Thursday, February 28, 2013

Easy Herb Roasted Potatoes

Easy Herb Roasted Potatoes

  • 1/8 cup olive oil
I also had a random single sweet potato which I peeled and cubed to mix in with the russet potatoes.

In a large bowl, combine oil, garlic, basil, marjoram, dill weed, thyme, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, and salt.  Add potatoes and toss to coat.   Place potatoes in a single layer on a roasting pan or baking sheet.

Roast for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, turning occasionally to brown on all sides.

Simple and delicious!  A hit with the entire family!
The addition of the sweet potato was wonderful.  I will definitely make them that way again. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How Cold Is Too Cold?

I am completely infatuated with my clothes line.  Seriously. 

I love the entire process of hanging clothes outside to dry.  Hauling the basket of wet clothes out.  Shaking out each piece and pinning it to the line.  It's all a very peaceful routine for me. 

Spare me your talk of bugs, pollen, or how it takes too much time.  Say what you will.  Heard it.  Doesn't change my mind. 
I also don't care if my neighbors find it tacky.  Unless they want to start helping cover our electric bills, I am not particularly interested in their opinion on the matter.

In fact, only one thing can affect my affection for using my clothesline. 

The weather.

Obviously I don't use it when the weather is particularly wet.  However, another dilemma has recent had me mentally debating the use of the clothes line. 

How cold is too cold to hang clothes out to dry? 

At this point, I have been putting clothes out if the temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above.  But I'm wondering if I could go colder on sunny days.  Especially if there is a little breeze going to help the process along. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Family Dinners

We’ve been trying something new in our house.  At our family meeting on Sunday evening, we are given a … well… I guess “challenge” might be the right word.   This was the brainchild of the Man of the House and I loooove it!

It started with what I think of as “Be Nice to ___ Week”.  Each week a different family member was selected and the others were expected to do something above the normal routine to be nice to that person. 

Last week was “Try A New Food Week”.  Had you been spying on us, you would have heard a lot of  “oh, that is NOT good” as things such as sardines, escargot, and roasted seaweed snacks were tried out.  The male offspring even agreed to taste sushi.  He didn’t like.  The female offspring and I finished his tray of California Rolls.  (yum!)

Last week each member of the family was challenged to come up with a recipe they have never made before that they would like to cook for the family.  This coming week, those dishes will be prepared.

I am personally thrilled with this challenge!  Two big reasons:

 #1 – three nights when someone else will be doing the cooking!  (yah!)

#2 -  new recipes and dishes to blog about

The Man of the House is making a ham and potato soup, the female offspring will try her hand at black and blue quesadillas, and the male offspring is expanding his experience in the kitchen with hamburgers with homemade oven fries.  I will be trying two new recipes, including cumin chicken with red beans and quinoa.

It should be a delicious week!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Chicken Chick's (not so secret) Chili

The Man of the House was wanting to try something a little different from my basic chili recipe for Super Bowl this year.  And once he mentioned trying a recipe with some sort of sausage in it - I knew just what he was looking for! 

The Chicken Chick's Clever Secret Chili!!

This chili was delicious!  The kielbasa really added a nice, unique flavor to it that we very much enjoyed.  I can't say enough nice things about it.

The Chicken Chick blog is just as delightful as her chili recipe!  All sorts of interesting things involving keeping backyard chickens, DIY projects, crafting, and recipes!  (she had me at "chickens" - ya'll know I love my girls!)

Along with the recipe for this chili, she also has tips for preparing, precooking, and freezing ingredients ahead to cut down on prep time to make things easier on the day you plan to cook! 

The below amounts are from Clever Chick's original recipe.  We wanted a large batch and doubled all listed ingredients with very good results.
1 lb ground beef (or one bag pre-cooked/frozen)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (or 4 frozen cubes)
1 large red bell pepper, chopped (or 5 frozen cubes)
2 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to the heat you desire)
2 teaspoons garlic powder

1, 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
1, 15.5 ounce can, small white beans, rinsed and drained
½ kielbasa link, ground in a food processor to the consistency of ground beef
1 bottle of beer (we used Highland Brewing Gaelic Ale)

In a large pot or dutch oven on medium high heat.
brown ground beef & skim off excess fat. Remove from pan and set aside. Add olive oil to pan and over medium heat, add garlic cloves and peppers. Saute until onions are translucent.
Add all remaining ingredients to ground beef mixture.
ground kielbasa
Diced red peppers


Tomatoes and beans


Simmer on low for a minimum of 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Note: I love the Chicken Chick blog, and from time to time participate in her weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop.  I was in no way compensated for this post. And I take no credit at all for the recipe.  This was posted purely to share a recipe which my family very much enjoyed!  I hope you will visit her blog and share the love!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Herbed Almond Salmon

I discovered this recipe in a digital edition of Fitness' Eat to Be Fit which I received through my Better Homes and Gardens subscription on my Nook

Herbed Almond Salmon

4 4-oz fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillets
Nonstick cooking spray ( I skip the spray and use parchment paper to line my baking pan)
1 slice whole wheat bread, torn
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil or 2 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
1 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black paper

Fresh basil sprigs and lemon wedges (optional)

Thaw fish, if frozen.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse fish.  Pat dry.
Lightly coat shallow baking dish with nonstick spray (or line with parchment paper)
Combine bread, almonds, snipped or dried basil, shallot, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt and garlic in food processor or blender.
Place fish in prepared baking pan.  Drizzle with lemon juice.  Sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper.
Gently pat some of the bread crumb mixture onto each fillet.
Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Garnish with fresh basil sprigs and serve with lemon wedges.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

I found the recipe for these lovelies over at This Is Happiness(Becky has a great little blog full of recipes, decorating ideas, and more!  Prepare to get your Pinterest on if you visit!)  They seemed like the perfect dessert for celebrating Valentine's Day with the family.  It combines two of my favortie sweets: oreos and cheesecake!  Yum!

Y'all have got to try these tastey treats!  The cheese cake is soooo creamy and delicious, and I love that the crust is just a whole oreo.  Easy peasey!

The recipe says it makes 30 individual cakes.  I made 24 and had enough filling left over to pour into a regular graham cracker crust and make a whole cheesecake also! (which I froze to enjoy on a later date)

42 cream filled oreos (30 left whole and 12 coarsely chopped)
2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
A pinch of salt
  • Preheat oven to 275
  • Arrange standard muffin tins with paper liners and place one whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup
  • With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed
  • Gradually add sugar and beat until combined
  • Beat in the vanilla
  • Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating until combined
  • Beat in sour cream and salt
  • Stir in chopped cookies by hand
  • Divide batter evenly among the cookie-filled cups, filling each almost to the top
  • Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes
  • Cool completely, then refrigerate in tins at least 4 hours (or up to overnight)
  • Thursday, February 14, 2013

    Love Is In The Air (and around the house)

    I have never been one of those people who decorated for Valentine's Day.  But for whatever reason (love is in the air?  bitten by the love bug?  feeling especially "girly"?), this year I was feeling the urge to pop some heart themed decor around the house. 

    DIY heart garland - made by me!

    chip board heart, painted with Martha Stewart red Pearl craft paint,  sparkly heart ornaments, tied together with pale pink ribbon.

    Crocheted hearts tucked into plate stand, red votive holders (found on Christmas clearance at Target: originally $5 each - now $1.48!)

    Sparkly heart floral picks tucked into a glass filled with conversation heart candies

    Paper mache' heart box, painted with Martha Stewart red pearl craft paint

    chipboard heart, sparkly heart ornaments and floral picks, paper mache' box, and Martha Stewart red pearl craft paint:  purchased  at Michael's
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