Friday, February 25, 2011

Who Could Forget About Candy Walnut Salad!

I was looking through my photos and came across this salad I made for Christmas Eve dinner that I meant to do a post on, but I forgot until now. :)
I will forever be indebted to Camie Rogersons (the Rogersons shared our love for food, they should come to Lubbock so we can share more recipes ;)) for introducing me to this salad. I love it! It has bacon, apples, spinach and candy walnuts, drizzled with poppy seed dressing, it is FANTASTIC! I haven't ever tried a homemade poppy seed dressing but if you have one it would be perfect for this salad. It is on my list of the best salads I have ever eaten.

Candy Walnut Salad

Spinach Leaves (If I remember right I used 2 normal size bags)
2 apples, diced
5 strips cooked bacon, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sugar for walnuts
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Brianna's poppy seed dressing

Melt sugar in pan for walnuts; add walnuts when sugar is melted. Stir together put on wax paper to dry. Mix remaining ingredients together. 

Camie if any of this is wrong please let me know! :) 
For the rest of you, try this salad!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Some New Things and A Couch Hog

So when we moved we didn't have room to bring our washer and dryer with us. So we have gotten to visit the lovely laundry mats of Lubbock, Hooray! NOT!! We were waiting to sell the washer and dryer before we purchased a set down here. A big THANKS to my husband's brother for selling them for us! And we found a set that was similar to ours a week later. 

They work so much better then any of the washer and dryers at the laundry mat! I feel so much more at home now.

The duplex we moved into has some quirks about it, the door that goes from the kitchen to the garage is not a normal size door. And as you walk through the front door there is a wall 2 feet in, so you have to turned to the right to get into our living room. You are probably wondering why I am telling you all that info. Well with these odd features, we weren't able to get the 2 couches we had in, we probably could have gotten the love seat in but we decided to sell them as a set. They sold within a couple weeks of moving in here. We went straight to the furniture store to buy a couch. We found one we liked, paid for it and was told it would be 2 weeks before we could pick it up.
So we have been sitting on these lovely things for a month! Don't get me wrong I love camping chairs, just not as normal furniture. They get so uncomfortable!
But we were so glad when our couch finally was at the warehouse to pick up. And it was kind of a bear to get through the door. We almost took out the light fixture that is in the little space between the door and the wall. We got it through though without any dings!
Here it is:

I love chaise chairs in couches! That is what sold me on this couch, we both like to put our feet up while we sit. It's a pretty comfy couch, we are enjoying it so much more then those camping chairs! :) 
If you look closely you will notice that the little furball has staked his claim. Who does he think he is?? 

Acting like this is his pillow,

and ignoring me when I tell him he is going to ruin the cushions if he keeps nestling into them like that!

Cosmo and his cocky little attitude better not scratch up my new couch. :)
 I expect this couch to last a while.
On another note, the little furball is still cute with his funny personality. I am so glad we have him here in Texas so that I have a buddy while Dave is gone at work. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chicken Bacon Sandwich

This sandwich is one of my favorites! I love lemon pepper on chicken, and you can't go wrong with bacon and cheese! Not to mention my homemade buns! They were perfect for this sandwich. The chicken comes out so moist and the perfect amount of flavor. My mouth is drooling for one right now!

Chicken Bacon Sandwich

chicken breast
peppered bacon
lemon pepper
cheese slices (cheddar, pepper jack, colby, swiss, whatever suits your fancy)
sandwich buns 

Place chicken breast under wax paper one at a time (I put mine in a plastic ziploc bag), pound with smooth side of mallet (or use a rolling pin) to make in uniform thickness so it will cook evenly. Cut bacon in half, cook in skillet. Pour out grease from pan, pit back on heat (medium to medium low) Add 1 Tbsp. bacon fat back to the skillet. Season chicken with lemon pepper on both sides. In nice and hot pan add chicken breast, cook one side for about 4 minutes until edges are no longer pink. Flip chicken and begin arranging the cooked bacon on cooked side of breast. Add however much bacon you desire (I usually do 4 to 5 pieces). Lay slices of cheese of cheese on top of the bacon. Now cover with lid to let chicken finish cooking and to allow cheese to melt. Melt cheese thoroughly. Don't over do, everything will dry out. Place on a bun, add desired condiments (I only added Dijon mustard, YUM!)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Banana Foster

The ice cream started to melt before I got a good picture of this. 

The first time I had a banana foster was at the La Caille restaurant back home in Utah. There they actually light the rum (if you use the rum, I didn't when I made this) on fire and burn off the alcohol. It is a very exciting dessert! Then I didn't have one for many years later until one night at our good friends the Rogersons, Nino cooked us up some. I was impressed with how he could take a few simple ingredients and make something so good!
 We had this delicious dessert for on Valentine's Day! I had been craving it for a strait week before we had them. I love bananas and when you put them in a nice hot caramel sauce you can't go wrong!

Banana Foster

1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 bananas, peeled and cut into slices or cut lengthwise
1/4 cup dark rum, optional (it is just as good without it)
vanilla ice cream (optional)
pound cake (optional)

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Using a wooden spoon, add brown sugar and stir together. Add the bananas and cook until caramelized on both sides, over medium-high heat. Move pan off heat, add the rum and return to the stove to catch a flame from the gas stove or a long lighter. Stand back when ignited and flambe the bananas. Be careful a flame will shoot up above the pan. Let flame die down and the alcohol cook out. Serve bananas over vanilla ice cream and/or a slice of pound cake.

I am good with just a good old bowl of vanilla ice cream and the caramel banana sauce. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cowboy Cake

I just barely made this cake an hour ago and thought it was so great that I decided I needed to do a post about it right away! And remember how I don't really like cake? :) I made it for breakfast since I am not a fan of cereal like I use to be. And we have had eggs, pancakes and bacon for dinner twice this week I was in the mood for something sweet. I was telling my husband last night that I needed a treat, this cake hit the spot! I cut myself a piece while it was still warm, YUM!! I found this recipe off of the Sister's Cafe. I think this is called cowboy cake cause it is a very basic recipe that a chuck wagon cook could probably make on a cattle drive....if they had access to buttermilk. Hmmm....? Anyway this cake is like a coffee cake (maybe that is why I like it more then regular cake), so it is good for breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack time, dinner, and dessert. 

Cowboy Cake

2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. butter.
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Reserve 1/2 cup for the top of the bread (cake). Then add the following ingredients and mix well:

1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. buttermilk

Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle top with reserved 1/2 cup crumbly mixture. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. 

Mine only took 25 minutes, I also halved this recipe since it is just the hubby and I. Now I am debating if I should have done a full pan. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Enjoying The Warm Weather

It was 84 degrees here on Wednesday!! We went to a nearby park called Maxey Park to enjoy the warm weather. It has a little lake, playground, baseball diamond, tennis court, and after May 31 an outdoor pool! We walked around the lake, which is full of garbage due to the fact that the wind never stops blowing down here! We get garbage that blows into our yard daily. It sure was nice to get out and see some scenery besides the insides of our house. :) 
Cosmo does not like the grass down here, he is used to soft grass, not this tough, dry, prickly stuff. What a wuss!!

We will be enjoying the high 70's low 80's the rest of week! Jealous????

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grandma's Fried Chicken

Doesn't this meal look delicious? This is one of Dave's favorite meals, and the main entrée is my Grandma's fried chicken. My Grandma's fried chicken is different then regular fried chicken. First she does fries it to give it that nice color of fried chicken, but then she steams it. By steaming, it keeps the chicken nice and moist, and the few seasonings you use just make it perfect!

Grandma's Fried Chicken

chicken breast (I used boneless and skinless)
seasoning salt (I used Lawry's)
beaten egg(s)
oil for frying

Take chicken breast and dip in beaten eggs, then dip in flour. Sprinkle with paprika, seasoning salt, salt and pepper. Brown the chicken in the oil. Pour water in the pan, just enough to come about half way up the chicken breasts, cover with lid and steam for at least an hour or more on low heat. (My Grandma usually has more pieces of chicken in the pan, since I just had 2 pieces I steamed mine for about 20 to 30 minutes on medium low heat. I was in a hurry cause I forgot it would take an hour to cook.) :)

Our lovely Valentine's Day dinner! We use our champagne glasses for coke, Dave's favorite drink. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

For those of you who like Valentine's and to those of you who don't care for it I wish both of you a wonderful day!

I woke up early this morning to make my husband breakfast before he left for work. He is more the romantic then me, so this was progress for me. :) Now when I mean early I mean EARLY, Dave has to be to work by 4:30 AM! Here's what I made him

I had left over rye bread from the patty melts so I made cowboy toast and fried up some bacon. I was going to use my heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out the center but it was too big for this piece of bread. 
For those who love eggs and toast like me cowboy toast, egg in a hole, whatever you want to call it is perfect. 

Cowboy Toast

slices of bread
salt and pepper

Butter both sides of the bread, cut out the middle. Over medium heat place bread into a greased frying pan or griddle. Make sure it is greased or your egg will stick (I know from experience). Crack egg over the hole in the bread. Let egg cook and the bread toast, make sure not to burn it. Then flip the bread with egg in to the other side, cook to your liking. You can toast up those little cut out pieces too. Those are the best part.

I am also making one of his favorite dinners tonight, I will post what it is tomorrow.

Now on to the mushy part!
My husband doesn't read this all the time, but I wanted to take the time and say how much I love him, and how much I appreciate all he does for me. He is my best friend, and I love having him all to myself here in Texas on our little adventure. Love you Dave! 

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." -Dr. Seuss

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Alfredo/Hollandaise Sauce

Okay so this picture is not the greatest picture, I really need to take a photography class and learn a few tricks. 

Any way on to the food!
I have been looking for a good Alfredo recipe, I have tried quiet a few different homemade recipes and I think this one was by far the best! It was simple too! It also only has 5 ingredients. Anybody could make this, and like I said it is the best Alfredo I have had. I also added some sauted chicken to it, delicious!
I need to thank my future sister in-law Robin for introducing me to homemade Hollandaise sauce! I am in love! Ok, ok, it does have a full cube of butter in it,    but it is so worth it! My new favorite side dish is asparagus with Hollandaise sauce. I would be lying if I said I didn't scrap the sauce off my plate plain. :)

Fettuccine Alfredo
1 pound fettuccine (I used penne noodles, those are my favorite)
1 stick of butter
1 cup heavy cream 
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used a store package of shredded Parmesan)

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a saucepan or skillet, warm butter and cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Grate Parmesan cheese and place half of it into a large serving bowl. Pour warm butter/cream mixture over the top.
Drain pasta and immediately pour it into the bowl. Toss a couple of times, then sprinkle in the other half of the Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Hollandaise Sauce
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 c. firm butter

 In small pan over very low heat stir egg yolks and lemon juice with wooden spoon. Add half the butter until it is melted. Add remaining butter, stirring briskly until butter is melted and sauce thickens.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

How I have been looking forward to Valentine's Day just so I could make these red velvet whoopie pies. For those of you who know me you know I don't like cake. velvet cake, if it is done correctly! I have had a few red velvet cakes that are dry and have no flavor. The best was whoever made our wedding cake one layer was red velvet and man was it good! I think these turned out pretty darn good! I did make them a little bigger then I think they are suppose to be, which is OK cause I had one and I didn't need another one cause they are rich! It did take me awhile to decide which recipe to use, I finally decided to go with the Brown Eyed Baker's recipe. She was just as picky as me on how red velvet cake should taste.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

For the whoopies:
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulate sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tsp. red food coloring 
1 c. buttermilk

For the cream cheese filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. (I used my Silpat) 
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening and both sugars on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and the red food coloring and beat until just blended.
Add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk and beat until completely combined.
Using a spoon (or a medium cookie scoop) (I tried a spoon it wasn't working so well so since I don't have a pastry bag I made one out a Ziploc bag, this work a lot better then the spoon), drop a tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat (this is why mine turned out a little bigger what I thought was a tablespoon was a tad too big), spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the cakes spring back when pressed gently (I had to cook mine for 12). Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (don't try egg beaters I about burned my up trying to make the frosting), beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until combined. Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium-high; beat until creamy and smooth, about 4 minutes.
To assemble: Spread the filling onto the flat side of one cake using a knife spoon. Alternatively, you can use a pastry bag with a round tip (once again I don't have a pastry bag so I made one) to pipe the filling onto the cake. Top it with another cake, flat-side down. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling.
Storing: Assembled whoopie pies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you need to stack layers, place a piece of wax paper between layers.
Yields about 2 dozen assembled whoopie pies

MMMMM!!! So good!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mushroom and Swiss Sliders with Spicy Fry Sauce

For those of you who love mushroom and swiss burgers these are a must try!!! They were amazing! And they were even more delicious on my homemade hamburger buns, I just made them mini size. I came across this recipe from The Pioneer Woman (I find a lot of recipes from her and so far I have liked everyone I have made.) Now her recipe calls for 2 pounds of meat to make 8 patties, I used just a little more then a pound and I got 8 patties. The spicy fry sauce was spicy to me, but Dave said he had no idea it even had red pepper in it. My mouth is sensitive to heat, but it was just the right amount of spice. The drippings of sauted onion and mushroom that were left in the pan were delicious also! You must try these little burgers, you won't regret it!

Mushroom and Swiss Sliders with Spicy Fry Sauce

1/3 c. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. Ketchup
1 tsp. Cayenne Red Pepper (less if you're sensitive to spice)
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 whole medium onion, finely diced
8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped finely 
1/2 c. White or Red Wine (optional) (I didn't use wine)
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds ground beef (I only used a pound)
4 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream (I used regular whipping cream)
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 slices Swiss cheese, cut into four squares
8 whole dinner (or slider)rolls, split (or homemade buns)

In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, ketchup and cayenne. Stir together until totally combined. Set aside. (This is the spicy fry sauce.)
Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onions and cook over medium heat for five minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and toss around, then add wine (if using), Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Cook for several minutes over medium heat, or until all liquid has evaporated. Transfer mushroom mixture to a separate bowl, scraping all contents from the skillet. Mix ground beef, heavy cream, Worcestershire, salt and pepper in a bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly mix ingredients. Form 1/4 to 1/3 cup (I used a 1/3 cup) of the meat mixture into patties, making an indentation with your thumb to keep the patties from plumping too much when they cook. In the same skillet as the one used to cook the mushrooms, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium to medium high heat. Add four patties at a time, indented side face up. Cook for 4 minutes, then flip. Spoon a generous portion of mushroom mixture on each patty, then top with one or two squares of Swiss, depending on your preference. Place lid on skillet and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until burgers are cooker through and cheese is melted. Remove to a place and keep warm while you repeat with the rest of the meat mixture. Toast halved buns under the oven broiler. Spread generously with spicy fry sauce. Place patties between buns and serve immediately. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

German Pancakes

Now this recipe is an oldie but a goodie! I love German pancakes! It reminds me of  being a kid and on Saturdays or Sundays my Dad or Mom would make them for breakfast, which was a treat from having cereal during the rest of the week. 

Now this recipe is super easy as well, it calls for 5 ingredients.

German Pancakes
6 Tbsp. butter
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
6 eggs
1/4 tsp salt (usually just a dash)

Melt butter in a 9x13 pan in the oven at 400 degrees.
Mix remaining ingredients together and pour into pan with melted butter. Cook for 20-30 minutes. (I would check after 15 the edges raise fast so they brown easy.)

This is what it looks like in the pan. Usually the middle puffs up too but this is just half the recipe since its just me and Dave. Of course after I gave Dave his two pieces he asked where the rest of the pan of pancakes were. :) They are delicious, light, fluffy and just the right thing for a quick breakfast. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Patty Melts, Potato Chips with Dip and Lost Thumb Prints

Hello everyone!! I am excited to say that Dave and I have finally made a real meal! I have been dying to eat more then Mac and Cheese! 

First up:
Patty Melts
Can I just tell you that I LOVE patty melts!! I remember the first time i had one, oh it makes my mouth water! I have been craving one since "Reed's Drive In" in Spanish Fork, Utah. Now that place has a great patty melt!

So here is what you need:
1/2 small onion, sliced
mushrooms (I sliced about 6 to 7)
2 hamburger patties
4 slices of rye bread (I found some Jewish Rye Bread)
 2 Swiss cheese slices

Saute the onions and mushrooms in butter. Remove from pan. Place hamburger patties in pan and cook until your liking. Take one slice of rye bread in pan, place a piece of Swiss cheese on top of bread, layer with patty, top with onions and mushrooms, add the other slice of bread to the top. Flip the sandwich so the top slice of bread gets toasted a little. I left mine in the pan a little longer to get the cheese to melt too. 

I would say for making a patty melt for the first time these turned out pretty darn good! Need maybe a little work on seasoning the meat or the onions and mushrooms, but over all the flavor of just the basic ingredients were great!

Black Pepper Chips

Peanut oil, for frying
2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
Kosher salt and
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat peanut oil in a deep fryer to 300 degrees F with peanut oil.
Slice the potatoes into very thin 1/8-inch slices using a mandolin with a straight blade attachment or a V slicer. Keep the potatoes in a large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and blot dry with paper towels; you don’t want to put wet potatoes into hot oil.
Fry the potatoes in batches, only a handful at a time, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Once they reach a golden brown color, remove the chips from the fryer and drain on a paper towel-lined sheet tray. Season the chips with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
Cook's Note: The biggest secret in making crispy chips is to soak the potato chips in cold water to wash away the excess starch. If you don’t have the time, then place all the potato slices in a big bowl of water and gently toss.

This recipe and the dip that follows I came across while watching the Food Network show "Down Home With The Neely's". We didn't use peanut oil, we used vegetable. And we turned the heat up to about 350 on our little fryer. These chips were so good! 

Parmesan Sour Cream Dip


1(16-ounce) container reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Serve with black pepper potato chips.
Cook's Note: Season lightly with the salt since we are using Parmesan and it'’s a salty cheese.

These dip was perfect for those black pepper chips! It was super easy to make as well.

While Dave and I were getting dinner ready, I put him on potato duty. Barely into the first potato, he grunted, dropped the potato and quickly turned the water on. He had cut his thumb on this:

I even found the little chunk of skin under the blade! Don't worry I sanitized it! So while he was trying to get his thumb to stop bleeding, I took over cutting the potatoes. I found the protective handle but the potato wasn't cutting well so on the last potato I took off the protective handle. And what do you know....I sliced my thumb too! The exact same hand!

Dave holding his thumb above his head

Me with my sad thumb

Our bandaged up thumbs, they wouldn't stop bleeding! My actually still is bleeding as we speak. We went through a few bandages until we put flour on the wounds, it really helped stop the bleeding for Dave, and a little bit for me.
Ha ha I think it is hilarious we both cut the same thumb cutting potatoes. It took us FOREVER to make dinner. I am so grateful I have a thumb! Cause it was difficult without one.

One last picture of our fantastic dinner


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Buddy Holly Center

Today we went to the Buddy Holly Center. 

Did you know he was from Lubbock? Hence the reason they have a Buddy Holly Center here. :)

Today marks the 52 anniversary of his death, he died at 22. 
He sang the songs:
"Peggy Sue"
"That'll Be the Day"
"Blue Days Black Nights"
Thats just a few, he did many more I just can't think of any others.
Since today was the anniversary of his passing you could go to the center for free. Which no offense to the center but I wouldn't pay money to see that stuff, but if you were a die hard Buddy Holly fan this is the place to go! They have his original guitars, his glasses from the plane crash, pictures from him as a baby up till the day he died. It was interesting to see all his things and the documentary was very informative. He is a music legend!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Homemade Freezer Burritos

I found this great idea on the Slave to Save website. It's cheap and easy, and perfect for Dave to take for lunch.

 All you need is:

Tortillas (she used large I used medium sized)
1 package Mexican Style Rice (she used Rice-A-Roni, the Lubbock Wal Mart only had Knorr)
3 cans of refried beans
Shredded Cheese

Now these are the ingredients I used, you could also add:

hot sauce
diced chilies
taco seasonings 
ground beef
shredded chicken

1. Start by cooking the Mexican Style Rice
2. Mix the refried beans with the rice in a large bowl until well combined.

(I know it doesn't look appealing but it tasted pretty good)

3. Scoop a generous amount of mixture onto the center of a tortilla. Top with shredded cheese and roll up, "burrito" style. (It might take you a few tries to perfect your technique!)

4.Wrap the burrito tightly in aluminum foil.
5. Freeze and enjoy as needed! You can microwave these from frozen or thaw them first.

Needless to say I think Dave was pretty excited about them. 
(I got 21 burritos using the medium sized tortillas Slave to Save got 11 using the big tortillas.)

Look What I Woke Up To

Of course its not a lot of snow, but man is it cold! My weather app says it is 9 degrees!!! And sadly the COLD pipe faucet in the kitchen is frozen. :( All the other faucets work, even the HOT side of the kitchen faucet works. I am hoping nothing bursts! We have a heater underneath the sink to help get the pipe warm. Any one have any other suggestions for frozen pipes?