Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's Cooking: Red Potato Casserole


-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.

This recipe was delicious, but it took twice the time listed to cook. I also screwed up, because I forgot to quarter the potatoes before I coated them in the cheese and dressing. So cutting them up was much more difficult than it needed to be. They were great warmed up even 5 days later. So if you made the casserole at the beginning of the week you could use it as a side a couple times.

Photos by moi.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What's Cooking: Orange Julius

For Monday night football games, Flannel Man's family used to make a pitcher of Orange Julius and a big bowl of popcorn. I, on the other hand, had never had an orange julius. So we got out our blender and whipped up the delicious drink using this recipe...


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!

Photos by moi.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What's Cooking: Baked Acorn Squash

My sister gave me some yellow acorn squash the other day and I had no idea how to cook it. So yay for google and millions of recipes at your fingertips. Here's the one I used...


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.

I laid the halved squash in the pan and after 30 minutes in the oven I turned it and added the rest of the ingredients.

The butter and brown sugar melted beautifully. After a total of 1 hour in the oven, the squash was very tender. The hardest part was scrapping it out of the shell without burning myself or ripping the shell apart.

It created a mashed potato-like mush that tasted pretty good. In the end I'd say I'm glad I tried it, but it was way too much work for something we didn't absolutely love.

Photos by moi.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What's Cooking: King Crab Legs

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.

Photos by moi.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dutch Ovens

I have a confession. When Flannel Man and I got married I registered for one of Martha Stewart's dutch ovens at Macy's. I thought it was gorgeous, a deep blue color, coated with a heavy enamel, just perfect.

Perfect for what though? I haven't actually cooked a single thing in it! I'm at a complete loss of what to use it for, so I haven't actually cooked anything in it yet. Flannel Man is currently using it to store his secret stash of jolly ranchers, but I'm pretty sure that's not its intended purpose.

I found this site, which is full of dutch over recipes and I'm hoping to try one this week. Let me know if you guys have any great tips for dutch oven recipes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

DIY : Citronella Candle

Flannel Man and I love to sit out on our back porch when the weather's nice and we've been taking a Citronella Candle out to keep the bugs away. Recently our little candle's wick burned all the way down and we couldn't use it anymore.

Flannel Man came up with the brilliant idea to take a strip of an old T-shirt (about 1 inch wide and 3 inches long) and tie a big knot in it. Then he set it in the crater created by the old wick. Then he used a lighter with a long neck to melt the wax around the base of the wick and voila!

So far our new wick has worked perfectly! We've been using it for a few weeks and it burns brighter and longer than a regular wick. It's going to at least double the life of the candle.

Photos by moi.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

DIY: Mirror

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

DIY Lamp

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


Flannel Man told me about a new iPhone app that's fantastic. I don't know about you guys, but my wallet is full of membership cards. Some are for restaurants I rarely go to, others are for grocery stores or pharmacies. They add up fast and my wallet has been needing to go on a diet because of them.

CardStar is the perfect solution! It's a free app (woo hoo!) and it allows you to put in all of the membership numbers listed on your cards. Then it creates individual barcodes that can be scanned, directly from your phone, for each card. Above is an example of how my CVS card looks on the iPhone screen.

Above is a picture of the screen that lists the cards I've put in. Yesterday I tried my CVS barcode and it worked perfectly, but the one for my library card didn't work. If you decide to use this I'd keep all of your membership cards with you until you have a chance to try out the phone barcode version. Still, pretty helpful even if it only allows you to get rid of a few of the cards!

Photos by moi.