Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lovin the Bounty- Fresh Produce CO-OP

My friend Joleen invited me to join her produce co-op.  Let me just say I JUMPED at the chance to join!  I was so excited to get fresh fruits and vegetables that I just couldn't wait for the next opportunity.  Well this is the 2nd week.  The first week I got lots of things like oranges, avocados, onions, sweet potatoes and blackberries!  That wasn't a complete list but some of the items we didn't get this time.  I am VERY grateful for variety!!  Pictured below is one of the boxes of items.

All of the pictures are the actual food I received.  Life is like a bowl of cherries and I am not in the pits!  Ha! Ha!  Go Erma!  Poor girl she was always in the pits.  These are so sweet and yummy!

Grapes!! I got some last time and they were gone in no time!!  My kids LOVE grapes! Kyle really loves the green best ( I am sure it is because it is his favorite color and they are more sour) but we love these red ones!

Broccoli!!  Another favorite of ours!  Yes, my kids LOVE broccoli too!
Isn't it a beautiful green color?  This is some right after I blanched them for the freezer.

Romaine Lettuce!!  Oh yeah!  I eat one to two salads a day so I really like the fresh lettuce!  I must be a rabbit at heart!

I have a large pot of tomatoes stewing down to make homemade sauce right now!  It smells wonderful.  Can you smell it??  Mmmm....     The last picture below is Kyra's photography skills at work.  I have told her not to play with her food but... well sometimes you just gotta!

Remember to support you local farmers and have a bountiful dinner table too!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Do not play with your are making these hot dogs!

I started out with Nathan's hot dogs which is a favorite in our house.

I made 3 different styles although there were more varieties I could have made I am usually the only one who eats the toppings and I didn't want to risk wasting food.  (A big no-no in our house!!)  I did not need to worry as both the Tween and Teen ate all three dogs (and more!)
So who wants a plain dog?  Not me but hey... sometimes that is delicious too.  So for you plain Jane's out there, I took this picture for you!

The next hot dog I did was a re-creation of the best hot dog I ever put in my mouth!  On a trip back from Florida, detouring through different cities, my mom and I stopped at a place called Jack's Cosmic Dogs in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.  Their specialty was a Cosmic Dog.  Now I will not tell you that mine even came close, but when I saw that Harris Teeter had a Blue Cheese Slaw I started salivating at the counter.  I must have it.  A true Cosmic dog has Sweet potato mustard as well and that is what really sets their dog apart.  In any case.  Here is my version Chili and Blue Cheese Slaw.  If you are in Charleston area...Jack's has 3 locations now so try them out.  You will not be disappointed!

My next hot dog I was unsure of trying.  I am a fan of all the ingredients, but mix them together?  Well this one ended up being my personal favorite!   Avocado and Greek Yogurt hot dog!  Might be my favorite since I am gobbling up Avocado's lately!  Love them!!  This was so good I am having it for lunch today!  My bun was not the best for this picture as it was split on the side but the yogurt held it together as I munching away.

This last hot dog started this hot dog theme.  It is by far the most unusual.  I would say it is a kid's hot dog except that in Ohio we love a three-way and a coney from Skyline so why not mix them!   Well I didn't really mix them since I didn't put onions, beans, and cheese on it but you could and it would be so tasty!   A Spaghetti hot dog!

I just added chili.  We could of added cheese but wanted you to see the hot dogs with the spaghetti in the dogs.  Now below you will see them on a plate.  You could add regular Spaghetti sauce and have them instead of meatballs or the sauce on the bun instead of chili.  Anyway you fashion them they are delicious!

Now I know the next question you have is "How did you do that?"   Of course I will tell you it is so simple your children can make dinner for you!   Just start with the raw hot dog and cut it into bite size pieces as shown below.

At this point I was having so much fun I laid the camera down and forgot to take another picture!!   So here are the final instructions.  I am sure you can do it without a picture.  Take dry spaghetti noodles and stick them through the pieces.  Then put them into a pot of boiling water and cook as you would for regular noodles.   (5-7 minutes)   Use tongs to remove and add sauce/chili/hot dog bun....etc.

**Tip**  Most people use bread if they are out of buns.  If you want to save calories or watching your carb intake then try sandwich thins for your bun.  They work well and you do not miss all the bread!

I served fresh fruit with our hot dogs.  Yes, we had to sing that "fruit salad song"  which will now be in my head for the second day in a row!   Yummy Yummy!

All the hot dogs were grilled on a George Foreman with the exception of the Spaghetti ones!  Now if your weather is right... get outside and cook your dogs.  They will take much better!

I hope you enjoyed these hot dog toppings and will try them!  What are your favorite toppings?


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Zuppa Tuscana Soup well sort of...

 This soup is my husband Michael's favorite 
and I knew that I was going to have to try to make it.  Since I do not work for Olive Garden nor do I have their recipe I thought this might be difficult to do.  However...

It actually was pretty easy to make.  Below you will find the recipe.  The family enjoyed it so much they had seconds after scouts tonight!

1 lb Italian Sausage (I suggest mixing hot and mild)
5-7 slices of bacon
5 medium russet potatoes 
2 c kale, chopped
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 qt water 
2 cans of chicken broth
1/2 large onion
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper 

Cook your sausage and bacon.  You can do it in a pan, oven or microwave.  Crumble into small pieces.  Notice I said "small" here.  I did not separate mine well and had large chunks.

 Now you can slice your potatoes.  I used a food processor.  You will want them between 1/8" and 1/4".   Just make sure they are all around the same size so that they will cook evenly.

Dice up the onion and mince the garlic.  throw the potatoes, onion, garlic, chicken broth and water into a large pot on medium heat until the potatoes are cooked through.

You want to cut up your Kale into bite sized pieces.  Again... here is where I went wrong.  I know nothing about Kale.  Never cooked with it before.  I assumed it would soften and separate a bit but it does not.  It holds up well is soups with the heat so make sure your pieces are truly bite sized!

Add the sausage, bacon, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.

The potatoes will start to break up about this time.  That is OK.  That's what you want them to do!

Turn the heat to low and add in the kale and heavy cream.  Let the soup heat through and serve.  Parmesan cheese is a wonderful addition.  I also served mine with Stone Ground Wheat bread that I made.  You could use lots of different breads or rolls for this soup.  It is a perfect soup for dipping!

I let my soup simmer all afternoon and it was wonderful at dinner.  In fact we ate an hour earlier because the house smelled so good.  I hope your family enjoys it as well as mine did!

I would love to have new followers!  If you follow me, I will follow you!


Monday, January 9, 2012

So Simple Homemade Chicken Pot Pie!

I have to say I was a little unsure I could ever make Homemade Chicken Pot Pie.  I really love it too!  Well as I was learning about "Blog Parties" I ran across this recipe.  Now I would give back credit if I knew who posted it but I have to be honest.  I didn't save the recipe and Googled it using the ingredients I remembered.  
I really loved the recipe so I am sharing it with you!  Here are the instructions:

1.  Cut up 2 cooked Chicken Breasts  

I boiled mine.  So easy.

My package came with three.   For the third breast you can add a little mayo and some relish and have a chicken salad sandwich while your pot pie cooks.  Trust me you will need it!

Next add in one can of Cream of Chicken soup, 1/2 cup of milk, and Veggies.
I used frozen veggies.  I recommend that you cook the veggies before adding them or you will have cold filling.  Mix it up.  

Next grab those pre-made pie shells.  I prefer the Pillsbury rolled pie crusts.  They are flaky and taste homemade to me!

 You will now add the filling to the pie shell.  

Cover it with the second pie shell.  Pillsbury comes with two in the box.  Make sure you poke your holes in it.  I like to use the letter K since my children have K names.  (This was WAY before Kardashian Kraziness!!)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the pie is brown.  

While it is cooking make sure you grab that sandwich.  This pie smells so good you will be starving when it comes out of the oven!

The girls couldn't quite wait for it to set all the way but it was sooo good regardless!
I do hope that you enjoy this recipe!  I am looking for new followers.  If you follow me, I will follow you!

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year's Eve Wedding

My cousin got married this past New Year's Eve.  I thought it was a beautiful wedding on the balcony of the Bank Of America Building in Charlotte.  It is the tall one in the center.

They had AMAZING weather in DECEMBER!  

There was a wonderful dinner at Maggiano's.  Let's just say no one went away hungry!

They danced for us.  Then had us boogieing to some great songs all night!

The colors for the wedding were UK blue.  Imagine that!  For those that know this couple there was no other color.  It is a beautiful winter wedding color too!  In our goodie bags at the hotel and on the table at the reception were these perfect little chocolate treats.  I think I have a new New Year's Eve tradition!

Since this was the 2nd Baney wedding this year I am re-using my Congratulations photo. 

Here is to you Mr. and Mrs. Baney

Thank you for a wonderful weekend.  May your New Year be full of wonderful wedded bliss!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Starbella Scarf Surprise!!!

I started knitting again in November when my mom came to visit.  I decided I wanted to make gifts this year.  I saw some yarn in a specialty yarn shop and fell in love.  I had to have this yarn!  Well at $12 a skein it was out of my price budget for Christmas gifts.  So of course I went on the internet!  I found out that AC Moore carried it and so I went to buy some.  When I arrived at the store they had one skein.  The lady told me that they sell out within hours of getting the yarn!  What??  You can't be serious, I thought.  She showed me some "similar" yarn and I bought 3 skeins of that also.  Off I went to knit.

 I knitted all 4 skeins and loved the Starbella the best.  This was my luck as it was the yarn that they cannot keep in stock!  However, I always do seem to find a way to get things and called one day and they held all the skeins of yarn I needed to make 8 scarves!!

I made scarves for my Mom, Mother in Law, Grandmother, Sister, 2 Sisters in Law, and my Niece!  Poor Kyra.  After knitting all of those I was kinda tired of looking at them.  Her skein was going to have to wait. 
After my mom opened her gift she was excited about the yarn since she had never seen it.  Again as luck would have it I had a skein she could knit and then Kyra would have her scarf too!  Imagine my surprise when I found these pictures on the camera!  I hope you enjoy her fashion show as much as I did!

So for those that received the scarves this year.  I really enjoyed making them for you.
  Mom, if you couldn't tell.  Kyra enjoyed her scarf too!

I would love new followers and I will follow you too!

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