your liked minded friends together to do a casserole swap. So that you get something to freeze and have a dinner made some night. And you will have left overs too. I not only like this idea for getting a night off from cooking but the camaraderie and just being able to hang with other liked minded women is always a good thing to mental health.

Declutter Your Bathroom - a list of 11 things to help declutter your bathroom.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


We are, I think, in the minority of liking leftovers. If we had roasted turkey with mashed potatoes and veggies one night, we are fine having roasted turkey with mashed potatoes and veggies the next night too. And when you cook for two, like I do, you always seem to have leftovers. But sometimes I don't have enough mashed potatoes for the next night. Or when I made that meatloaf I didn't use a full pound of pork so what do I do with the other half. Or maybe I chopped up a whole onion, bell pepper or other veggies, but only use half. Those things need to be used or at least frozen. So when I have leftover browned sausage, I put in the freezer to add to baked beans or on a french bread or pita pizza. Left over veggies can be used or frozen for omelets, stir-fry or soups. Leftover chicken can be used so many ways - put in a casseroles, tacos, soups, salads and so on. But sometimes the leftovers can be used simply for a sandwich.

Sunday we had a pot roast with roasted veggies. And sometimes I will use that leftover roast beef for beef stroganoff or stew but yesterday I looked in the pantry and saw some Whole Wheat Bolillo buns (a long bun that tapers at each end) that I picked up on the day old bread rack at the grocery very inexpensively. I knew I needed to use those up - so the easiest dinner for me came to mind - sandwiches.

* sliced left over roast beef - left over london broil, pork roast, steak, chicken or turkey work too
* bun - sliced brats, kaiser, bolillo or whatever you have on hand
* toppings - sauteed onions, mushrooms, bell peppers or just bbq sauce or horseradish
* cheese - sliced or shredded any kind you want

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 cake pan with tin foil. I fit 5 sandwiches in the cake pan so you might need a larger pan if you need to do more. I have lined a big jelly roll pan when needing to a larger batch. Layer roast beef in the buns. Place each of them in the pan. Pour bbq sauce on them and/or add other toppings. And then add cheese on top.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and cheese is melted and gooey.

Serve and eat!

I wanted to point out that has an option to search by ingredient. It even allows you to put in ingredients you don't want. So if you are in a pinch and don't know what to cook or have some left overs you want to get rid of without wasting then I suggest trying out that feature.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Favorites

Just a few links...some of course are Valentine's Day inspired. I know many don't celebrate it and in fact we are very romantic but we don't do a lot on Valentine's as our anniversary is the first of the month. But I am sure we will do something.....even if it is a romantic dinner at home.

So here are a few Valentine inspired links but also a few that can be used all year round or for other celebrations or special occasions....

Light Your Lover's Fire - sensual homemade massage oils

And just a FAQ on massage oils

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Cocktails - so many yummy recipes.

20 Lightened Chocolate Recipes by Cooking Light

Martha Stewart's Making Valentine Cards

Felt Fortune Cookies

Sentimental Valentine's Wheel
- Okay this is mostly because I think it might be a cute idea to make something like but with a twist of course...make it more sexy, naughty and kinky!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Crock Pot Pasta Sauce

Some time ago I came across a recipe for making pasta sauce in the crock pot. I then promptly lost the link because I'm organized like that. With yesterday being such a cold, blustery day, and with a kitchen stocked with the ingredients that I could remember being in the dish, I decided to give it a go.

First, I sauteed some chopped onion, carrots and celery in a small amount of olive oil until soft. I seasoned it with salt and pepper, dumped in a can of tomato paste and let that all cook together for awhile.

I used about 6 oz. of red wine and deglazed the pan. Then I let that all simmer together until it was thick and bubbly and smelled amazing.

While that was simmering, I put 3 cans of diced tomatoes and 2 cans of stewed tomatoes (all normal sized cans) into the crock pot. I dumped in the wine-veggie mixture, added two bay leaves and a healthy sprinkle of italian seasoning.

I stirred it all up, set the crock on low and left it to cook, about 6 hours or so.

The house smelled divine. My tummy growled all day long.

Because the sauce was all chunky with big pieces of stewed tomato and carrots, and because none of us particularly like chunky sauce, I used my hand held blender, stuck it right in the crock and blended it all up, removing the bay leaves first, of course.

I'm sure that is an optional step if you like chunky sauce, but it sure seemed to open up and smooth out the flavors. I poured in a bag of frozen meatballs (which I would have preferred to make myself but didn't have the ingredients on hand) just because My Man is a caveman-esque meat-eater.

I served it over whole grain rotini pasta, with a side of veggies and a slice of buttered french bread.

Though it filled my 6 quart crock about 3/4 of the way, I had just enough left to make Master's lunch today and that was it. It was a hit with everybody.

The wine gave it a very distinctly sharp flavor. Though it was really good, next time, I think I might try deglazing with broth and see if the flavor is a little more subtle. I'm also going to leave out the meatballs, or have them on the side. I thought they added too much grease cooking them in the sauce.

I can't tell you exactly what it cost to make the sauce because I had most everything in the kitchen already. But I'm pretty sure that for 5 to 6 quarts of pasta sauce, this was much cheaper than buying that amount pre-made. Plus, it tasted so much better than anything I've ever gotten in a jar.

Someday I'll work up to using whole, fresh tomatoes plucked straight from my garden. But I'm still just a baby in the kitchen. ;)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Burning Recipes

I was doing a search on youtube for cooking videos. I have come upon good cooking videos there often.

And I found this one - which I love. It is about burning your recipes and thinking of cooking as an art. I agree with that thought. I love looking at recipes. I love using them. But to be comfortable in the kitchen and cooking, you often have to take a leap of faith by throwing out the recipes and going for it. Experiment and give yourself permission to burn food and to ruin meals. It is okay to learn. Learning creates growth in skills and comfortableness in the kitchen. So take a look at this video and think about taking a leap of faith and going for it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Favorites

Lisa's Kitchen - After posting yesterdays review of the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook, it made me realize that I hadn't posted this website before. It has a lot of really good recipes for vegetarians. I also look at them for meals for us when we go meatless or some to add as a side dish.

Free Printable Book Plates
- We love books around here. And in the past I have lost a few books due to lending. But having a book plate in them helps those you lend them to remember the owner of the book. These are also stylish without being overly girly.

Wine 4 Beginners - I saw this website mentioned by another blogger so checked it out. It is what it says it - Wine 4 Beginners.

Appreciate your Imperfect World - I don't think we shouldn't strive for excellence in everything we do but there are some things here that I know I should remember.

Vintage Sewing Info - Okay this is a wealth of information on vintage sewing. It has many books online that I know I would never get to see in person. And I am sure I could learn a lot from many of these books.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special

Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special: More Than 275 Recipes for Soups, Stews, Salads and Extras

I am not vegetarian like most readers of this book seem to be so the seafood sections didn't bother me at all but I haven't actually even been interested in those sections as much as the others. (Those seafood sections aren't very long out of the 400 page book.) This book is soups, salads and then some extras to go with them such as dressings, croutons, breads and such.

I have only made a couple recipes from this book so far each were amazing. I see so many recipes I would love to try when looking through it. I think even with the seafood sections if your vegetarian or just like a diet with a lot of veggies, this cookbook will add new elements to your meals. These soups and salads are meant to be starters to a meal but I really feel these are so good that they are meals in themselves. Also these are great to make and have for lunches during the week.

The fall backs of this book are that the recipes are time intensive as they have a very long list of ingredients and not all the ingredients are just things I have on hand normally. But I would still urge people to check the book out and at least cook one or 2 of the recipes so that you can see how amazing they put flavors together.

Just a few of the recipes you will find in this book: Cream of Spinach Soup, Black Bean & Chipolte Soup, Jamacian Tomato Soup, French Pasta Salad, Tostada Salad, Low-fat Tomato Basil Dressing and Herbed Cheese Quick Bread.

Also one of my other favorite things about this book is that at the bottom of each recipe it lists other recipes that would go good with the recipe - including the page number which is very helpful.

Overall this book seems to be a good one as it has many recipes that look so good and I can't wait to try. And the few I did try were so good. It is one I think I would enjoy having in the kitchen all the time.


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