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Spaghetti with Garlic Twists

Recipe adapted from my parents.

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cans of tomato sauce
1 tbsp of tomato paste
1 bay leaf
basil to taste
oregano to taste
thyme to taste
salt to taste
pepper to taste
olive oil

Brown ground beef, then drain. Using the same pan, sautee onions, bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Once onions are transparent and softened, add beef back to pan. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, bay leaf, basil, oregano, and thyme. Bring sauce to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours to let flavors cook together. Serve over your favorite pasta (wheat is our new favorite)!

Garlic Twists

1 package of frozen puff pastry dough
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp garlic powder
grated parmesan cheese

Preaheat oven to 400.

Melt butter in small bowl, then add garlic powder and mix together.

Thaw 1 sheet of pastry dough. Lay flat on cutting board and slice width-wise into 9 strips. Coat each strip with garlic butter mixture using a basting brush. Turn strips over and the coat opposite side. Twist strips lengthwise (about 2 twists per strip) and arrange on a baking sheet. Sprinkle grated parmesan over the strips. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, or until flaky and brown.

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Bake packaged Red Velvet Cake following the instructions on the box. I followed the Bundt cake instructions for my Bundt pan. (I know, this is cheating... oh well!)

Cream Cheese Icing

2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In a bowl, mix cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Slowly add confectioners sugar, mixing well and removing all lumps. Add vanilla until thoroughly incorporated.

Once cake is cooled, begin adding icing!


These are a few of my favorite things...

Number : 2
Letter : A
Color : Red
Day : Saturday
Month : August
Drink : sweet iced tea
Candy : Reeses Pieces
Ice Cream : mint chocolate chip
Season : Fall
Movie : A League of Their Own
Animal : Our Siberian Husky, Skye
Item of Clothing : perfect fitting jeans
Word : miscellaneous
Place : home
Holiday : Christmas
Smell : fresh cut grass
Shoes : kitten heels
Gum : Orbit Sweet Mint
Nail polish color : OPI Royal Flush Blush
School subject : art
Snack : apples and peanut butter
Candy bar : Baby Ruth
Food to cook : comfort food
Soda : Barq's Root Beer
Hobby : card making
Flower : calla lily
Tree : magnolia or dogwood
Fruit : strawberry
Vegetable : bell pepper
Spice : cinnamon
Quote : "You know it's a good recipe if it starts with a stick of butter." - Paula Deen

My Skye-Blue Boy!

Skye just LOVES his new backyard!

And snow, of course!

Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

Serves 2

1 can tomato sauce
1 can chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a small sauce pan, bring tomato sauce and chicken broth to a boil. Slowly whisk in the heavy cream and turn heat to low. Simmer over low for 15 minutes.

Top with basil (fresh or dried) and serve with grilled cheese sandwiches!

This recipe is great in the winter or the summer (with fresh basil)!

Stationery Favorites from 2007

As I organized my office/craft room, I reminisced about 2007! Here are some of my favorite 2007 stationery designs. 2008 projects are already in the works, so stay tuned!

We live in the Windy City?

We were relaxing on Sunday afternoon and completing our taxes, when the wind picked up, bringing in a bitter cold front. While sitting in the breakfast nook, I saw something black fly through the air and hit the ground. Of course... our roof was blowing away... what else could it be!?! And the search began for our homeowners insurance paper work and to finish the taxes to get the refund because now we'll need it sooner than we thought... ugh!

on the menu... coming soon

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese
Recipe by Paula Deen.

Stuffed Bell Peppers
Recipe from The Joy of Cooking.

Pumpkin Pasta with Parmesan Cheese
Recipe by Rachel Ray.

Buffalo Chicken Dip (aka Crack Dip)
Recipe courtesy of the wonderful Nesties.

Japanese Fried Rice with White Sauce and Ginger Sauce
Recipes from various sources.

Homemade Spaghetti with Garlic Twists
Recipe adapted from Momma + Daddy.

Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

Recipe adapted from The Joy of Cooking.

2.5 lbs tart apples (granny smith used)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 tbsp (1 stick) of unsalted butter, cold

Slice apples (peel first if desired) into 1-inch chunks. Spread apples evenly into a 9×13 casserole. Combine the next five dry ingredients in a bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Scatter the mixture evenly over the apples. Tap the dish a few times to settle in the crumbs. Bake at 375 for 50-55 minutes, or until top is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced. Serve warm with Vanilla Ice Cream.

This recipe is a classic and would be perfect in the Fall with freshly picked apples.

Bacon Wrapped Little Smokies with Brown Sugar

1 package Little Smokies (approx 35 per pkg)
12 slices thin sliced bacon
1-2 cups brown sugar
36 toothpicks

Cut the bacon slices into thirds crosswise. Wrap each small strip around a Little Smokie and secure the bacon with a toothpick. Lay the wrapped smokies in a 8 x 13 casserole dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar as desired. Bake at 350 for 20-40 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy. serve with your choice of biscuits, croissants, or any other breakfast items.

These were delish! Great for breakfast or an appetizer!

Beef Tips with Bloody Mary Dipping Sauce

Recipe by Rachel Ray.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup vodka
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1 cup tomato sauce
1 rounded tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 1/3 pounds beef sirloin cut into large bite-sized pieces
steak seasoning blend or coarse salt and black pepper

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and onions and saute 5 minutes. Add vodka and reduce by half. Add worcestershire, hot sauce, tomato sauce and horseradish. Stir to combine the dipping sauce and return the sauce to a bubble. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat non stick skillet over high heat. Coat meat bites lightly in oil. Season with steak seasoning blend or salt and pepper, to taste. Cooke the meat until carmelized all over, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer dipping sauce to a small dish and place at the center of a serving platter. Surround the dip with meat bites and serve.
This recipe was very yummy!

Irises In February

This will be our first Spring in our new house, and the first signs are starting to come out of the ground. First count of the bulbs sprouting is 53. Here's to hoping that they survive the remaining cold weather coming our way!

Can you guess what season this photo was taken? If you guessed Fall, you would be wrong! I took this today, February 9th. Those Oak leaves are holding tight! I just love our sunny breakfast nook with the bay window. It faces South, so it gets morning, afternoon, and evening sun! It is one of my favorite places to hang out!

Winter view of our Crabapple tree... it will be georgeous in Spring! We plan to take a few of the lower limbs off so that it will be easier for Matt to mow. I am really looking forward to seeing the seasonal changes throughout our yard.

Gotta love the dry brown bushy things ... they are ridiculously overgrown Mums. Yes, you heard me correctly, Mums!! We plan on trimming tose to the ground. Stay tuned for many yard projects to come...

Kitchen Soffit (before + after)

Before :: we painted only the inside of the soffit for a bit of accent color

After :: we coutinued the blue by painting the entire soffit, with the intention of making it more of an architectural element in the room. Color is Aqua Smoke by Olympic.

Chicken Pot Pie

Recipe by Paula Deen.

2 cups chicken, cubed
seasoned salt and pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart heavy cream
1/4 cup chicken base
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 cup yellow onion, minced
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup frozen carrots
pinch of grated nutmeg
2 Pillsbury pie crusts, refrigerator section

Heat oil over medium heat. Add cubed chicken. Season with pepper and seasoned salt. Cook through.

In a small pan, warm frozen peas and carrots following package directions.

In a large sauce pan, melt butter. Slowly add flour, whisking until the consistency of peanut butter, but not brown like a roux. Slowly add heavy cream and continue to stir. Add chicken base, garlic, and onion and stir until thickened. Add peas, carrots, nutmeg, and chicken. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, in a round glass pie pan, lay out one sheet of pie crust. Tear off excess crust to fit pan. Warm in the oven at 400 for about 10 minutes. Fill pie crust with filling. Top with second sheet, tear off excess, and crimp edges of crust. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes, or until top crust is brown.
This recipe is always a favorite in our house!

Spicy Cheese Dip with Tortillas

1 16 oz bag of cheddar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup diced jalapenos
1/4 cup anaheim peppers
1/4 cup diced onions

Melt cheese and milk in the double boiler. Add vegetables and let simmer approximately 10 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips and sour cream!

This recipe is super easy, and I like the addition of the Anaheim Peppers. They are sweet and spicy at the same time, and give it a nice crunch! In the future, I may add black beans to the recipe for a different texture... just a thought! Enjoy!!