Thursday, February 28, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
I started by baking an eight inch two layer white cake. On top the first layer I spread out lemon curd. Next I sliced fresh strawberries and layered them on top of the curd.
Mmmm. Home made "Fluffy White Icing."
The "Fluffy White Icing" turned into "Fluffy Pink Icing" with pink sugar sprinkled on the top. Would you expect anything else in this house with Miss Allison?
Bye for now! I'm back to work today. :(
Sunday, February 17, 2008
First take your pound of ground beef and place it in your pan. You could use ground turkey or chicken if you want but I like it with ground beef. By the way, if you are thinking that I stole the ground beef because the package says "NOT FOR SALE" or that I bought it on the black market, think again! My Dad raises beef cattle and generously supplies all of his kids with beef. Yes, I know I'm a lucky girl! I use my deep Cook's Essentials pan from QVC. I love that pan because it's deep and helps me keep my stove clean when browning meat. I HATE cleaning the stove top! Okay, getting back to the recipe. Add the onions to the pan. As you can see, I use dried minced onions and don't ask me how much. I just dump! You can use 1 small fresh onion diced if you like. Me? I'll stick to the dried onions for speed of preparation! Speaking of speed. I also pre-brown the ground beef most times. I'll brown up 3 or so pounds of ground beef on a day off from work, let it cool and then portion it out in my Seal-a-Meal bags and freeze it for later. Then it's ready to go for me to make meat sauce for spaghetti or pasta, taco soup, tacos (I'll add the taco seasoning to this one before freezing), lasagna (I use half beef and half sausage so I brown those together and label it "lasagna meat") and any other casserole or recipe I might need it for.
Now let's go and open all of those cans! Drain and give the black beans a water bath. Make sure you drain them well or your soup will be too watery.
Drain the corn. No need for a bath here; they drain from their own juice nicely.
Okay, now go and add everything to the slow cooker. You do not need to drain the kidney beans, diced tomatoes or chiles. Their jummy juices add to the flavor of the soup! As you can see I made mine pretty for all of you. Usually I just dump everything on top of each other!
Now stir it well! Marry all those yummy flavors together!
Now you have a choice here. You can either cook it for 8-9 hours on low or 4 or so on high. I cook everything on low because I use my Crock Pot on days I go to work. This is when the pre-browned ground beef comes in handy. Just dump, stir and cook!
Ta Da! The finished product! As you can see, it's a thicker soup or stewlike meal. Rachael Ray would call it a "Stewp" and that probably describes it perfectly. If you want it thinner and more of a soup, use the big can of tomato sauce. I personally like it this way. I serve it with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, diced green onions and those scoopable tortilla chips. Okay, okay, I don't usually use the green onions unless I happen to have them in the fridge. I bought them special here because...."no green is obscene" when plating a meal. It just helps to make it visually yummy!
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Here's the pancakes without all the stuff on top. I used my Wilton heart cookie cutter. I held it in the bottom of the pan and ladled in the pink pancake batter (red food coloring). I held it there until it was just about ready to turn over. The first one I filled too high and it puddled over when I took the cookie cutter off. Live and learn.
Allison in her Valentine's Day attire. I don't know if you could tell but she has hearts embroidered on her jeans and a rhinestone heart on her turtleneck.
Check out those socks...but ignore the shoes! I should have polished them before the picture! It so hard to keep up on them with all the winter snow!
She had me take a pic of her hair. Isn't she just the little model? Her ponytail holder had strands of red plastic hearts dangling from it. She picked out the red heart barrettes and the pink flower barrettes to add to the theme. She said the flower ones were okay because her shirt has a couple of flowers it so it matches. I'm thinking that I might be having a fashion diva on my hands here!
Posing with Princess! That cat is too huge for being only 10 months old!
Whoever said girl cats are smaller obviously didn't see this pic! I've seen full grown dogs that are smaller!
Allison gave her teacher and her helper each some chocolate covered oreos and chocolate covered pretzels. I found these cute plastic chinese takeout containers at Michael's for a buck each. Aren't they cute?
Yum! I should have made extra cookies! I could go for one right now!
I did the same thing this year for Allison's classmates as I did last year. Different school, different kids...works for me! I made pink heart shaped rice krispie treats. This year instead of using regular marshmallows I bought their pink strawberry marshmallows. I added more red food coloring because they weren't dark enough. Sorry the pic is blurry!
I volunteered to make the cupcakes for the Valentine's Day party at school. I also volunteered to help at the party. So MUCH FUN! I only wish I could do it all the time! Anyway, I wanted to make a heart cupcake cake so In my mind, both sides of the heart would be even and then I would need one for the point. Hmm, how was I going to bake that one extra cupcake without putting it in the oven all by itself in pan all by itself? I know! I'll make a cupcake pan for one! I used heavy duty foil, layered it 3 sheets thick and molded it in the regular cupcake pan. I trimmed the edges and voila, a cupcake pan for one!
Okay, here's the cake. I'm not as happy with it as I thought I would be. I actually needed 4 more cupcakes to round out the top of the heart and another one for the point. I set my perfectionist self aside and made due. I just told myself that they are 6-8 year olds and they don't care about the shape fo the cake! Now if it was a bridal shower cake or something like that, I would have made more cupcakes and made it perfect! Seriously, the thing the kids enjoyed most was being able to pull apart their cupcake from the cake!
Here's a pic of Allison at her desk at school. I took quite a few other pictures but I am not comfortable posting pics of the other kids without their parent's knowledge.
Allison's gift from Curtis and me. I LOVE the bag and the tissue paper. I found them at The Dollar Tree! $1.50 for the whole thing! Yes I know everything at The Dollar Tree is $1.00 but I only used 1/2 of the tissue so I still have some left over for next year!
Keep an open mind here! Curtis offered to take us out to dinner for Valentine's Day but I delcined. After working in restaurants all of my life, a restaurant on a holiday is the LAST place I want to be! Instead I made a special dinner. I made heart shaped mini meatloafs, pink redskin mashed potatoes (food coloring) and sugar (because of the sweet holiday) snap peas. Allison loved the pink potatoes...even though she thought I put strawberry syrup in them. Curtis commented they were good. I think he was surprised. The color didn't affect the taste it was just strange eating them I must admit. I sent leftovers in Curtis' lunch today. Who wants to bet that he'll be eating in his car today?
Here's my secret to making perfect heart meatloafs. I used the Reynolds Fun Shapes foil cups for baking. They were $1.00 at The Dollar Tree for a box of 24. I doubled them because they are really thin. You have to kind of build the shape. If you put a blob of mixture in it and spread it out it distorts the foil cup.
Here is the last pic and I am so sorry it's really blurry. I just had to share it with all of you! I made Curtis' plate up to take the picture and then called them in to dinner. As I looked at the table I saw this! The butter had melted a little and the solid part that was left was in the shape of a heart! How romantic!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
LOL! I just asked Allison what she was thinking when she covered her eyes. She said "I don't know. I wasn't thinking anything, actually!"
She's got her Daddy fooled. She wanted to play airplane going up the hill. She probably didn't want to walk up so she made a game out of it so he wouldn't notice he was being used!
"Hold on baby! There's a tree at the bottom of the hill"...which she ended up running into anyway!
Making a snow angel...no, I think she just was taking a break here.
I love the look on her face here. I'm not sure what Curtis was doing though. I think he may have realized she was headed for the tree and was going to try and stop her.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
One of my most favorite catalogs is Pottery Barn Teen. Their stuff is gorgeous but way out of my price range! I did pick up this really cool tri-fold weathered frame thingy a couple of years ago to use in Allison's room when she gets older. It was one of those things I had to have. I think regular price was $89 and I got it for $25 on clearance. I was definately doing the happy dance!
Let me walk you through some inspiration from the Pottery Barn Teen catalog. All these pictures are from their website. The catalog shows so much more than some of these pictures but you'll get the idea.
Notice the box on the dresser...the same color family but different print.
This would be so easy to make! An old frame, batting, fabric and some of those vintage straight pins with the pearls on them.
When I saw the above frame, I thought to myself "Self, wouldn't a few of them be cute hanging on a wall?" ... and then look what I saw! Hey! Maybe I could work for Pottery Barn!
These next two items are things that I would love for myself. Unfortunately they are not on sale or clearance. :( I am hoping fate will intervien and at least the dress form gets discounted.
Hmm, this one would probably collect dust, right? See, I'm talking myself out of it already!
I received a new catalog in the mail the other day. It's called Ginny's. Luckily they have a website so I borrowed pics from their website to share with all of you.
What an adorably whimsical pedestal! I wish I had room or a kitchen big enough to store all the pretty things I see...and a pocketbook big enough too! The cupcakes in the picture also inspired me. They are gorgeous! I'll be attempting those soon!
Aren't these fun? They don't match my kitchen but boy are they cute!
I like the color combination though. Hmm, maybe a scrapbook layout in those colors. Okay, I love this! It's a cake pan that makes a huge cupcake. It is made by Wilton. This is so up my alley! Oh what I could do with this!
These kitchen towels are so yummy! They don't match my kitchen either, but I could see myself doing a whole mini themed scrapbook in the green, cream and burgandy.
Rachael Ray 5 quart hard anodized oval saute pan.
Oh how I would love this! My bathroom is not big enough for this but if it was I would have ordered this the first day I saw this in the catalog! I wouldn't even care that I would have sell my blood to get it! Do you know what it is? It's a "cat washroom"! The litter box fits in there behind the door! Love it!