Tuesday, August 30, 2011

White Chocolate, Cranberry, Macadamia Nut Cookies


A cookie a day . . .

just makes the day better!

I think there is healing power in a fresh baked cookie!

While chocolate chip is the favorite around our house, I occasionally venture out and make other kinds!

The Mr. loves. . . as in L.O.V.E.S white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies.

But I really don't ever make them.  Probably because the macadamia nuts are kind of expensive.

The other day, though, I found the macadamia nuts on sale at "Sprouts" so I bagged up some and came home and whipped up these treats!

I really do think this dough is better if you're going to eat serve the baked cookies the same day.  I keep the dough made up in an airtight container and bake only the cookies I want need for that particular day.

You could also bake off all of the cookie dough and freeze the cookies until needed.

These cookies are chocked full of goodness -- they're like the rocky road of cookies!

White Chocolate, Cranberry, Macadamia Nut Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 11oz bag of white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups dried craisins
1/2-3/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla and incorporate well. Mix in flour, soda, and salt and continue to mix well. Stir in chips, craisins, and nuts, mixing well.  Refrigerate, if desired, until ready to use. I like my dough to be room temperature before I bake the cookies.

Bake cookies 8-11 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie scoop.  I prefer these cookies to be slightly under-cooked, so that when they rest on the cookie sheet before moving to a cooling rack, they continue to bake to the perfect softness.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cube Steak with Gravy

This is easy.

This is tasty.

This is my boy cherub's kind of meal!  Meat 'n gravy with mashed potatoes!  OK, broccoli too, but especially the meat!

Throw it in the crock pot in the morning and have a satisfying meal that evening!

Cubed Steaks with Gravy Recipe
Taste of Home's Picture

Cube Steak with Gravy

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 beef cubed steaks (4 ounces each)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, sliced and separated into rings
3 cups water, divided
1 envelope brown gravy mix
1 envelope mushroom gravy mix
1 envelope onion gravy mix
Hot mashed potatoes or cooked noodles

Place flour in a large resealable plastic bag. Add steaks, a few at a time, and shake until completely coated. In a skillet, cook steaks in oil until lightly browned on each side. Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker. Add the onion and 2 cups water. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until meat is tender.

In a bowl, whisk together gravy mixes with remaining water. Add to slow cooker; cook 30 minutes longer. Serve over mashed potatoes or noodles.

**I cooked my steaks in a 9X13 pan with the 2 cups of water, tightly wrapped with foil on 250 for several hours; the last hour or so, I added the gravy/water mixture and it turned out perfect.  My cherubs get tired of "crock pot" meals so occasionally I treat them and cook it in the oven!

Also, the gravy mixture is ample, so if you throw in extra meat so that you can have leftovers, you're going to be fine.

 Yield: 6 servings.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Preserve Dressing


It was an extremely busy day:  after-school homework, sports practice, dance class, meetings for the Mr. and curriculum night at school! 

Like every other family, balance, otherwise known as "divide and conquer" was our method of operation!

Dinner had to be easy, quick, and able to be eaten in shifts!

What's a mom to do?

My quick, go-to spinach salad with grilled chicken, of course!

This night, though, I wanted to try a different salad dressing.  But I couldn't figure out what I wanted. 

Then I remembered . . .

 . . .While shopping at Costco, I saw a preserve that sounded interesting, so I snagged a H.U.G.E jar of it, hoping we were going to like it!

We do!

The first night we ate it with grilled chicken.

Then I made the salad dressing!

The next night, I topped the buttermilk cookies from the other day with a smidge of the buttermilk frosting and a dollop of the preserve.

For the record, I think I'm doing fine thinking of ways to use the 3 gallons of jam that we really love! 

OK -- not really 3 gallons -- but you understand!

The brand of jam is E.D Smith.  I purchased the "raspberry, cherry, pomegranate, and acai" preserve. 

Yes, all of that is one jar!

It's also organic -- but that's not the reason I bought it!

I think this dressing could use any preserve that you like:  strawberry, blackberry, pomegranate, raspberry, etc! 

You're going to unleash your creativity with this recipe!

Preserve Dressing

1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. grated (or finely chopped) onion, if desired
2-4 TBSP preserves of your choice:  strawberry, blackberry, pomegranate, black cherry, etc
1/3 white vinegar
1/2 cup oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon poppyseeds

Combine oil, vinegar, sugar, and preserves in a jar and blend well with an immersion blender.   Add in the poppyseeds and stir to incorporate.

Refrigerate after use. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower


As a rule, cauliflower doesn't really appeal to me.

It's . . . white.

Just white.  It's actually kind of boring looking.

I never look at cauliflower and think, "Yum!  I think I'll have some cauliflower today!"

So when I saw the cauliflower ear at the store the other day, I kind of surprised myself when it ended up in my basket!

What am I going to do with cauliflower . . .except put cheese on it!

I stretched myself a bit and I roasted it!

Now, I think "Yum!  I think I want some cauliflower today!"

Roasting cauliflower is much like roasting other veggies -- it brings out the natural goodness!


Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower, cleaned and cut
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Line a baking sheet with foil and preheat over to 400 degrees.

Cut cauliflower, disregarding the stalks.  You want "chunks" and similar size, but they don't have to be huge.

Drizzle (note, it's "drizzle" not pour!) olive oil over cauliflower, tossing to coat.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cook cauliflower, stirring occassionally, until it is fork tender and the cauliflower has carmalized a bit.  About 15 minutes depending on how large the pieces are and how much you're cooking.

Serve warm.

Really, this is good!  Even the cherubs like it -- Really!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Buttermilk Cookies with Buttermilk Frosting


When you think of milk, I bet you don't think of buttermilk!

Most of the time, we wrinkle up our nose and think "gross!"

I actually love cooking with buttermilk.
  • biscuits
  • ice cream
  • cakes
  • dressings
And now, COOKIES!

YEAH!

These cookies are extremely simple, both in preparation and taste.  "It's just a basic cookie!"  (And I love that!)

Buttermilk Cookies with Buttermilk Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk

Buttermilk Frosting

3 tablespoons butter, softened 
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk 
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk, alternately to the butter mixture.

Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto baking sheets.

Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes, until edges are slightly browned.  *Do not over-bake, this is strictly my preference!

Allow to cool on wire rack, frost if desired.


For frosting:  combine butter, sugar, buttermilk and vanilla in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth.
Frost cooled cookies.  *I omitted the vanilla in the frosting because I wanted the zingy buttermilk taste.  Do what you like -- they're your cookies!

Sprinkle with chopped nuts or colored sprinkles, if desired.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Cute Hair for Girls


Isn't that cute hair?

I did that to my cherub!

I have amazed myself!

Confession:  I don't really know what to do with hair.

Mine's short.
Mine sticks up -- on purpose!

I've never had long hair.

My mother would not let me have long hair.
Probably because she didn't know what to do either.

She says, "Sweetie, your hair wouldn't grow!"

Really?

Because I'm an every 5 weeks kind of hair cut girl
and that's only because
I need it every 3 weeks but I'm too cheap
so I stretch it out!

And when I do finally go, I look like I've been sheered.

So -- I don't think it's about not growing.

I may need a therapist to help me through this!

Back to my cherub --

Cute hair on the first day of school.

And the second too!

That's because of this website!

www.cutegirlshairstyles.com

There's videos and everything!

You can even look at the hair blogs SHE reads
and find even more choices for hair!

Now at night, my cherub and I look at videos
and decide which hair do to recreate the next morning.

It's so much fun!
I might let my hair grow out long!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownie Cupcake

Feast your eyes on these beauties!


Yummy!

Kay, don't tell anybody, but this is your snack today!  The Mr. is holding them  hostage in the refrigerator!

Seriously!

Go look!

This is the Mr's dream come true!  His two very favorite desserts all smooshed together into one glorious, lip smacking, hope I can have seconds kind of dessert!


Can you see the temptation?

The delicious, fudgey, gooey brownie cupcake with the raw (eggless) chocolate chip cookie dough glooped in the middle with a bit of chocolate drizzled on top -- just because we need it!

You know you want to make this!

Here's the good news!  It can be made all from scratch or it can be made using mixes!  You decide!

I made mine from scratch, but I really do think the same principles will work with mixes -- heck give it a try -- what's the worse that can happen? 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownie Cupcake

Your favorite brownie recipe, a mix, or use this recipe:

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted***
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour

***Normally, I'd use 4 ounces UNSWEET chocolate, but the semi-sweet chocolate sugar content with the added brown sugar causes the cupcakes to fall in the middle, which is what I wanted so that there be a "bowl" to hold my cookie dough. 

If you want a flat-top brownie OR you want to make this in a 9X13 pan, PLEASE use unsweetened chocolate in place of the semi-sweet chocolate!

COOKIE DOUGH

You could use your favorite recipe, refrigerated cookie dough, or this recipe:

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 brown sugar***
2 TBSP milk
1 TBSP vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
***you can do all brown sugar, or you can use 3/4 cup white sugar and 3/4 cup brown sugar.  You're taste!  I always use brown sugar -- but use what you've got!

Directions:

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line the muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray.

In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Mix in melted chocolate. Blend in flour and mix just until combined. Scoop  batter into prepared muffin tins (I used a 2 TBSP cookie scoop) or pour batter in 9X13 pan. Bake 15-18 minutes for muffins or 25 to 35 minutes for 9X13 pan.  Check for doneness with either.  Let cool completely.

For the cookie dough: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter and brown sugar. Mix in milk and vanilla. Mix in flour until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread cookie dough over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate the assembled dessert until ready to serve.  This is best served chilled. 

If you want to drizzle chocolate, place 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in ziplock bag in the microwave.   Watching closely, melt the chips, squeezing the baggie occasionally to make sure it's all melted.  Make a small snip on the corner of the bag and get creative!   

Don't you wanna a bite?




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chicken Dumpling Pie

I used to be a Southern Living Recipe snob.

It's true!

At one time, I had 20 years worth of Southern Living Annual Cookbooks!

I could think of a recipe and go right to the year and find it with no problem!

There were several reasons why I loved Southern Living, but one of the most important reasons is that the recipes were usually keepers!  Rarely did they disappoint.  The bad thing, though, was you may need an $8.00 jar of spice for only a tsp. of use!  So, they weren't always "pantry friendly."

But now, with the world of recipes at our finger-tips, the need for "selective Southern cooking" isn't tied to a particular annual.  However, there are some tried and true meals that I always return to.

Chicken Dumpling Pie is a real keeper!  When you're short on time and want a meal in a bowl, this is one casserole to whip up!

Chicken Dumpling Pie

2 cups chopped chicken or turkey, cooked
2 cans cream of chick soup, undiluted
1 can chicken broth
1, 15oz can mixed vegetables, drained (I use the 28oz can of 'homestyle large cut')
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 cups biscuit mix
1 8oz container sour cream
1 cup milk

Combine chicken, soups, broth and vegetables in a large bowl, stirring well.  Pour mix into a lightly greased 9 X 13 baking dish.

Combine biscuit mix, sour cream, and milk in a medium bowl, and stir well.  Spoon over chicken mixture.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, or until golden brown on top and heated thoroughly.

*I always use fat-free ingredients and taste isn't compromised.  Also, I always have to bake my casserole longer than an hour for the topping to be thoroughly cooked.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Two S'More Choices

I remember making a S'more treat a long time ago.

I can't find the recipe anywhere.

I remember that when I made this treat, I gave the recipe to my friends.

I remember e-mailing them a couple of years ago to get my recipe back.

I can't remember where I put that recipe!

I was cleaning out the office today and guess what I found!

The recipe that I had made, that I lost, that I got back, that I lost again, and found again!

I'm putting it here -- so hopefully I'll remember next time I want to make this S'more treat!



S'more Bars

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups mini marshmallows
2 cups chocolate chips

Melt butter, add sugar and graham cracker crumbs; mix well.

Press 1/2 of the crumb mixture into a greased 9 X 13 pan.  Sprinkle the marshmallows and chocolate chips on top of crust.  Sprinkle remaining cracker mixture on top; trying to cover the best you can.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

Remove from the over and spray a spatula with Pam and press down on the bars to "smoosh" them together. 

Cool and Cut.

If that recipe doesn't interest you, try this S'more Bark that's easy as pie!

S'More Bark

6 whole graham crackers
12 oz chocolate chips
marshmallows
graham cracker crumbs

Place graham crackers on a foil lined pan, 2 cracker sheets by 3 cracker sheets (kind of like a rectangle).

Melt the chocolate chips and smear it all over the crackers.  It will be thick!  You'll kind of have to hold the crackers so they don't scoot all over the pan, which would mess up your rectangle-ish shape!

Stick the marshmallows onto the melted chocolate.  Pressing in so they'll stick.  Put as much or as little marshmallows as you prefer!

Place in the refrigerator until the chocolate is firm.

Pre-heat the broiler and brown the marshmallows just a tad!  (Yes, the chocolate is going to get soft-ish, but not too much and I didn't have any trouble with it running all over the pan!)

Place pan back in the refrigerator until the chocolate is firm again!

It's now ready to break into pieces! 

UNLESS!

Unless you want to put a few more chocolate chips in a baggie, melting them, snipping off a VERY small corner of the bag and drizzling it all over the top of the marshmallows!  Which is exactly what I did -- then I took some graham cracker crumbs and sprinkled that on the chocolate drizzle and the drizzled some more chocolate on the cracker crumbs!

If you do this -- place the pan BACK into the refrigerator and let the chocolate firm up again!

NOW!  It's ready to break into pieces!

You can never have too much yum!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Praying for Rain

Do you see the storm clouds in this picture?

We hadn't seen clouds -- or the chance of rain in weeks.

This week -- we had hope!

My little cherub found her raincoat and an empty box.

She had a plan!

She was so excited about the cooler weather and the chance of rain!


She stood at the curb with this sign she made!

Do you know, she got 4 honks and a wave!

It rained!

Friday, August 12, 2011

So Hot You can Fry an Egg

The cherubs have been asking to fry an egg on the sidewalk.

It's been HOT where we live.

40 days at or above 100 degrees!

So, we put the trick to a test!


My girl cherub cracks her egg.

She splats . . . I mean, scrambles it on the hot sidewalk.

My boy cherub gently (HA!) cracks his egg
on the sidewalk, being close to the ground so he can fry it.


They patiently stand by, with spatula in hand,
as they wait for the eggs to cook.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait!

The result:

The scrambled egg did cook-ish because it was a
thinner egg mixture.

The fried egg did not cook.  The white never got white!

The cherubs gave up and went inside where it was cooler!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cupcake for Dad

It was Saturday and there were some unexpected activities around the house.

Like when I turned on the water at the kitchen sink.

And turned it off.

And turned it on again . . .

Except it didn't turn on again . . .

The faucet handle fell off.

As in  OFF! 

 Like, in my hand -- not attached to the faucet-y thing.

"MR!  MR!  Hey!  There's a problem!"
(that's what I was yelling to him!)

3 hours later, we've got a new kitchen faucet.

Impressive!

Not the faucet -- but that the Mr. could get that taken care of so quickly!

Trust me, that's not what the Mr. had planned for his Saturday.

While he was busy working, hoping to finish before he had to be at church that evening,
the cherubs where in their room concocting a plan.

"Let's make dad a special dinner.  He's worked hard today!"

Their little minds go to town --

appetizers,
main course,
special tea,
and dessert!

Their plan is to make ALL of this while he's at work!

Mind you, I do "unexpected jobs" around the house everyday.
And I don't get special dinners!

But I'm not bitter!

As soon as the Mr. left the house,
the Cherubs got busy cooking!

The Mr. was surprised when he got home!

He oohed and aahhed
and
chowed down on his "you've worked hard today and we love you!" meal.

The girl cherub made the cupcakes.
Big, moist pink cupcakes, stuffed with lemon filling and frosted with blue frosting.
She decorated each one, uniquely, with fresh strawberries on top!

The recipe for the cupcakes was easy
and surprisingly tasty!


Simple Cupcakes and Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Stir in vanilla.

In a small bowl, combine salt, baking powder, and flour.  Add to batter alternately with milk.  Beat until smooth and creamy.

Divide batter between cupcake liners.  If using the "giant" cupcakes, this will easily make 6 treats.

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until done.

Cool in pans for 15 minutes then carefully remove to a cooling rack.

If you want a filling, carefully cut a small hole and remove some of the cupcake.  With a piping bag, fill the hole with desired fluff!

Frost as normal.

Frosting

1/4 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 TBSP milk (more if frosting is too stiff)
1 tsp. vanilla
coloring, if desired.

To the softened butter, slowly add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.  Alternate with milk.  Add vanilla. 

Taste to see if you like it!  You may have to taste again!

Frost cupcakes and decorate as desired.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Veggie Pizza

The other night while cooking dinner, I felt like I was doing a Pampered Chef demonstration! 

We were having veggie pizza AND fruit pizza and I had out all of the Pampered Chef gadgets to make the meal quick and easy!

These two pizzas have been around forever and you probably don't even need the recipe, unless of course, it's been so long since you've made them last that you can't remember where you put that little piece of paper!

With the temperature so hot outside, it's nice to have an easy meal that's both cool and healthy!



Veggie Pizza

1 can crescent rolls
1 - 8oz cream cheese, softened
1-2 tsp. dill seasoning (or to taste)
2 cups assorted chopped veggies (fresh:  carrots, corn, squash, zucchini, onion, tomatoes, broccoli, etc)

Unroll crescent rolls and press seams together, creating a rectangle.  Bake according to package directions.  Allow crust to cool.

Stir together the cream cheese and dill.  Spread over the crescent crust.

Top with the assorted chopped raw veggies.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Creamy Italian Noodles

While on the Staycation at my Sister-in-Law's house, I saw a cookbook that I hadn't read before.

I flipped through and saw several easy-to-prepare foods that sounded tempting.

She let me borrow her book with the promise that I'd mark any recipe that we tried!

That's a deal!

This recipe is so easy that the Mr. and the cherubs whipped it up while I was running an errand!

The noodles go great with grilled chicken and a side of steamed broccoli.

Creamy Italian Noodles Recipe
Photo by Taste of Home

Creamy Italian Noodles

1 8oz package wide egg noodles
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup  heavy whipping cream, half and half OR evaporated milk (I used fat-free 1/2 and 1/2)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/4 tsp. dry Italian salad dressing mix*

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and place in a bowl.  Toss with the butter.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Serve while hot.

*Measure out the dry dressing mix -- to your delight, there's more than 2 1/4 tsp. in a package!  I'm surprised I didn't just dump the entire package in the bowl -- that could have been a mess!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Staycation Fun 2011


We did a "staycation" with our family, my brother's family, and my mom.  We had a great time and here's a few pictures to prove it!

We all went to my brother's house.  They had put up outdoor lights and a mister in the back yard with the patio table and chairs.  We hung out playing games in the evenings.  During the day, we took a little road trip to some smaller towns close by and another day we did local attractions like museums and aquariums.

Each family was responsible for one meal each day.  Our goal was easy and convenient!  No fancy dishes or a "big bunch of stuff."  Simple was the mindset.

We all unplugged and had a great time relaxing and hanging out together!

The two cherubs with their cherub cousin.



Looks real, doesn't it!  The Dinosaur park in Glenrose, Tx was fun!

Besides going and doing things around town, the cherubs created
activities each day!  This was "crazy hair" night!


We also had "crazy sock night" and "crazy clothes night."
To my sadness, I didn't get pictures to prove our fun!

Each night, beside board games, we also played
"Minute to Win It" games!  My boy cherub
was the only one to successful complete this game!
He so Rocks . . .
(he must take after his mom!)




Our Nephew had a real attachment to the Mr.  This morning
they were brushing their teeth together!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Red River Green Chili Chicken


While we were on vacation in the mountains, we made a new concoction and we thought it was delicious!

The night we had it, we sat outside, in our sweatshirts, and came up with a name to call it.

"Red River Green Chili Chicken" won!

If you make it, you can call it whatever you want!

The top picture, it's served on top of a deli thin that's been toasted on the grill.




This is on a toasted deli thin with green salsa on top of it!


This is my favorite way to consume this dish:  Red River Chili Chicken
on top of a corn muffin that's been split open!
Red River Green Chili Chicken

1/2 onion, chopped
2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
1-2 cans chopped green chili, drained
3-4 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped
cheese
bread

Taking your onion in a large pan with butter or olive oil, saute until tender.
Throw in the chopped chicken, green chili's, and cooked bacon.  Stir until thoroughly heated.
Top the mixture with a small amount of cheese (sliced or grated).  We used pepper-jack cheese and colby jack.  Allow to melt.

Remove from heat and serve.

**Because I usually cook extra grilled chicken, that's what I used in this mixture.  Also, when I cook bacon, I cook at least two packages at a time and keep it in the freezer.  So for me, this dinner throws together in a minute because everything has been pre-cooked and I'm simply "warming things up!"

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dried Cilantro Seasoning


When I make salsa, we like a lot of cilantro in the mix.

The problem with cilantro is this:

When I buy it, I'm not always in the mood to make salsa

and

When I'm ready to make salsa, the cilantro isn't always in the mood to be used.

It looks gross

and

limp and brown around the edges.

I call that "cilantro pouting!"

THEN!  I found the most amazing thing:  Cilantro in a box!

It's like the chicken bouillon cubes that we all used (and maybe still do).

The good thing about this remarkable find is that it's ready whenever I am!

No brown edges and no droopy leaves.

There are two things that you need to know about using this miracle cilantro:  if you're looking for the green cilantro leaves to be making their debut in your salsa, then you'll have to know they're not making that curtain call.  But I don't let that bother me!  I look at it as saving money -- at least I'm not throwing out a bunch of unused cilantro! Also, I think it takes more cubes than what the directions suggest.  That's because we like a lot of cilantro taste.

I found this little box of treasure on the Hispanic aisle of the grocery store!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Birthday Cookies






Celebrating the 49th birthday of a friend
with bright cupcake sugar cookies!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Strawberry, Lime and Buttermilk Ice Cream

Strawberry + lime= a great taste.

So I wanted to make an ice cream with those ingredients.

I love ice cream and really, really LOVE homemade ice cream.

And honestly, I feel more motherly when I make ice cream.

OK, not really, but if I can blame my addictions on my kids, it seems a little less threatening!

I was so excited about this recipe that I kind of found, but not really, but enough to create my own version of a recipe that I didn't really find.

I whipped it up, put it in the ice cream freezer and watched it mix.  Dumped it into my official "homemade ice cream" container and couldn't WAIT for it to ripen so that I could share it with the family.

I knew they'd love it and be so impressed with me . . . and the ice cream . . .but mostly me.

I gave them each a bite and the response was:

"Yeah, it's OK."

"OK?!?!?!!" 

Are you kidding me?

It's more than "OK."

It's "Wow mom!  This stuff is great!  I can't believe you made this!"

It's "Jump back and give me some more!"

It's "Have you thought about sending the recipe to Braum's and seeing if they'll use it for their 'flavor of the month' ice cream?"

It's way more than "OK."

But instead of being all shocked and telling them how wrong they are and that their flavor-profiling abilities are under-developed, I just said, in a real mature way, "I'm glad it's just "OK" to you -- I don't expect any of you to have any more and I'll enjoy all of this goodness by myself."

And I have!


Strawberry, Lime and Buttermilk Ice Cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups buttermilk
1-2 limes, juiced and zested
1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries, thawed

Using cold ingredients, mix together in a large bowl.  Pour ingredients into an ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturers suggestions.

If you love soft-serve, eat some as soon as it's ready.  If you prefer to practice restraint, pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container and allow it to harden
 in the freezer for a while.

Monday, August 1, 2011

City Heat

When it's 100 degrees at 10:00 at night

and the neighbor's water sprinkler is broken

kids will find something fun to do!