Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Tomato and Meatball Soup
Serves 6 to 8
2 slices of white sandwich bread, torn into large pieces**
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 large egg, slightly beaten
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb extra lean ground beef
8 oz whole wheat rotini pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, small diced
1 onion, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes in puree
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, place the milk and bread and allow to soak for a minute or two. Using a fork whisk the two ingredients to combine. Stir in the parm, garlic, thyme, egg, salt, and pepper. Add the meat and mix together with a fork to keep the mixture light and not dense. Wet your hands and roll 1-inch meatballs, placing them on the baking sheet. You should have 30 - 35meatballs.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cool water and set aside.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook an additional 5 - 7 minutes until translucent but not brown. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds until garlic becomes very fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes and stock. Add the meatballs without stirring, and bring the temperature up to a simmer. Cook until meatballs are tender but cooked through, about 15 minutes. Add the pasta to the soup and season with salt & pepper to taste.
Serve each bowl with a sprinkle of Parmesan and julienned basil on top.
Monday, November 29, 2010
I made a whole chicken in a crock pot. Woo hoo! It's like the simplest thing ever, but it was still pretty intimidating... it's a whole chicken.
All I had to do was rinse off the chicken and sprinkle paprika and minced garlic on top. Then I cooked it 7 hours on low. When I got home form work it was hot and ready. The meat was literally falling off the bone.
Here's a great how-to that I followed at The Happy Housewife.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The recipe is from Real Simple ...
• 12 ounces spaghetti (3/4 box)
• 6 slices bacon
• 1/3 cup fresh sage leaves
• 1 small head cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into small florets
• salt and black pepper
• 3/4 cup grated pecorino (3 ounces)
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving ¾ cup of the cooking water, and return the pasta to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and crumble.
3. Add the sage to the drippings in the skillet and cook over medium heat, turning once, until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the bacon.
4. Add the cauliflower, ¼ cup water, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper to the drippings in the skillet and cook, covered, for 2 minutes.
5. Uncover and cook, tossing frequently, until golden and tender, 3 to 4 minutes more.
6. Add the reserved pasta water and ½ cup pecorino to the pasta; toss until creamy. Add the cauliflower, sage, and bacon and toss. Sprinkle with remaining pecorino.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
At what age are you officially suppose to grow up and get real furniture? I’ve been wondering about that lately when I look at our mismatched dining chairs and hand-me-down green table. Don’t get me wrong, I love these pieces, but I’m wondering how long it’s acceptable to scavenge for chairs when we have guests over. Last time we had a dinner party we used a bench as supplemental seating.
We have bookcases from rummage sales, dressers from friends who moved cross-country, etc. The only furniture we have bought at a store is our bed and a couch. Both of those items were from massive sales at Value City furniture and we saved up for awhile before getting them.
Flannel Man and I tend to go off the assumption that if we can’t get it at a yard sale or buy it used from friends and family, then we probably don’t need it. Once we have a bigger family we’ll probably invest in a table with matching chairs (and by invest I mean find it on Craig’s List), but until then I’ll stick with the old saying “use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.”
Photo by moi.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
For my one year wedding anniversary gift for my husband I wanted to do something in the vein of the traditional first gift: paper. So, I called in the big guns. One of my good friends got her masters in book binding and she was kind enough to teach me how to make a book.
the front and back covers and the spine.
Next, I cut a pieces of paper to wrap around all three pieces.
Using her glue, mixed with water, and a brush,
I cut a strip of thick white paper to give the spine some strength,
then added a brown sheet of paper over the top of that.
I ripped four sets of signatures of paper for the inside.
Each signature is made up of four pieces of paper
cut to the same size and folded over.
I tore the paper, using a ruler, to give the edges a rougher look.
Using an awl I puntured the spine with four holes in a row in three different spots.
The finished spine had a crisp look. The finished book (shown at the top) turned out beautifully. This is a very simple outline of a complicated process and there's no way mine would have turned out well without my friend's help.
When it was complete I filled the first few pages with some of my favorite memories from our first year of marriage. I'm planning to add to it each year.
Photos by moi.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
-1/2 cup Light Ranch Dressing
-1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
-1/4 cup Real Bacon Bits
-2 lb. small red potatoes, quartered
-1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
HEAT oven to 350°F.
1) Mix first 3 ingredients in large bowl. Add potatoes; toss to coat.
2) Spoon into 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; cover.
3) Bake 55 min. or until potatoes are tender, uncovering after 40 min. Sprinkle with parsley.
***I cooked them for closer to 2 hours.
Monday, September 27, 2010
6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/4 cup regular sugar
1/4 powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8-9 ice cubes
1. Combine all ingredients except ice cubes in blender.
2. Blend for about 1-2 minutes, adding ice cubes one at a time.
We poured the drinks into fancy martini glasses and sipped away. On a side note, adding a splash of rum is wonderful too!
Friday, September 24, 2010
BAKED ACORN SQUASH
Yield: 4 servings.
2 med. acorn squash
2 to 4 tbsp. butter
2 to 4 tbsp. brown sugar
1. Wash the acorn squash well and cut in half, lengthwise.
2. Remove seeds.
3. Place the half squash cut side down in pan. Pour boiling water to 1/4 inch depth. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Turn cut-side up; sprinkle with butter, salt and brown sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until tender.
Monday, September 20, 2010
We decided to try cooking Alaskan king crab legs for the first time this week. It was so much simpler than I expected. When you buy the legs they are already fully cooked. All you have to do is thaw them and then follow these directions...
To bake crab legs
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
2. Crack the whole crab legs and place them on a baking tray.
3. Brush the crab legs with butter or oil, seasoning and lemon juice and bake in the oven for 8 - 9 minutes.
We also made a dipping sauce for them using this recipe...
Butter Sauce: 1/2 cup unsalted melted butter, 1-tablespoon lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt and 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed.
We each had two legs and along with some broccoli and french bread, it was a very full meal. It turned out perfectly and was less expensive than I expected. The 4 legs cost $18, which is too much for a weekly meal, but just right for a special treat.
During the same weekend I attended an art fair and found a gorgeous pottery piece that I knew would be a great addition to our kitchen. We used it for the first time to serve the bread. The piece includes a small bowl, ideal for dipping sauces, which held some garlic butter for our bread.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Flannel Man and I returned from vacation to find our half bath mirror cracked and broken. Money is a bit tight right now and I was looking for a way to solve the problem without depleting our funds. I found this gold mirror at Goodwill for $6 and saw nothing but potential. I bought a small can of silver spray paint at Michaels. It was on sale for $2.
I covered the mirror with saran wrap and shoved pieces of paper underneath the outer frame to protect the mirror. I took it outside, laid paper towels beneath it and then sprayed every inch of it.
The completed mirror, hanging in the bathroom, is exactly what we needed. It's not perfect, but for $8 it works great for us!
Photos by moi.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Here's a great DIY project created by a friend of A Tale of Two Bloggers. This lamp, which originally had a wood and gold metal base, cost only 50 cents at a garage sale.
Learning how to turn it into a beautiful new piece took only a bit of internet research. She used spray paint to cover the unattractive parts. The first layer was a primer, then a black coat, a clear top coat and finally a bit of silver chrome spray paint for the metal.
The shade was 50% off at Target, which was the final touch needed for the project. The final product looks like something I would buy new for $40. It just shows you that you have to sometimes look a bit deeper to see an item's potential.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Lamb Chops with Lemon Mint Gremolata
8 Lamb rib chops (I made only 4, ribs are expensive!)
2 lemons zested
2 garlic cloves finely chopped (I used minced garlic)
1 large shallot chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
1 tsp virgin olive oil
1) Brush lamb chops with olive oil, add salt and pepper, then set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes
2) Then make gremolata by mixing the lemon zest, shallot, garlic and mint in a small bowl
3) Preheat the broiler with the oven rack 6 inches from the heat source. Place the lamb chops on a rimmed baking sheet and when the broiler is hot, broil the chops for 4 minutes on each side.
4) Turn off the broiler and leave the chops in the oven for 15 minutes
5) Coat the finished chops with the gremolata.
The finished product was good, but I wish I'd left the shallot out completely. I'm not a fan of onion and that taste seemed to overwhelm everything else.