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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Let's Dish

Before I talk about my vacation, let's have some Strawberry Ice Cream Bread (recipe courtesy of the Hungry Housewife) with cream cheese and catch up on the happenings of the past week and a half while I was gone.  

I’d like to give a shout out to some fantastic bloggers whose giveaways I’ve recently won.  Don’t you find bloggers to be amazingly generous people?

If you haven’t met Cindy, you are truly missing out on a kind, generous, and talented soul.  Cindy is a mixed media artist with an incomparable eye for detail.  A visit to her blog, magazine, or Etsy shop is refreshing and soothing.

She resides in Louisiana with her husband.  Check out these two exceptional pieces Cindy recently sent me.
Photos by Cindy
Michael @ Designs by Gollum

Michael Lee West hosts the weekly Foodie Friday meme on her blog, Designs by Gollum.  She lives in Tennessee with her husband.
Recently, Michael gave away several copies of The Welcome Home Garden Club, by Lori Wilde.  I was one of her lucky winners.  I am currently reading the book and will write my first review shortly. 
Michael is also the author of Gone with a Handsomer Man.  I received a copy from her today and can't wait to start reading. 

Most of you are friends with Lynn.  If you are new to blogging and want to visit a fun blog, visit Lynn.  Lynn is a collector of all things swine.  Her blog mascot is Earl the pig.  He is always up to something and is liable to pop up just about anywhere.

Lynn hosts a monthly Celebrity Cook Along meme on the 15th of each month.  May’s celebrity chef is everyone’s favorite southern belle, Paula Deen.  Last month, Lynn coupled the Celebrity Cook Along with celebrity chef, Ree Drummond aka. The Pioneer Woman with a blog giveaway.  I was the lucky winner and won this wonderful collection of goodies.  She also included a pig key-chain that oinks when you press a button on its head.  I need to rig it to my fridge!       
Photo by Lynn
Leslie @ The Hungry Housewife

Leslie has a food blog with a comedic twist.  Her blog is so fun to visit and the food is AMAZING!  She is witty, charming, and a very talented home cook.  Leslie lives in Florida with her husband and two children.  She appears on Home Shopping Network demonstrating Nordic Ware.
I won an autographed copy of Rocco Dispirito’s book, Now Eat This! Diet.  The book includes a food plan, exercise plan plus 75 recipes.  I will be trying some of the recipes once I am settled back into a routine from vacation.  

In keeping with the spirit of dieting….or not, here's the recipe for ice cream bread.  YUM!      

Ice Cream Bread

2 Cups Ice Cream, softened (any flavor)
1 1/2 Cups Self-rising Flour

Preheat oven to 350*. 
Spray and flour a 8 x 4 loaf pan, or line it with parchment paper.  My pan is 9x4 and the loaf was a little shallow.  

In a medium bowl mix the ice cream and flour together until just combined.  Scoop into the loaf and and smooth out.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from the pan and allow to cool.

Alphabe Thursday: B is for Bubbles

Hello Friends!  

It's Thursday, which means it is time for Alphabe Thursday at Jenny Matlock's blog.  This week we are writing posts about the letter B.  Please visit Jenny's blog to enjoy other B posts.  
B is for Bubbles.  My cousin Melanie's new baby hedgehog she received for Christmas.
Isn't she adorable?  She has the sweetest little face.  
When she gets scared, she hisses in an attempt to ward off the danger.  
I did not hold her, but I did pet her.  Her quills feel like a brush, but I imagine they are quite painful if she pokes you.     

Bubbles is hopping over to join Lucy's Pet Partay at Debbiedoos Blogging and Blabbing.  


Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Hello Friends.

Did you have a wonderful Easter?  

If you haven't figured it out yet, I spent the holiday in sunny and warm Fort Pierce,  Florida.  I have a lot to share with you; but for now, here's a preview.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gone With a Handsomer Man Publishing Party: Lavender Shortbread

You are invited to join me at Michael Lee West's blog, Designs by Gollum, to celebrate the publishing of  her new book, Gone with a Handsomer Man.
Most of you know Michael and frequent her Friday party, Foodie Fridays, where we gather together to try new recipes.  What you may not know about Michelle is she has written six previous books!  Michael lives on a farm in Lebanon, Tennessee with her husband.  

Gone with a Handsomer Man:  Teeny Templeton believes that her life is finally on track. She’s getting married, she’s baking her own wedding cake, and she’s leaving her troubled past behind. And then?  Her fiance us found dead and all fingers point to Teeny. Her only hope is through an old boyfriend-turned-lawyer, the guy who broke her heart a decade ago. But dredging up the past brings more than skeletons out of the closet, and Teeny doesn’t know who she can trust. With evidence mounting and the heat turning up, Teeny must also figure out where to live, how to support herself, how to clear her name, and how to protect her heart. 

Gone with a Handsomer Man is fun, funny, and fabulous!”---Janet Evanovich
Today, I am taking one of Teeny's favorite desserts to the publishing party: Lavender Shortbread.

I used a recipe I found online, which called for the cookies to be dusted with Lavender Sugar.     

Lavender Sugar 
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon Dried Lavender

Place sugar and lavender in a food processor or blender.  Process until they make a fine texture.

To dye the sugar
Preheat the oven to 325*; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix sugar with a drop or two of liquid food coloring (red and blue).  Stir the sugar to mix the colors.  I was unable to find liquid food coloring and tried using gel.  As you can see, the sugar turned purple, but there are red and blue flecks.  

Spread the colored sugar on the lined pan and place in the oven for 2-3 minutes.  Keep an eye on the sugar as it will easily burn.  

After baking, sieve the sugar to remove and clumps.  Store in a jar at room temperature.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies
1/4 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons of Lavender Sugar, divided
1/2 Cup Softened Butter
1 Cup All-purpose Flour
3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Preheat oven to 325*; line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream together the butter and 1/4 cup Lavender Sugar.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt.  Stir the dry ingredients into the creamed sugar.

Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls.  Place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.  Flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass; sprinkle with additional Lavender Sugar.

Bake cookies for 17 minutes.  Cool completely on the baking sheet before removing.  Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.   

Shortbread was the most 
English dessert I could think of.  
Plus, lavender would defuse the 
cat-fight that was brewing. 
                                              Teeny Templeton
                                                                    Gone with a Handsomer Man


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Time Out for an Announcement!

I ran away from home!

I promise I'll be back, but not for several days.  Some of you are accomplices and know where I am.  It had to be a secret because it was a surprise for others.  

I'll tell you all about it when I get back, but for are some clues.

Check back on Friday for a special recipe honoring Michael Lee West's new book Gone with a Handsomer Man.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cranberry Orange Scones

Happy Friday!

If it's Friday, it must be time for Foodie Friday over at Designs by Gollum.  Today, I am sharing Cranberry Orange Scones.  This is an Ina Garten recipe and it is delightful.  
Let's Cook!

Cranberry Orange Scones
4 Cups plus 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour, divided
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Grated Orange Zest
3/4 Pound Cold Unsalted Butter, diced
4 Extra-large Eggs, lightly beaten
1 Cup Cold Heavy Cream
1 Cup Dried Cranberries
1 Egg beaten with 2 Tablespoons of Milk or Water, for egg wash
1/2 Cup Confectioners' Sugar
4 Teaspoons Orange Juice, freshly sqeezed

Preheat oven to 400* F. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour with 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest.  Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas.  Combine the eggs and cream.  With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the liquid to the dry ingredients.  Mix until just blended.  The dough will look lumpy.  Combine the dried cranberries with 1/4 cup flour, add to the dough and mix on low speed until blended. 

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball.  Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4 inch thick.  You should see bits of butter throughout the dough.  Cut scones using a cookie/biscuit cutter or a knife.  I used a knife.  Place the scones on a parchment lined baking sheet.  

Brush the scones with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the inside is fully baked.  The scones will be firm to the touch.  Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioner's sugar and orange juice, drizzle over the cooled scones. 
I enjoyed my scone with Orange Spice Tea.  YUM!
Next Foodie Friday join me at Michelle's for the beginning of the party to celebrate the publishing of Gone with a Handsomer Man.  You won't want to miss the great food and festivities.  


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Photo Feature Friday: Parasurfing


Yes, I'm posting twice today, but who's counting?

Tricia at A Rosy Note is hosting a new meme, Photo Feature Friday.  The idea is to post some of your best photography and share any photography or editing tips you may have.  I look forward to learning from those who participate.  Be sure to stop over for some tips and to enjoy some beautiful photography.  Better yet, throw a post together and link up.  Click on the button to visit this week's offerings.    

This week I am sharing this photo of a para-surfer.  I took this picture while vacationing in Florida.  The only editing I did was to crop it and add a frame.  I like the way it captures the action and the water's reaction to the surfer's interruption of its flow.


Celebrity Cook-Along: Ree Drummond aka Pioneer Woman

Howdy Partners!  I'm Cowboy Carl.
Cowboy Carl
It's April 15, which means it is time to hop over to Lynn's blog, Happier Than a Pig In Mud, for her monthly celebrity cook-along.  Ya'll know Lynn don't cha?  If you don't, you must be new 'round these parts.  Skidattle on over an' visit her a spell.  Ya'll be glad ya done did.  
OK, enough of the stereotypical cowboy talk.
April's celebrity chef is Ree Drummond, aka Pioneer Woman.  You can read about Ree's recent book signing in Buckeye Country HERE.   
Stockyards: Fort Worth, Texas

Ree is certainly used to cooking for the modern day cowboys (Now you're talkin') on her Oklahoma ranch.  She specializes in flavorful recipes that pack a punch.  Today I am offering a cowboy approved recipe for Mini Meatball Sandwiches.  These sliders are ideal for cowboys of all sizes. 
Let's cook!

Pioneer Woman Mini Meatball Sandwiches
1 Pound Ground Chuck or Ground Beef
1/2 Cup Panko or Regular Plain Bread Crumbs
1 Clove Garlic, chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
1/2 Cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Medium Onion, diced
1 Jar (large) Marinara Sauce
12 Dinner Rolls (or Slider Rolls)
4 Slices Provolone Cheese, cut into 4 wedges each

Mix meat with bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper and milk.  Knead together with hands.  Roll into heaping tablespoon-sized balls.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and cook for one minute.  Add meatballs between the onions and brown for one minute.  You may need to brown the meatballs in batches depending on the size of your skillet.  

Pour in jar of marinara; shake pan gently to mix.  Put on lid and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. 
When ready to serve, cut each dinner roll in half.  Place a wedge of Provolone on the top and bottom of each roll.  Spoon a meatball with the sauce onto the bottom bun; top with top bun.  The meatball melts the cheese just right.  YUM!

Serve immediately...or after photos. 
These sliders were very tender and delicious.  Typically, if we have meatball sandwiches, I place the meatballs in a sub roll.  I enjoyed this version because of the bread to meatball to cheese ratios.  These are much easier for the small hands of your younger cowpokes, too.  This recipe is a keeper.   


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Alphabe Thursday: F is for Flowers

I am joining Jenny Matlock for Alphabe Thursday.  This week, Jenny is allowing us to use any letter we want.  I chose F for Flowers.

The warmer temperatures, longer days, and sunnier skies will soon bring gorgeous color to the landscape.  


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Paradise Comes to Ohio

Hello Friends.

We've been waiting for it for months....
 while enduring snow...
 and dreary skies.

Finally, Sunday was sunny, warm, and breezy. 

I will be linking this to Outdoor Wednesday and Watery Wednesday.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Foliage: One Way or Another

Happy Spring!

I know I have been lamenting about the lack of spring foliage and sunshine lately. Spring is very late this year in the Buckeye State.

I decided I’d fool Mother Nature and make my own spring garden indoors. I know…I know….It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, but my patience (Mo) has run out. What more could she do to me?

Don’t answer that!

Several weeks ago, Jenny wrote about the wreath tutorial she saw on Patti Schaffer’s blog. Because I always do what Miss Jenny instructs me to, I hopped right over and read Patti’s post.
The following weekend, I went to JoAnn and purchased my supplies. This is MY kind of craft project because it takes less than an hour to complete. I’m all about instant gratification.
I enjoyed making this one so much I made one for my sister-in-law and a smaller one for work.

Take THAT Mother Nature!


I will be linking this to Blue Mondays.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Big Sister: Makayla

Hello Friends.

Saturday I went to a baby shower for my nephew's wife, Amanda.  Curt and Amanda will welcome their second daughter, Charlotte, next month.  Their older daughter, Makayla, is 7.  

I wanted to do something special for Makayla as to make sure she didn't feel left out.  Makayla is a girlie girl so pink was definitely going to come into play.   

Shopping online didn't yield many ideas; although, I did order her a disposable camera and a photo album that said I'm the Big Sister. The next move was to go to Hobby Lobby and JoAnn Fabrics, buy some supplies and try to put something cute together for her.  The results?  A Big Sister tote bag for her to take to the hospital. 
I filled the bag with the camera and album, art supplies, Jelly Bellys, and a sports bottle.  She loved it! 

Here, Amanda and Makayla share a funny moment.  I also want to share the Diaper Cake my sister-in-law, Becki, made with my nephew, Jason's wife and sister-in-law: Amy and Jennifer. 


I will be linking this to Mosaic Monday.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ham and Cheese Quiche with Potato Crust


Did you have a fantastic week?  Has spring weather visited your area yet?  

Today I am sharing a recipe, with Foodie Friday, that is ideal for the weekend.  It is a ham and cheese quiche in a potato crust.  You could certainly serve this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  

Let's cook!
4 Cups Shredded Uncooked Potatoes 
1/2 Onion, chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 Cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper

In a large bowl, combine the crust ingredients.  Press the mixture into a well-greased (I use cooking spray) 10" deep dish pie plate.  Bake at 400* for 20 minutes.

1 1/2 Cups Shreded Colby Jack Cheese, divided
1/2 Onion, chopped
1 1/2 Cups Cooked Ham, cubed
8 Ounces Fresh Mushrooms or 1 Jar
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 Cup Half and Half
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
Dash Nutmeg

Remove crust from oven.  Reduce heat to 350*.  To the crust, layer 1 cup of cheese, onion, ham, and mushrooms.  In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, salt and nutmeg; pour over the mushrooms.  Sprinkle with paprika. 

Bake for 40-60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Mine took a little over an hour.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  This recipe yields 8 generous helpings.  
You can change up the ingredients based on your family's tastes.  Enjoy!