24 February 2015

Recipe 19: Hamburger Strata

This tastes a little like lasagna, and a lot like stuffed french bread (only easier to eat).  If I were paying more attention, I would have doubled this recipe.  Probably a good thing I didn't, since I've been cooking so much I don't need a lot of leftovers.  And my husband is picky, and doesn't like the tomato/cheese combo very often (except on pizza) so the small batch was perfect for me and Cupcake.  If making for a larger group, definitely double and use a 9x12 pan.

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion

In an ungreased 10x6x2 dish, layer
1 cup plain croutons
1 7-ounce can whole kernel corn (drained)

Spread the beef on top and then layer:
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup plain croutons

In a separate bowl, mix together:
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Pour the egg mixture over top, cover the dish in foil and bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.  Let stand for five minutes before serving.

22 February 2015

Recipe 17: Puff Shells

From the Company's Coming: Appetizers cookbook.

Puff Shells
Boil 1 cup water and 1/2 cup butter.  Add 1 cup flour and a dash of salt.  Stir vigorously until mix leaves sides of pan and forms a ball.  Remove from heat.  Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Drop small spoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes until puffed, brown and dry.  Transfer to a rack and cool.

Nothing fancy, but they taste like bite size Yorkshire puddings.

Recipe 16: Sunshine Muffins

I've posted orange muffin recipes before: here and here.  But these are completely different from either of those.  A lot more dense, almost the texture of cornbread.  I got this recipe from Aaron's Granny's collection of recipes - I think he got his love of cooking from her.

Sunshine MuffinsPut in the blender:
  1 orange cut into eight pieces (yes, the whole thing)
  1/2 cup orange juice
  1 egg
  1/4 cup oil
Blend until smooth.  Then add:
  1 1/2 cups flour
  3/4 cup sugar
  1 tsp baking powder
  1 tsp baking soda
  1 tsp salt
Add optional ingredients:
  1/2 cup raisins
  1/2 cup chopped nuts
Pour into muffin tins and bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
Makes a dozen large muffins.

And if you've been keeping track of my recipe count, I've skipped a few numbers.  I've done the recipes, just haven't done individual blog posts for them all.  But I've got a list of them all right here!

12 February 2015


Kids Clothes Week - Upcycle
Project Run and Play - Mademoiselle Muscle Tee

I've never really worked with knit before, so this combination of KCW and PRP was the perfect excuse to take the plunge.  I've got a small stash of t-shirts to play with, and was originally planning on doing something with ruffles for KCW, but life happens, and this is all that got done.

Nana got me a zoo pass for the year, so I thought it'd be fun for Cupcake to have a special shirt for when we go.  We went twice in January, and the red pandas were so active and adorable.  Such great inspiration for this shirt!  

I found a mens t-shirt at the thrift store, bought some ballpoint needles, cut apart an old tank top for the ribbing, followed this tutorial (specifically for the sleeves) and used acrylic paint for the face and tail.  

 We had to go to the zoo again to take pictures.  Thankfully it warmed up from the -10 yesterday to +10 today so we could get away without a coat long enough for a few pictures.  Cupcake would occasionally flash open her coat and show random strangers her new shirt - I think that means she likes it!

I know it doesn't exactly follow the PRP pattern, but I live in Canada where there is little need for sleeveless shirts (especially in February) so I added sleeves.  Got to be practical sometimes.  I still was inspired to use knits though - the tutorial made it look so easy!  And really, it wasn't so bad.  

26 January 2015

Recipes 9 and 10: Pork and Potatoes

Recipe 9: Baked Apple Pork Chops
Another recipe from the CrockPot cookbook that I modified.  Place your pork chops in the bottom of a pan.  Chop up a couple of apples and put them on top.  Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and a few tablespoons of brown sugar.  Cover, and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes.  

They were quick and easy to make, but they were a bit bland.  We've got a smoked applewood spice blend that we'll put on the pork next time, along with the apples.  

Recipe 10: Cauliflower Scalloped Potatoes
This was something I made up, with inspiration from this post.  I put layers of potatoes, ham, broccoli, pureed cauliflower and grated cheese, sprinkled with garlic salt.  Bake, covered, at 400 degrees for at least an hour.  

I like scalloped potatoes, and have yet to perfect them.  This came closer: the flavors were good (Aaron didn't even mind the cauliflower sauce!), but I always have the problem of undercooked potatoes.  The stuff on top and around the edges was done, but the middle was still a little crunchy.  Must remember to use a bigger pan, so the layers aren't as thick, and to give myself enough time to let it bake - very minimum an hour, usually more.  

15 January 2015

Recipe 6: Potato Soup

While I was babysitting the other day, I realized I had forgotten a book to read.  I searched the house to find something and came across just one cookbook.  Even though it was a Crock Pot book, I looked through it for inspiration.  I didn't find a lot that I liked, but I found a recipe for potato soup.

Put in the crock pot:
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
Cook until tender (6-7 hours on low).
Add 1 cup half & half, cook on high for 15 minutes.
Turn off heat and stir in two cups shredded cheese.
Uncover and let stand for five minutes before serving.

I followed the recipe, sort of, but I still count it toward my new recipes because I had never made potato soup before.  I added celery, broccoli and cauliflower.  And when adding the cream at the end I also added some cubed ham.  YUM.

I like soup.  Aside from the time it takes to chop the vegetables, it doesn't take a lot of effort.  A lot of this batch will be going into the freezer, so I've got meals for later in the winter too.  Sounds like a winner to me!

13 January 2015

Bubble Dress

I recently came across Project Run and Play (which I think Trina had mentioned before).  They do sewing challenges and you can win prizes, and it just sounds all sorts of fabulous.  And what would you know, the first challenge of the year is a bubble dress -- something that I had just written on my goal list not two weeks ago.  So of course I had to do it!  

I originally got the material for my first wedding (way back in 2003) and my Mom turned it into a tablecloth for me.  It doesn't fit our current table, and the butterflies were just too perfect for this project.  I used my same hand-drafted bodice and sleeve patterns as my storybook shirt, squaring up the neckline and shortening the bodice length and sleeves.  I was glad I had the pink ribbon on hand to complete the look - it definitely needed something to define the waistline.  There is a large pink button on the back, but with the addition of the sash it looks weird, so I'm going to swap it out for a black button (any excuse to go to the store!).  

I have to say it is amazing what I've been able to learn in a year!  Last January I barely sewed my first pair of pants, and now I'm making my own patterns and sewing with more confidence.  I look forward to another year of learning.  I wonder what I'll be able to do by next January!  

12 January 2015

Recipe 5: taquitos

Mexican night with some friends: fajitas, fish tacos, pico da gillo, guacamole, and the new recipe for me, Creamy Chicken Taquitos.  They weren't bad, just not our favorite flavor combination.  They reheated well in the toaster oven and have a nice crunch.  I'd make them again, but change up the spices and replace the cream cheese with something (it doesn't agree with Aaron).

08 January 2015

Recipes 2, 3 and 4: Sausage, Soup and Pears

Wednesday I made Potato and Sausage Bake.  Sound familiar?  That's because I found the recipe posted here on this very blog six years ago.  (My goodness people posted a lot that first month.)  Pretty tasty - similar to the potato packets Aaron likes to make on the barbecue.  Cupcake gobbled it up, except for the carrots and onions.  Aaron liked it alright, but we both thought it needed something to make it a main dish.  Maybe a mushroom sauce?

Today was a good day for soup.  Particularly this soup, Zuppa Toscana, like they make at Olive Garden.  I was able to chop up extra potatoes and cook up extra sausage yesterday so making the soup was even easier.  I didn't use the crockpot as suggested (because I don't have one!) so it was done in about an hour.  YUMMY.  It's warm and hearty and has lots of great textures.  I'd totally make it again.

And for dessert, I made some Maple Baked Pears.  Got the recipe in my email today and we just happened to have some pears (which we normally don't).  Why not?  Not something I'd make on a regular basis (I don't usually make dessert), but could be a quick "fancy" little dessert for company.

05 January 2015

Recipe 1: Macaroni and Cheese

I love macaroni and cheese.  I've made it lots of times, usually with just those two ingredients: macaroni and shredded cheese melted over top.  I know how to make a cheese sauce, and will occasionally, especially when I have some pureed butternut squash to add to it.  So I'm happy to try a new recipe - it's pretty difficult to ruin macaroni and cheese (aside from using powdered "cheese").

Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese from recipegirl.com was pretty dang tasty, but I picked the wrong night to try and make it.  I had a very hungry and whiny girl at my feet the entire time, and I know that something faster would have made us both happier!  I think it was worth the extra time though, and Cupcake enjoyed snacking on some bacon while she waited.  

The cracker and bacon topping was nice, and added some good texture.  (Next time add more bacon, because you can never have too much bacon.)  And adding cream cheese to the cheese sauce was awesome.  It didn't take much to add a nice flavor and it really helped to thicken the sauce.  Even if I don't make the entire casserole again I would make the cheese sauce.  (Instead of the mustard I added a touch of cayenne, garlic, and white pepper.)

EDIT: My husband is not usually a big fan of macaroni and cheese but he had TWO servings of this.  Hooray!  Totally made my day.  Definitely a success.