Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pimiento Cheese - Bacon Burgers

Doesn't that look delicious!!
The photo is from Southern Living.

I used that as inspiration to add pimiento cheese and bacon to the basic frozen burgers that I got from Kroger (which are great, by the way, easy to put on the grill frozen and less expensive than Bubba Burgers brand).

I also used some "good" pimiento cheese that I got from the deli/cheese department at Kroger. I think that's important, it wouldn't have been as good with the packaged stuff, you know, Mrs. So & So??

Although extremely tasty, my burger did not look nearly as lovely as the one pictured in Southern Living. What can I say? I am not a food stylist!

And yes, we ate our burgers with Tater Tots!

Sweet & Spicy Cucumbers

recipe adapted from Our Best Bites

1 1/2 pounds cucumber (2 large or 3 medium), halved lengthwise & thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup rice vinegar, seasoned or regular
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup minced red onion

Combine salt, vinegar, water, sugar and red pepper in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add onion. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and stir. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving, stirring a couple of times to be sure all cucumbers are covered.

Notes: I don't find it necessary to peel cucumbers like in the original recipe. They also like to take extra steps to draw out moisture from the cucumbers before adding the vinegar mixture. I skipped that, but I did feel the need to pour off some of the excess liquid the next day. This won't matter if all of it is consumed in the same day, though.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan

 All I can say is:
Thank You Martha Stewart!!!!

This Eggplant Parmesan was so delicious, I no longer have a need for Provino's restaurant!

Her recipe even allowed me to use store-bought pasta sauce. You know I'm always looking for the semi-homemade way to make something easier.


Olive oil, for baking sheets
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup Italian seasoned dry breadcrumbs
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
Salt & pepper
2 large eggplants (2 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
6 cups (48 ounces) store-bought chunky pasta sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 of your largest baking sheets with oil; set aside.
In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs and 3/4 cup Parmesan; season with salt and pepper.
Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets.
Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more. Also, switch top pan to lower rack and vice versa. Remove from oven; raise oven heat to 400 degrees.
Spread 2 cups sauce in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant in dish (may overlap some); cover with 2 cups sauce, then 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella; sprinkle with more Parmesan.
Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Notes: I used Ragu pasta sauce because that is the only brand that seems to have a 'chunky' version. Next time, I will probably use another brand I like and add a drained can of petite diced tomatoes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crafty Housewife - Bulletin Board

I've been spending way too much time on Pinterest!
But, I have actually been inspired by some of the things I'm seeing there.

From my favorite thrift stores, I purchased a bulletin board for 80 cents and got the frame for $2.52. The zebra print fabric came from Jo-Ann for about $2.00. I painted the frame a dark purple and put it all together.

This is a "Rotating" To Do list. Add post it notes when you think of a task. You can place them underneath others if they are low priority or on top if they are more urgent. When the task is complete, just remove the note entirely.

For me, this does not include those really important and ongoing tasks like finding a job or cleaning the house. I use it more for fun things and low priority items.

I think I need to add some bling to clear push pins. Another small project to keep me busy!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Chicken with Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Sauce

I found a reason to use some fresh basil from the garden! And it was delicious!

adapted from recipe found here

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (not the oil packed kind)
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup regular cream
1/4 cup minced fresh basil

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and pepper each side. Cover and cook until done, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan, cover it and set aside.

In the same pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cooking 1-2 minutes, just until soft. Add sun dried tomatoes; stir. With a whisk in hand, add flour and stir. Slowly pour in chicken broth, whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Add cream, still whisking. Continue whisking for 3-4 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Add fresh basil to sun dried tomato sauce and stir. Return chicken to the pan and turn to coat with sauce.

Serve with pasta of your choice.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Drunken Pork Chops

Delicious sauce!!

recipe found here
5-6 pork chops (I used boneless)
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 bottle of beer ( I used Samuel Adams Boston Ale)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 water
Heat oil in large non-stick skillet. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and brown both sides.
While pork chops are browning, combine beer, brown sugar and ketchup in a bowl. Pour sauce mixture over the pork chops and simmer for 40 - 45 minutes.
Remove pork chops and thicken the sauce a bit. In a small cup, combine cornstarch and water. Add to boiling sauce, whisk so no lumps form. Put pork chops back in the thickened sauce, flip to coat.

Suggestion: Serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

Note: Next time, I'll use a thick cut pork chop, just because.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Korean Beef

I tried a new recipe last night, it was quite tasty.

I'm calling it Korean Beef because that's what Lizzie calls it. I think it tastes alot like the typical Mongolian Beef that I've had at Chinese restaurants. The difference is that it uses ground beef. Ground beef makes it so much easier in my opinion. I typically don't do well with beef strips of any kind, I can't seem to stir-fry without making tough, tasteless meat.

recipe from Lizzie Writes

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
salt and pepper
1 pound lean ground beef
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced

Mix soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, red pepper, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown ground beef and garlic in sesame oil. Drain the fat and add soy sauce mixture to the meat. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Add most of the green onions and cook for another minute or so.

Serve over rice and top with additional green onions.


I like to drain the meat by pouring it through a strainer, so I added a little more sesame oil back to the mixture after draining. The taste of the sesame oil adds to the overall flavor.

For ginger, I use Gourmet Garden ginger. It comes already grated, in a tube, refrigerated, in the produce department. Makes my life easier and it keeps for a long time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crafty Housewife - Make-up Chest Makeover

 I've never liked to stand at the bathroom mirror to do my make-up. I've had a desk with a lighted and magnified make-up mirror since I was a teenager. I'm really thrown off when I have to stand to do make-up at a hotel or anywhere besides home. Plus, it's just hard to see since I'm used to the magnification.
Anyway, I have this little chest that I use to store make-up and hair accessories. It sits on the desk I use as a vanity in my office. Actually, the room is half office and half "make-up room".

The Before:

I got some inspiration from this little chest that was for sale on Etsy (I saw it on Pinterest).

So, I found a bird stencil on the web (I use Google images all the time for this kind of search), traced in on to the chest, painted it black. I wanted the look of antique glass knobs for the drawer pulls. I found the perfect buttons at Jo-Ann.

The After:

What do you think?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

All About Dexter

No, not Dexter the serial killer.
But, our Dexter is named after that awesome guy, who only kills those that deserve it......

I have always said that I would only get pets from rescue/adoption organizations. Well, I lied.

Sheldon, the cat we adopted over a year ago, is apparently part Maine Coon. Eddie really fell in love with the breed and I've always wanted an orange cat. So, Eddie started researching.... There's a breeder just about an hour away from us, he tells me. Actually, he had already reserved this little guy when he decided to tell me about it.

So we took a little trip to meet him. How could I resist?

Here he is at about 7 weeks old, still at the breeder. Also pictured with one of his siblings.

We brought him home when he was ten weeks old.

Sweet ball of fur.

Dexter and Sheldon became close friends within two days. They get along great, playing most of the day.

And here they are hanging out with me in my office. Dexter is almost 4 months old and Sheldon is about 20 months old.

Oh, and since Dexter is a full breed Maine Coon, he has been registed and his full name is
Big Meow Dexter Morgan Hood.
Big Meow (the breeder)
Dexter Morgan (tv serial killer)
Hood (our last name)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Random Things......

So, I thought I'd show you a few random things from the last few months that I haven't been here......

I've made more skeleton hand oven mitts to give as gifts, but this time they have a little bling! A "diamond" ring!

This is a little joke I played on Eddie. He had been eating eggs every day for a week. Once I drew the faces on all the eggs, he didn't eat an egg for over a week. Seemed like I was waiting forever to get the reaction I was looking for!

You know I love the thrift stores and I'm a University of Georgia graduate.... I couldn't resist buying this toy for a dollar. The outside zips up around the bulldog to form a football.

A luna moth on my deck.

Our new Maine Coon kitten, Dexter. In this picture, he was four weeks old. He's now almost 4 months old. You know I will have a post dedicated just to him in the near future. He is so much fun!!

Eddie built these cool vertical shelves for me to go in my office. I got the idea for them here.

See you again soon!

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Graduated!

After about three years in school, including two years in the Radiologic Technology program, I have graduated. I am currently searching for a job and may have a little free time to blog again.

See you soon!