Tuesday, July 31, 2012


This post is for my lovely Sister-in law who lives far far away...hope this helps.
 I cut thick pieces of 100% polyester fabric into strips.

Then I gently burnt the edges. Be careful not to burn it.  
I made sure that I cut and burnt the edges on an angle like I would cut the edges of ribbon.
I wired the flowers onto the bucket and then tied two layers of the burnt ribbon around the wire.  I love the look.  It makes me happy.  :]


Monday, July 30, 2012


Here is the Link to my "Olympic Party"spot:


This is where the flavors of the world started to unite...

Carmelized French Onion Dip
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoons butter
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 (16 oz.) container sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Potato chips

Melt butter in skillet on med-high; add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes or until browned and tender.  Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar.  Combine. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes.
Stir together onions, sour cream, and chives in a medium bowl.  Stir remaining salt and pepper.  Cover and chill 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
Serve with potato chips or crudite.

Spanich Gazpacho

4 (14.5 oz. ea.) cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic & oregano;
including juice
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
½ small red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled seeded and chopped
2 large cloves, minced and mashed to paste with ¾ t. salt
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, or to taste
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worchestershire Sauce
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Tomato juice or water for thinning soup

Puree all ingredients in a blender.  Chill very well before serving.  Overnight is best.
When serving, adjust seasonings and thin a little with water or tomato juice if you want.  Garnish with diced veggies, croutons or a dollop of sour cream.

From our neighboring country to the South...

Enchilada Tacos
3-4 cups shredded chicken
(rotisserie chickens work great!)
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed, optional
1 cup frozen corn, optional
1 ½ cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 small can diced green chilies
1 jalapeno, finely diced
½ small can diced jalapenos (or more), drained
2 green onions, chopped
½ cup salsa verde, optional
2 cups shredded cheese
Additional cheese for top

Mix ingredients together, except for ½ cup cheese.
Put in a pie dish or 8 x 8 baking dish.
Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes,
until hot and bubbly and beginning to brown slightly.
(Also works well in a small crock pot on low.)

Serve in warmed flour tortillas or  makes a great warm dip with tortilla chips.

For an Oriental flavor...
 My mom and I have done a Chicken Salad Wrap Bar for several parties.  Our guests always love them.  The following recipe is a quicker, easier version of that idea.  

Oriental Chicken Salad Wraps
4 cups cooked or grilled chicken, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup peas
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 can water  chestnuts, chopped
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro, optional
1 cup sliced almonds or peanuts
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup Chinese Salad Dressing
Bibb lettuce leaves

Mix ingredients together (Except dressing and lettuce) and microwave for 2 minutes.  Add dressing. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into lettuce leaves.  Can serve warm or at room temperature.  

Garnish with:
Marinated Cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped.  Add 2 T. rick wine vinegar, 2 T. water, 2 T. sugar and 1/4 t. salt.  Let set for at least an hour.)
Finely shredded cabbage 
Finely shredded carrot

A party is simply not a party without little hotdogs!  It is an All-American Favorite.  If I make these for a party they are one of the first things gone.  It is by no means an original or new idea...just a fav!

I have just wrapped store bought crescent dough and wrapped it around "Little Smokies".  I bake them according to the package directions on the crescent dough.  I love to stand them up with a skewer or skewer them and  place them in a shot glass with a little mustard in the bottom.

And last but certainly not least...my last world flavor is Italian...
This is a  treat my neighbor shared with us...I would like to thank her again!  Italian Ice is a mixture of pellet ice, a little cream, club soda and flavored drink syrups.  The kids love them.  We bought our syrup flavors at "Smart and Final" but I hear "Bevmo" has great flavors too! There are so many colors and flavors that any there is a drink to match any theme.  We used the colors of the Olympic Rings for this party.  They looked great!

I also found this "Olympic Medal Tracker" it was a free download I found online.  I LOVE FREE DOWNLOADS!  Thank You!

Happy Olympic Watching everyone...any excuse to party!  :)

Olympic Flavors of the World Unite

 Olympic Party...no sweat!  Is there any better way to have an Olympic Party than to have the flavors of the World unite!?! I say...No! I am sharing Olympic party plans with my local Channel 12 News.  It was fun to do!

For the party I chose the colors of the Olympic rings.  That was a no brainer!  I used a black and white polka dot table cloth that I already had.  I  figured it made the whole thing look really fun.

  I printed out the symbols that are used to define each Olympic sport.  I then backed them with black paper and tied a few ribbon knots. I also found some great Olympic digital print outs. The best part is they were free.  I just down loaded them, cut them out and added the sports symbols to make a cheap and easy decoration. Thanks to the lovely woman out there in computer land who is generous enough to share!

I also used the free digital tags to tie on candy jars and treat boxes.

Some of the print outs I put on sticks to put right into the treats.   I filled the Chinese food boxes with a little treat that I love.  I have renamed them just for this party..."Go for the "Gold"en Grahams"  Get it? Go for the Gold...I am so smart!  This treat is one of my favorite, I actually try not to make it 'cuz...I love to eat it! I got this recipe from one of my favorite neighbors, then...like I have been known to do I added chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better!

Go for the "Gold"en Grahams
1 cup butter, 1 cup Karo syrup, 1 cup sugar
Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes,  then add 1 tsp. vanilla.
Pour over:
6 cups Golden Grahams cereal
6 cups Rice Chex cereal
1-2 cups Almonds
(option: 1-2 cups coconut, I always do)

Mix well and pour on wax paper to cool. I then drizzle it lightly with melted chocolate chips!

My next trick is....."Not-so-English Fish and Chips"

 In honor of the host country I made my own version of "Fish and Chips" for the kids.  Peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches make darling "fish".  I simply cut the sandwiches into fish shapes and served them with potato chips.  They loved eating out of the newspaper cones sooooo much I am thinking of all sorts of things to serve out of newspaper! 

We made our own Olympic Rings.  Seriously simple.  Wire hangers formed into circles made great forms.  I gathered crepe paper streamers and glued them right to the hanger form.  Easy...cheap!

After the rings were completed I used hot glue to hold it together.  It is so light it hung extremely well.

English Trifle is a popular dessert in England.  In the spirit of the games, I made a "Not-so-English Trifle".  It is a Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle.  I got the recipe from my lovely Mother.  I am not sure where she got it from...all I know is I love it and it is super easy to make.  It is actually better if you make it the night before.  It is a good "do ahead"!  LOVE IT!

Strawberry Cheesecake 
Pretty and Yummy!

                     Combine:               2 quarts cut strawberries
                             2 – 3 tablespoons sugar
                                      1/4 teaspoon almond
                                       Cover and refrigerate!

                        Cream:                 16 ounces cream cheese
                                                2 cups powdered sugar

                           Add:                    1 cup sour cream
                                                          3 teaspoons vanilla
                                                 1/4 teaspoon almond
                                                Combine well, set aside.

                         Beat:                        1 cup cream and fold
                                                 into cream mixture.

                        Cube:                  One angel food cake and fold
                                                into cream cheese mixture,
                                                Reserving ½ c. for garnish.

                       Layer:                  cream mixture and strawberries:
                                                in a large pretty glass bowl
                                                          (footed is nice!) like this...

Strawberries, cake, strawberries, cake, strawberries

Garnish:  A dollop of the creamy stuff and a fanned strawberry!
Chill for a couple hours before serving!

I have much more coming...I have a post later today with the rest of the recipes and  pictures from my Olympic debut!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


The 4th of July Decorations HAD to come down.  Suddenly I was totally sick of them.  I did not want to put up my usual door wreath, and decided to mix it up a bit!

It was probably the easiest thing I have ever done.  (huge bonus!)

 I found this roll of Burlap Garland at the Craft store. What luck...I had a 50% off coupon so it was only 4 bucks! GO ME!!!
 This garland was really easy to work with because the edges and ends were finished nicely when I bought it. 
I took out the middle string from the stitches and gently pulled to gather the garland. 

It gathers really easily as long as you gently pull. I gathered the entire roll.  I gathered half of it from one side and unrolled the other half and began again from the rolls end side.  This made it easier. 

Once the entire roll was gathered, I knotted the ends of the pulled burlap string to secure the ruffle.  I cut a piece of foam core board in the size I needed and began to hot glue the burlap to the board. 

Just keep on lightly gluing the burlap in overlapping circular layers until you get a nice center.  I then took twine string, green lace, ribbon, and tulle and made a bow.  It was super duper easy!
I will be happy with my front door the rest of the Summer...well, unless I get bored! Cuz, that's what I do!

Now, I just have to do something about the smudges on the window!   :]

Monday, July 16, 2012

What's for Sunday Dinner?

Company Casserole, Loaded Veggie Salad, French Bread, and (my fav.) Peach and Berry Cobbler!
Sunday Dinner at our house has been a tradition for as long as I can remember.  It still lives on today!  We always feed a room full of people.  Sunday Dinner is a time we gather to eat, talk, laugh, and there is always a heaping helping of friendly teasing.  Sweet sarcasm rules at our house!  Mind you...the following "Sunday" meals will all be in large quantity, if there is one thing my mother has taught me is to cook for a crowd.  :]
 So, let's begin with dessert.  I always like to start with dessert first...especially when fresh peaches are involved! Yum.  My Grandma Junie June (As I  lovingly called her) died when I was only 5.  I loved her dearly and  I am overjoyed that little parts of her can still play a major roll in my life.   Junie June had a recipe for a Deep Dish Peach Pie that my Mother has kept alive.  Thanks to both my Grandma and my Mom I have many great old recipes.  I love Peach anything.  I have taken her Deep Dish Peach Pie recipe and changed it here to fit my needs.  I wanted to try a Peach Cobbler and BOY, did it work beautifully! I made these the day before and reheated them the day of.  Just before serving I added a little scoop of ice cream! 

 I made this little guy in a 4 ounce Mason Jar!  Adorable in every way and really fun to eat.  I can't resist a tiny spoon, especially when Peaches are involved. 

  I used 7  to 8 cups ripe Peaches, peeled and sliced, 2 pints Raspberries, 2 pints Blackberries.  1 1/2 cup Sugar, 1 cup Flour, 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg.  Combined dry ingredients and sprinkle over peaches.  Fold in carefully as to not "smoosh" the peaches. 
Once that is gently mixed, I add my berries.  You don't have to use berries, I just like the color and the taste  with the peaches.  It is beautiful. (If you don't want to use berries just double the amount of peaches.)
Next, I loaded Mason Jars (4 ounce) and began to put the crumb topping on.
1 1/2 Cup Flour, 1 1/2 Cup Sugar, 1 tsp. Nutmeg, 1 cold stick of Butter.

*Combine Flour, Sugar, Cinnamon and Nutmeg together.  Cut in Butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle on Peaches before baking.
 The texture of the crumble will start to look like sand.  I was able to fill 24, 4 ounce Mason Jars, and 1 Large Glass Pie Plate.  YEA!  Feeds a hungry crowd.
Bake at 400 until bubbly and golden brown.  Let cool slightly to "set" the juices.  Always good with Ice Cream!!! Oh, and a tiny spoon! :]

Next on the menu...French Bread.  So good, so easy! If you are not a bread maker, this is where you should begin.   I made this on Saturday morning, let it cool, and wrapped it twice with plastic wrap.  It is still fabulous the next day. 

French Bread
2 T. dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water
pinch of sugar
(or 2 1/2 T. instant yeast)

2 c hot water
3T. sugar
1/3 c. oil
6 c. flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water and inch of sugar.  Let stand 10 min.  (If using instant yeast, skip this step) In large bowl combine hot water, sugar, salt, oil and half of the flour.  Beat well.  Stir in dissolved yeast or dry instant yeast now.  Stir well.  Add remaining flour into a soft dough.  Allow the dough to rest for 10 min. and then stir it vigorously.  Rise for 10 more min. and stir vigorously again.  Repeat this process for one hour.
This is a double batch after rising for 10 min.

This is after a vigorous stirring.

  After an hour of 10 min. intervals of rising and resting, turn out onto a floured board and knead once or twice until lightly coated with flour and easy to handle.  Divide the dough in half.  Roll each half into a 9"x12" rectangle.  Starting at the long edge, roll loosely into a long loaf.
I made a double batch so there were 4 loaves instead of 2.

Place loaves seam side down onto greased cooking sheet.  Roll under and seal the edges.
Before rising. Edges tucked under.
Slash top of loaves 3 times diagonally with a sharp knife or razor blade.  If you want,  (I only brush with egg white, no seeds) brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise 30 mins.

Bake at 400 for about 20 min. or until golden brown on top and on bottom of bread.
YUMMY! And makes my house smell soooo good!

EAT YOUR VEGGIES!  Yes, mam!  I prepare my vegetables the day before.  Chopping takes so much of my precious Sunday time.  A little prep work on Saturday and my Sunday is smooth. 
Some of the kids WILL NOT eat a salad if it has all the "goodies" on it that I like. Serving them "salad bar" style helps us both be happy.  I wrap each veggie  plate with plastic wrap and stack them in my fridge.  I can use what ever amount I want, and keep in the fridge for salads during the week.

And last but, certainly not last....Company Casserole

I like to make this because it feeds a very large crowd, I can make it the day before and have it in the fridge ready to  "pop" in the oven.  Everyone in my family loves this casserole, even the picky ones!

Company Casserole (serves 6)
1 pkg. noodles
1 lb. hamburger (or combo of hamburger and sausage)
3 (8ounce) cans of tomato sauce
1 C. cottage cheese or ricotta
1pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/4 C. sour cream
1/4 C. green onion
1T. green pepper
2T. melted butter

Boil noodles in salted water for 10 min. Drain and set aside. Brown hamburger and stir tomato sauce into meat.  Remove from heat.  Set aside. Combine cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, green onions and green pepper. Set aside.  Spread half the cooked noodles in a greased 2 quart casserole dish.  Cover with cheese mixture, then top with remaining noodles.  Pour melted butter over noodles.  Put beef mixture on top.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.  A little Parmesan cheese on top is good too!

The recipe multiplies well for large crowds... it is easy, yummy, and fills lots of tummies!