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Trying to keep my sanity in tact, while keeping bellies full

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

wordless wednesday

Sometimes a glass of wine is all you need for a perfect evening!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Made From Scratch Tuesday 4/26

We have so many great posts linked up each week, but I'd like to know what your favorites are, so leave a comment on here (and on the blog you love!) telling what you like.
Here are some of my favorites:
PW's Awesome-est Blueberry Muffins from Lana


Heather's Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cake

Leah's Almond Poppy Seed Bread

Liz's Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Ott,A's Peanut Butter Brownie


Now time to link up your stuff!!!   What goodies have you been cooking this week?







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Here are the rules:
1. You can link up as many posts as you'd like.
2. My only content rule is it has to be made from scratch.
3. If you want to put my button somewhere, that'd be cool. You can grab the code for the Made From Scratch Tuesday button on the top right of my sidebar.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Made From Scratch Tuesday 4/19

 One of the great things about living in Indiana is the abundance of agriculture. I'm lucky enough to work with and get to know several producers and even luckier to be able to buy great products from them. (Although, chances are if I buy meat at my local grocery store, there's a pretty good chance it came from one of them!) Recently, the husband and I bought a hind quarter of beef. I love buying in bulk! And I really love having a freezer full of beef! When we picked up the meat from the processor, they also gave us a few packages of beef liver. Now, I'm no fan of liver. But the husband loves it. In the nearly 5 years we've been married, I've never cooked liver for him. Well, I guess it's about time I expanded my culinary boundaries. Here goes...

Liver and Onions
I started by soaking the liver in milk for a few hours. After all of my online research, that seemed to be a common method of preparation.
For the onions, I sliced them up and sauteed them in a couple tablespoons of butter.
 When they became translucent, take them out of the pan and onto a plate.
Now for the liver....ewwwww! After soaking, I drained the milk and coated the livers in flour, salt and pepper. Then I put them in the pan the onions were in.
I cooked them for a few minutes on each side, until they were browned. Then place on top of the onions.

I really wish I could get excited about this, but truth be told, I didn't even try it. The husband said it was good! What about you? Does your family eat liver? How do you prepare it?

What have you been making this week?

Here are the rules:
1. You can link up as many posts as you'd like.
2. My only content rule is it has to be made from scratch.
3. If you want to put my button somewhere, that'd be cool. You can grab the code for the Made From Scratch Tuesday button on the top right of my sidebar.
p.s. Does your recipe include Baking Powder? If so, check out Ott,A's Iron Chef Challenge sponsored by Clabber Girl!



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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Baking with Clabber Girl

 Ott,A is at it again with this month's Iron Chef Challenge! April is sponsored by Clabber Girl.
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Baking Powder is something I use all the time. Who hasn't eaten the baking powder biscuits? In my opinion, the recipe on the back of the can makes the best biscuits! But really, baking powder is used in so many sweet and savory recipes, I had a hard time figuring out which recipe to use for the challenge. After a lot of debate (and the husband begging for some kind of cake or sweet treat) I decided to go with something I make all the time in so many varities. I don't know where this recipe originated, but I'm going to guess from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook I have from the late 70's. I've bought the newer ones, but I always keep going back to the first one I owned. I haven't looked at the actual recipe in years because it's so easy to remember! And the recipe is so easy I make it all the time. This is one of those go-to recipes I have when company is going to be coming over; people are always so impressed that I make my own crackers. I never tell anyone how easy they are, but I guess the secret is out now!

Spicy Cheese Crackers

What you'll need:
1/2 c butter (or use olive oil spread for a Mediterranean twist)
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt + salt to sprinkle on top
1 t Clabber Girl Baking Powder
Dash of chili powder (or your favorite seasoning)
Dash of crushed red pepper (again, can substitute for other seasoning)
2 c cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese, just don't use soft cheese like ricotta!)

To begin, put the flour and butter in the food processor and process until it looks like cornmeal.

Next add in the salt and baking powder; process about 2-3 seconds.

Then add your seasonings and cheese. Process until well incorporated.


Form the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Take out of the refrigerator and shape into log. Cut into slices (just smaller than 1/4") and bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and turn crackers over and bake an additional 5-10 minutes. Let cool and serve!


I made these to go with chili. This is my favorite version of the crackers because of all the flavors it adds!

Other versions and optional ingredients I've used include:
Olive oil spread, oregano, basil, Parmesan and Romano cheese
Colby Jack cheese with peppers
Sun dried tomatoes
jalapeno slices
olives

The possibilities are endless! A big thanks to Ott,A and Clabber Girl for sponsoring this month's Iron Chef Challenge!

Make sure to visit the fantastic blog parties on my sidebar, and of course, link up all your made from scratch recipes on my Tuesday linky-Made From Scratch Tuesday!



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Monday, April 11, 2011

Made From Scratch Tuesday 4/12

Pound Cake...It's one of the oldest recipes in the world-a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of flour, and a pound of eggs. While the recipe has evolved over the years, it's still one of the greatest bases for delicious toppings yet still flavorful enough to stand on its own.My personal favorite is this one from Betty Crocker.

Remember my Fondue for Two? This is the pound cake I used for dipping. With the leftover cake, fondue and strawberries, I made this beautiful dessert.



I love leftovers repurposed! All I had to do was drizzle the fondue over the cake and plate then top with strawberries!

What have you been cooking this week?

Here are the rules:
1. You can link up as many posts as you'd like.
2. My only content rule is it has to be made from scratch.
3. If you want to put my button somewhere, that'd be cool. You can grab the code for the Made From Scratch Tuesday button on the top right of my sidebar.





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Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Guess It Runs in the Family

 Today was an awesome day. Let me back up....to about 1992. That was the first time I picked up a stringed instrument. It was a cello to be exact. I played cello for 8 years. I loved it. I was even somewhat good at it. But, like a typical teenager, I quit after graduation. Somewhere during those last years of playing cello, my grannie showed me her dad's violin. From that day forward, I've wanted to play violin....that violin to be exact. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago.

Still thinking about that violin. I'm now a somewhat responsible adult so I'm working up the nerve to ask grannie for the violin. I knew better to ask for it before. I knew I had to show I was responsible enough to take care of something she cherished so much. For the last ten years, I've heard stories of her father playing that violin. Why are those memories so special to her? Well, there are many reasons. But I think one reason is because he bought it during the Great Depression. This was a time when food was rationed and there was no shortage of mouths to feed in her house. I can't even imagine making a choice between paying a bill or having an instrument. I'm glad he made that decision. Maybe that's a bit selfish, but I also think that piece of wood and the metal strings provided memories that have lasted 80 years. I'm getting off track here....back to asking grannie.

I decided that if I bought my own violin and showed an interest, it may convince her that  I was serious about playing. So I bought a violin last week. It came Thursday. I was so excited! I'd never played a violin before, so you can imagine the screeching sounds coming from my living room. My poor neighbors! Even the dog had a hard time taking the noise, and howled as I played. And as it turned out, I didn't even have to ask for the violin that belonged to my great-grandfather! As soon as Grannie got wind of my purchase, she decided maybe I should have it. I was ECSTATIC! I don't think words can describe it. 

So now I have my new violin (and yes, it's BLUE). And I also have the violin I've been practically drooling over for the last several years.


 When I pulled it out of the case today, all I had to do was rosin the bow up a bit and tune the violin and it was perfectly playable. The chin rest is hard carved out of wood. It was such a cool feeling to put my chin down on that piece of wood. I could almost feel the electricity of the former player flowing through me. And I like to think I brought some happy memories back to my grannie as I sat and played her dad's violin in her living room.

So now I'm back home, with both violins.


 The past meets the present and the cycle continues. The kids have decided they may want to learn to play the violin. I am so happy I have the opportunity to teach them as I learn. After two days of playing, I'm happy to report I can now play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Amazing Grace (kinda), Yankee Doodle, Ode to Joy and a few other beginner songs. Anybody know a violin teacher around here??




Make sure to visit the fantastic blog parties on my sidebar, and of course, link up all your made from scratch recipes on my Tuesday linky-Made From Scratch Tuesday!

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Made From Scratch Tuesday 4/5

After a week of a sinus infection, I was ready for something tasty and easy, but still looked impressive. And I was really craving some fresh fruit. The weather is starting to get warmer and that means fresh produce to me! I know it's not really time for local fresh produce, but no harm in getting an early start. But what to make? The husband really likes banana splits, but I wasn't in the mood for ice cream. Enter Banana Split Brownies!

You'll be amazed at how easy these are....and delicious!

Start by making the brownies...did I mention they were low fat brownies? I figured I'd need a sturdy brownie to hold up all the delicious toppings.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups brown sugar (splenda version)
4 tablespoons pumpkin puree
3/4 cup applesauce
(I doubled the recipe for the large pan)

I'm not going to go through all the directions--it's the basic mix the wet, sift together dry, mix all. Bake at 350 25-30 minutes. Let them cool for about 20 minutes. You'll want them slightly warm, but not hot to the touch. Now, for the best part. The toppings!

Spread on a 13 oz jar of marshmallow cream. The easiest way to do it is to plop on a few globs and let the gentle heat of the brownies melt it. Then spread it around so it's mostly even. While that's melting down, prepare the fruit. Cut up 2 bananas and put the slices in a bowl of lemon juice to prevent browning. Drain off lemon juice and set aside. Next, cut up strawberries. For our preparation, I put the bananas down first then drizzled with caramel sauce. Then added the berries. I bet these would be delicious with blueberries and raspberries too.

Here's the husband's plate...topped with whipped cream

What goodies have you been cooking up this week?
Here are the rules:
1. You can link up as many posts as you'd like.
2. My only content rule is it has to be made from scratch.
3. If you want to put my button somewhere, that'd be cool. You can grab the code for the Made From Scratch Tuesday button on the top right of my sidebar.







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