Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanks.

Thanksgiving isn't about food; it's about the people who lovingly prepare it, and the people you eat it with. Our meals during the holidays are pretty simple - all are traditions. Turkey, sweet potatoes, rice, gravy, potato salad, rolls and deviled eggs. Simple. Delicious. Thanksgiving is my appetizer for Christmas. Bring it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Doggie Dental Cleaning.

Not only is my mom a dental hygienist for humans, but dogs as well. Hey, it saves a vet bill!



Miller was helping.

Reese was not a fan.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Allison's Pasta Salad

I made one batch of this Friday and it was gone within two days, then I made another batch for a dinner party and it was gone in two hours. This stuff is delicious and addictive. Perfect for lunches, cookouts or as a side dish!

From: Taste and Tell (http://www.tasteandtellblog.com/2009/08/allisons-pasta-salad.html)


Allison's Pasta Salad
slightly adapted from allrecipes.com

Serves 8

1 3/4 cups farfalle pasta
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons prepared Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
2 cups diced ham
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 1/2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, cider vinegar, mustard, sugar, black pepper, dill weed and salt.

In a large bowl, combine pasta, grapes, ham, onions and cheese. Toss with the dressing. Cover and chill overnight, or for at least 6 hours.


NOTE: I put about 3/4 of the dressing on while the pasta was still warm, then the rest before serving.

I highly recommend this! It is superb!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Double-Chocolate Pudding

I love Ina Garten. No, I LOVE LOVE LOVE her. Barefoot Contessa is the best cooking show out there and I have never made a recipe of hers that I didn't like. This pudding recipe is no different. Extremely rich, you'll probably want to eat this in small batches with home-made whipped cream and chocolate shavings. I stayed true to the recipe but used seven egg yolks and added a teaspoon of instant espresso powder.

Double Chocolate Pudding
From: Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Ingredients

  • 6 extra-large egg yolks (seven if they are smaller)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons very good cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1-ounce very good semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light yellow and thick in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium-high speed. On low speed, add the cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan and, with the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the chocolate mixture. Combine well, then pour the mixture back into the pan.

Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon, until thickened. If the mixture begins to curdle, remove it from the heat and beat it vigorously with a wire whisk. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, butter, vanilla, and heavy cream, and mix until the chocolate and butter are melted.

Pour into serving bowls. Place plastic wrap directly on the top of the pudding, and chill thoroughly.


Before combining milk and egg mixture

Just starting to whisk and cook, it's still really thin


What it should look like when it's done


Before Serving


If you aren't going to eat it all right away, cover the tops with some plastic wrap.


Served up!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Feta-Stuffed Chicken & Peppery Cheddar Bread

I was catching up on one of my favorite blogs, Taste and Tell and came across some recipes that I tried this weekend: First up, feta stuffed chicken breasts (http://www.tasteandtellblog.com/2009/11/feta-stuffed-chicken-breasts.html#links)

I followed the recipe and honestly thought the stuffing was a little bit too peppery, so if you make this dish I advise you to not put as much as the recipe calls for! This wasn't my favorite dish, but that's probably because i'm not a huge fan of Feta, what can I say I'm a mozzarella girl all the way.

Feta-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
adapted from Family Circle Quick & Easy Cooking
from tasteandtellblog.com

1 tablespoon snipped dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
boiling water
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons softened cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place tomatoes in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry; set aside. Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, cut a pocket in each chicken breast by cutting horizontally through the thickest portion to, but not through, the opposite side; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine feta, cream cheese, basil, and tomatoes. Spoon about 1 rounded tablespoon into each chicken pocket. If necessary, secure openings with wooden toothpicks. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

In a large oven-proof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, cook until browned, flip over, and cook on second side until browned. Move skillet to the preheated oven and bake until chicken is no longer pink and registers 170F on an instant read thermometer, about 25 minutes.


The prepared Chicken


While Sauteing


I forgot to take a final picture...sorry, I was hungry!

To go along with the chicken, I also baked up some peppery cheddar bread, also from tasteandtell.com

The bread had a nice sweetness to it, but I would have preferred a little more kick. Next time, I'll try it with some green peppers.

Peppery Cheese Bread
from Better Homes & Gardens Treasured Recipes

Makes 1 loaf

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 beaten eggs
1 8-ounce carton plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, pepper, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.

In a medium bowl combine eggs, yogurt, oil, milk and mustard. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; add cheese and green onions. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in a 350F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool for 1 hour on wire rack. Serve warm. Wrap any leftovers and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.




The third thing that I made from taste and tell was my favorite, more on that later!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Christmas Open House

I know, it's not even Thanksgiving. Trust me, when the first Christmas themed advertisements started showing up in OCTOBER, I was the first one rolling my eyes. Now that said, there is one early Christmas extravaganza that I love, and that is the Christmas Open House at Apex Garden Supply. This place is a nursery and also sells other little house items but they do Christmas up right. They have trees everywhere, each one with a different theme or color scheme, tons of glittering hand painted ornaments and just generally a lot of awesome stuff. They also have free food and wine...so that's not a bad deal either. Mom and Dad went last weekend to the official big event but it was incredibly crowded so Mom and I went back Thursday for another little shindig they were throwing, and of course I took pictures of everything with my Iphone.






An example of one of the trees


The three wise men that Mom was eyeing


My favorite: there was a plethora of food-themed ornaments that were so delicious looking that I wanted to eat them!
Heaven is filled with sparkly ribbons


Saucy!


Some ornaments I am coveting:



Here's wishing Christmas-time a speedy arrival!



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rainy Day

Today has been quite rainy...but thankfully rainy days are my favorite. I think I would choose rain, or snow or severe weather over a sunny day any day of the week. I'm not quite positive what that says about me as a person, but I can't help it! The best part of rainy days besides sleeping in and being able to dress in pajamas is the adorable rain boots. You can tell a lot about people by the type of rain boots they wear, and of course I prefer the most outrageous. Sadly mine are on the plain side because of my gigantic size 11 feet and most of the cutest shoes are made for dainty feet. I am feeling a major baking spell coming on, and what's better than homemade warm chocolatey goodness on a cold rainy day? Let it rain!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Corn Amazingness Pt. II

So apparently alot of people get really into Cornhuskin' ...like ALOT. There were moms there wearing "cornsages" or corsages made from corn husks. I was shocked at the number of alums, parents and friends who came out for our little schools version of homecoming, its a pretty special place and tradition if that many people come back year after year to observe and participate. The best part of the parade was not snoopy the hot dog guy (although it made me kind of hungry) it was the end. At the end of every cornhuskin' parade the seniors gather on the balconies of Johnson Hall (the main building on campus). Our little sis song sang to us, we sang back and we also sang to our big sis class (2008) which is the class i would have been in had i not fooled around! The feeling of unity and pride in our school was evident and I am so thankful to be a part of a school like that. A few pics from the parade..






After the parade (and a quick stop at the library to turn in some homework) we feasted at the picnic and oh man was it good. BBQ chicken, BBQ pork sandwiches, mac and cheese, beans, slaw and corn shaped rice krispy treats. Delicious.

When the final event came, we seniors were the last to process in and the dancers did an amazing set. After freshman, sophomore and junior skits, it was time for...the SENIOR SKIT! It was creative, fun, and cute. Their theme was dr. seuss and the skit went perfectly. The dance that the "whos" did at the end was so good, i could never have learned all those dance moves!!



During the night the alumnae brought around doughnuts and we even had hot chocolate, although it did little to ease the freezing pain in my toes. Here is my cornhuskin' buddy Nakia and I:


After corn huskin' and apple bobbin' and tale tales and class songs, we waited......and waited.....
But we had bathtub ring to entertain us with their gorgeous voices!

And then we had a dance party until results were announced...rock on MC Girls.


Seniors WON!!


Corn Amazingness Pt. I

Corn is awesome. Every part, from the parade, picnic, songs and skits was pure amazing. While I gave up feeling in my toes and possible frostbite, it was well worth it. Here are a few of my favorite pictures and traditions:
Tradition One: Can Art
The Juniors blew us out of the water with this one.. thanks Jamie Rice for the photo!


Tradition two: Tunnel Painting : the paintings represent different traditions and events throughout meredith college life.

Former 2010 theme

Alice in Wonderland

Daisy chain/ big sis little sis classes

Ring Dinner (Junior Year)

Guardian Angel Dance (father daughter dance)

Our Cornhuskin' theme from Last Year

Night Out with 2010

Our theme song!

Our FUTURE!!!!!

MAY 2010.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lots of Stuff...

We had Fran and Enoch here this weekend which was pretty exciting! We mostly stayed around home, but we did go eat at Maggiano's ...oh yea, it was good.




The absolute best part of the visit is that Roni Dawkins found a way to rip video from old family film reels. She got these onto a dvd and we all watched them together, hearing stories and what was going on in different parts of the reel. This was better than any present I could ever have gotten since I didn't even know these reels existed! The first part is Dad's championship football game, amazing!! I wanted to burn a copy but I haven't figured out how to get that done yet, so I FINALLY got the clips on youtube in three parts.







Halloween was also this week, and here are my two favorite girls in the spirit!

Baby Caroline

Ellie the Ladybug


Precious!