Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I figured I should drop in and say hello and maybe share a few recipes over the next few weeks.  It is coming up on the busiest time of year in my kitchen. I give a lot of food gifts, goodie baskets, for Christmas.  It let's me give to a lot of people with out spending a ridiculous amount of money.  I would much rather give people something made with love than a silly trinket that will be forgotten five minutes after they open it. 

I am especially excited this year because I did not make baskets last year.  We were in the process of packing up the house for our move.  We didn't even decorate for Christmas last year.  It was so sad, so this year I am overly excited for Christmas.  I am hoping that I don't get too zealous and burn out my mixer. 

I typically make five or six kinds of cookies and four or five other kinds of treats.  My biggest problems are running out of sugar and running out of counter space for the cooling racks.  As corny as it sounds it really is the most wonderful time of the year. 

Here are some pictures of the goodies and the baskets I made for Christmas 2010.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - I had tried a new recipe and they came out tasty but weird.

Raspberry Jam Thumbprint Cookies

My favorite, Almond butter cookies

The baskets all put together.





Once I get started with this year's baskets I will post those pictures.  I hope you are all enjoying this special time of year with family and friends.

Talk with you soon.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hiatus

As you may have noticed I have taken a bit of hiatus from blogging.  I am planning to continue this for a while.  I am not sure when I will be back.  I am finding that I am just winging it in the kitchen and the camera has been getting in my way.  So I'd rather just go with it and not have to worry about documenting everything.

Mr. Lucky and I have also been very busy.  We are buying a house.  I cannot tell you how excited I am.  I have never bought a house before!  It is being built right now so we aren't moving in until January.  I don't know how I am going to make it until January.

I want to thank each and every one of you for reading this blog.  I am planning to eventually get back to writing and photographing my recipes but for now there will be radio silence......

Talk with you someday soon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Recipe cheats....

As much as I love cooking I sometimes look for shortcuts to make things quicker and easier.  This week I have already found two "cheats". 

For dinner yesterday I made a ground beef Stroganoff.  It took considerably less time, and less pans, than using the beef chuck that I normally use. 

Tonight I am making caramelized onions in my crock pot.  How easy is that??  I was thrilled when I found the recipe.  I have tried to make them on the stove before in my cast iron pan but it didn't work out so well.

I will have full posts for both recipes tomorrow but I just wanted to check in since I have been a sporadic blogger lately. 

Talk with you soon!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Changing Seasons....


 Fall is my absolute favorite time of year.  I love the cooler weather, sweaters, football and lots of amazing food.

I am in recipe collecting mode again.  I have a ton so far, a lot of soups and stews, roasts, and plenty of desserts.

I just got a new crock pot so I am looking for some new slow cooking recipes.  Anyone have any good ones they want to share?  I am thinking the first thing I am going to make is apple sauce.  I love apples sauce and I can't imagine how awesome it will make the house smell.

Stay tuned for lots of delicious Fall recipes.

Talk with you soon!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stuffed peppers....

Last night I made stuffed green peppers for dinner.  This was another request from Mr. Lucky.  He made this request years ago but because I HATE peppers I have avoided making it for all this time.  I finally caved in because I wanted to make something new and I felt bad for never making them for him.

I think green peppers are my #1 most hated food.  I have never liked them.  When I was a kid and my mom or dad made something with peppers I would either pick them out and leave them in a pile on my plate or I wouldn't eat it at all.  I have tried red, orange, yellow and even purple peppers over the years and have found that I kinda like yellow ones.  Yellow peppers have a much milder flavor than the others.  For this recipe I used two green peppers for Mr. Lucky and two yellow ones for me.

Here is the recipe for 4 stuffed peppers:


1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 of a large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 green bell peppers
1/2 cup uncooked medium grain white rice
1 cup water
2 (8oz) cans tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch of each dried Basil, Oregano & Parsley
1/4 -1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese for topping the peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Place the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onions until they are soft then add the garlic.  Cook for about a minute or two then add the beef  and cook until evenly browned. 


 Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.)  


 In a bowl, mix the browned beef, cooked rice, 1 can tomato sauce, salt, and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. 


 Heat the remaining can of sauce with the Basil, Oregano and Parsley for a few minutes until heated through. 


Pour over the tops of the peppers. 


 Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven.  With about 5-10 minutes of cooking time left sprinkle the Mozzarella cheese over the top of the peppers.


I hate to admit it but these came out great.  I really liked them!  Mr. Lucky definitely enjoyed them.  I will say that two peppers each was way too much.  I had served a tomato and cucumber salad with the peppers but Mr. Lucky didn't even touch it.  I ate mine because I'm not afraid of vegetables like he is and I only had one of my peppers.

I will be making this again but probably not until we have some people over to share with us.

Talk with you soon!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

We're back....

Mr. Lucky and I survived our 4,800 mile road trip to Massachusetts and, more importantly, we still like each other. It was so nice to see family and friends but it is also nice to get back to my own house and my own bed.

I am going to the grocery store today because there is nothing but flour and sugar in this house.  I can't wait to have a home cooked meal.  Going out to restaurants is great but gets tiresome when it is for every meal.  Don't get me wrong, we had some great food but we also had a lot of fast food.  We try not to eat fast food often but when you're traveling on Interstate 80 through Iowa and Nebraska you sometimes have no other choice. 

Anyway, expect some posts this week.  I will be cooking lots of good meals and making some treats for Mr. Lucky to bring to work.

Talk with you soon!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Heading Home....

Welcome to Massachusetts Pictures, Images and Photos On Friday Mr. Lucky and I are heading back to Massachusetts for a friend's wedding and a visit with family. We are driving, it should be quite and adventure. We are doing the drive in three days, one less day than we took when we moved here. I cannot wait to get "home". I still, and probably always will, call Massachusetts home. It makes Mr. Lucky crazy. Maybe that is why I do it.

There are so many things I want to do while we are back east. The most important is probably to eat my fill of good fresh New England seafood. Broiled, fried, or baked, I am not picky.

seafood_fresh Pictures, Images and Photos

Beyond the seafood there are a few great restaurants that I miss out here. Not Your Average Joe's is one of them.  While we are visiting Mr. Lucky's mom we will definitely be going there!  They serve the most amazing foccacia bread with an olive oil and Parmesan cheese dipping sauce.  Their menu has delicious seasonal specials and there is something for everyone.  Try the Peanut Butter Thing for dessert, it is to die for!  Sal's Pizza is another place I am looking forward to going.  We cannot find decent pizza out here.  You saw in this post that I finally just had to make my own. Sal's large pizza is 19" and 3 pounds of goodness.  I am drooling now just thinking about it.

Buffalo Pizza Pictures, Images and Photos

Now I really can't wait to get home!  We are basically going to be driving and sleeping this trip so I probably won't have too much time to stop and take pictures but I will see what I can do.  I will most definitely post updates while we are in Massachusetts.  You'll have that seafood right along with me.

Talk with you soon!

Monday, August 13, 2012

I need some feedback....

I have been doing a lot of thinking about how I can make my site more interesting and more user friendly.  One of the things that I think will make finding and making my recipes yourself would be to have pages with printable versions of all of the recipes.  What do you think?  Is this something you would use? 

I also love to get comments and feedback.  Please send me likes, hates, suggestions or anything else you can think of.  It is all appreciated. 

Not sure what is on the menu yet for this week but I am sure there will be some good stuff.

Talk with you soon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

House guests....

This weekend we had our first house guest since we moved to Utah.  Our friend Mr. D went on a road trip and stopped here for a few days before heading back to Las Vegas.  I was pretty excited because he's always a fan of what I cook and I like nothing more than cooking for someone with a healthy appetite.  It also gives me opportunity to try new recipes.

I found two recipes to try out on Mr. D, one for dinner and one for dessert. 

The first recipe is a lemon cream pasta.  I have had this one for a while but I do not remember where I got it from.  I know I say that a lot but I copy tons of recipes and don't always write down the source like I should.

Here is the recipe as it was written (I doubled the amounts and made a few additions that I will show at the end):

Pasta is one of the only times I buy the name brand.
 2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth (I always use the reduced sodium)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (a whole good sized lemon)
1 (8 oz) package rotelle pasta (Or any short cut pasta)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper

In a large sauce pan season the chicken broth with the garlic powder and pepper. Bring to a boil and add lemon juice and pasta.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.

In process pasta

Stir the cream and lemon zest into the cooked pasta.  Cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly before serving. 

The finished pasta
Here are a few notes on my version.  I doubled all the ingredients and found that all the chicken broth was not absorbed.  It wasn't too much of a problem, it just made for more sauce.  If I make this again I will only use three cans of broth to see how it turns out.  When this was just about done I tasted it and I felt it needed something so I added about a quarter cup of Parmesan cheese and a tablespoon of dried Parsley.  They worked out perfectly.

Along with this pasta I made chicken cutlets.  I love chicken cutlets but they are a bit of work to make.  You can see my post on how I make them, here.

Don't they look delicious?
For dessert I made cannoli bites.  I love cannolis and when I found this recipe I knew I had try it.  I also knew that it could be very dangerous, I may become addicted.

Here is the recipe:

1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh orange zest
2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips
30 mini Phyllo cups (2 boxes)

In a small food processor or blender, blend together the first 5 ingredients until smooth.  Remove to a bowl and fold in orange zest and chocolate chips.  Using a small spoon, spoon evenly into the Phyllo cups.  Sprinkle with extra powdered sugar, cocoa or both.  Serve immediately.  (The filling can be made in advance but do not fill the cups until just before serving so that they don't get soggy.)

Like my classy paper plate?
We were so glad to have Mr. D here for a visit.  I hope he enjoyed his stay and more importantly I hope he enjoyed what I cooked for him. 

Talk with you soon!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New and different....

I find that sometimes we get in a rut of eating the same meals over and over again.  I have been trying to mix things up with new marinades for meats and by picking up veggies that we've never tried before.  It is pretty difficult to get Mr. Lucky to eat vegetables but I still try.

This week I got a spaghetti squash.  I have had it before but not in quite awhile and I was sure that Mr. Lucky had never had it.  I went in search of a recipe and found a very simple one on Allrecipes.com. Best of all I had everything I needed in my pantry.

Here is the recipe:

4 ingredients, doesn't get much easier.

cooking spray
1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, and place squash halves cut-side down on the sheet. Bake until squash is tender but still crunchy, about 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.


Once cool enough to handle, shred squash flesh from rind using a fork. Set aside.


 Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic in butter until soft. Add squash to the skillet, and cook until hot. Season with salt and pepper.

Forgot to take a picture of it in the pan.
When I added the squash to the pan I also added about a cup of water and just cooked it until the squash absorbed the water.   The squash was just a little too crunchy for my taste and the water remedied that.  Make sure you taste the dish along the way so that you add enough salt and pepper so it's not too bland.

This turned out really well.  I am going to be looking for more spaghetti squash recipes.

Talk with you soon!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Keys to a happy workplace....

It has been a few weeks since I sent some treats in to work with Mr. Lucky so today I delivered some Key Lime pies.  I figured something nice and summery would be appreciated.  I have to help him keep everyone working hard and what is more motivating than an afternoon sugar high?

I have made this recipe a few times before.  It comes right off the back of the bottle of Nellie & Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice bottle. The first time I found out about this juice was when my mom brought it home from a trip to Key West.  When that bottle ran out I was able to find it at our local grocery store in Massachusetts and I also found it at the grocery store here in Utah so it seems to be widely available.  You can also order right from their website. 

Here is the recipe:






9" graham cracker pie shell
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks (whites not used)
1/2 cup Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice
(I also add 2 drops of green food coloring to make it look more lime-y)

Combine milk, egg yolks, food coloring and lime juice and blend until smooth.  Pour filling into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before refrigerating. 

I like this shade of green.
This pie is great served with fresh whipped cream or, like I did today, a simple raspberry sauce.  The sauce was just something I made to accompany the pie because whipped cream would not have held up.  I heated up about half a cup of raspberry jam with about a quarter cup of water and a teaspoon of vanilla.  Once the jam is "melted" I ran it through a mesh strainer to remove all those pesky seeds.  Quick, simple and tasty!

Since two of Mr. Lucky's people need gluten free I made them Key Lime Pots de Creme.  It is the same recipe but instead of putting the filling into the crust I poured it into ramekins.  Then ramekins are then put in a baking pan, I used my 9 x 13 inch metal pan.  The baking pan is then filled with water about halfway up the sides of the ramekins and then the whole thing is covered with foil and baked at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Cute, right?
I brought two of these in to the guys and kept two for us.  I am planning to have mine tomorrow.  The rest of it anyway, I had a couple bites today.  I had to make sure they tasted good. 

Talk with you soon!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Taking matters into my own hands....

Pizza has always been a a pretty big part of our diet.  Not always the healthiest option but on nights when I didn't want to cook it was our go to meal.  Since we have been in Utah we have had the hardest time finding good pizza.  We can't even find mediocre pizza, it is so sad.  I finally had to give in and make my own.

I used my bread machine to make the dough, it could not have been easier. 

My little bread machine.  It is about 10 years old.
Here is the recipe for one and a half pounds of dough from the cookbook that came from the bread machine:

I really need to get a container for my yeast.
All ingredients should be at room temperature (70-80 deg. F)

1/2 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup water
2 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil

All the ingredients in the pan ready to be mixed.
 The instructions are specific to the machine but once the dough is done:

Pat dough into a 12x15 inch jelly roll pan or a 12 inch round pizza pan.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spread pizza sauce over dough. Sprinkle toppings over sauce.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

For my sauce I used some canned, crushed tomatoes that I had in the pantry and just added some roasted garlic.  I always have a block of Mozzarella on hand so I shredded up a few cups of that.  As a surprise to Mr. Lucky I made some steak and caramelized onions for toppings.  He was very happy with the results.

My first homemade pizza
This was the best pizza we have had in way too long. I will be making it again soon and I am already planning some new toppings to try and maybe even adding some herbs to the dough.  I am looking forward to it.

Talk with you soon!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Another Gluttonous Weekend....

Mr. Lucky and I were in Vegas again this past weekend.  A good friend of mine, Loryn, moved from Tampa to Vegas and we went down to welcome her to her new city.  We also took advantage of the amazing food in the city.

On our first night we introduced Loryn to Casa di Amore. We have been here a handful of times before.  Our friend Mr. D, who also lives in Vegas, turned us on to it back in March and each time we go to Vegas the three of us plan a dinner there.  This time we added a fourth.

From the outside Casa di Amore is a plain building with no windows, it doesn't look like much.  Inside it is all Vegas; pictures of the Rat Pack and hotels of the past, brick walls, lounge singers and amazing Italian food.  Each time we have gone I have tried something different and I have not been disappointed.  If you are in Vegas call and make reservations.  They will even pick you up and drop you off in one of their limos if you are staying at a hotel in the city.  How cool is that?  It definitely makes it easier to have some wine to compliment your delicious dinner.  They are open from 5pm to 5am every day but Tuesday so you can even go after a late night Blackjack session.  Check out their menu on their website, you won't be disappointed.

Because Loryn is a dessert-aholic like me we had to make a return visit to Jean Phillipe at the Bellagio.  I told you about our first visit in this post.  We were just as awestruck with this visit as we were the first time.  Mr. Lucky got a croissant and a coffee (boring!). Ms. L got a Nutella something or other.  I cannot remember what it was called but it looked gorgeous.  I got a trio of small sweets; a chocolate peanut butter pop, a rose macaroon and a creme brulee.  The three were all set on a chocolate stand.  Wow!  I cannot recommend this place enough.  It is so much fun and everything is amazingly delicious.

Don't you love the little spoon?


Love this stand, such great presentation.
On Saturday night Mr. D took Mr. Lucky and I to Hank's Fine Steaks at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, NV.   WHAT A MEAL!  I can honestly say this was probably the second best meal we've ever had in Las Vegas.  The first, of course, being at our wedding.  As an appetizer I had an heirloom tomato salad with feta, micro arugula and a sherry vinaigrette. It was fantastic and it was the only part of this meal that I got a picture of, sorry!  I was too busy eating.

Delicious! And I want those plates!!!
For my meal I had a bone-in filet mignon. It was perfect.  I can't say it better than that, perfect.  Mr. Lucky had an absolutely huge bone-in rib eye steak.  It was pretty much perfect too, I had a taste. Mr. D had the "King Cut" prime rib.  When I tell you that this was the biggest piece of meat I have ever seen served on a plate I am not exaggerating in the least bit.  They claimed this to be 20 ounces but it was considerably more than that.  It was Fred Flintstone worthy.  Between the three of us we split three sides: horseradish mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and green beans.  All three were excellent.

We barely had room for dessert but the rest of the meal was so great we had to try.  Rationalizing? Maybe a little.  Mr. Lucky had deep fried Oreos with ice cream.  Yup, I said deep fried Oreos. Totally ridiculous and according to him totally awesome.  Mr. D and I had a toffee cake with creme fraiche ice cream.  It was so rich and warm and so so so good.  The ice cream was tasty but seemed as if it had been churned a bit too long.  Mr. Lucky and I are definitely planning a trip back to Hank's, I am counting down the days.

It was a great weekend!  Loryn got a proper welcome to her new home town, we had time with good friends and we ate very very well. 

Talk with you soon!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Surprise....

I have just returned from a surprise trip back to Massachusetts.  And I had a fantastic time!

My parents have a few pool parties every year and they had one scheduled last week for my dad's side of the family.  I usually help my mom with all the food and serving and cleaning, I guess everything.  This was going to be the first one that I would miss and I was really sad.  Especially because it was a family party.  Well, I was sad until Mr. Lucky booked me a plane ticket.  It was a one way ticket, in the hopes that my mom would send me back.  It was a big risk. 

I told no one that I was coming home except for Chelle.  Someone had to pick me up at the airport and I knew she could keep a secret.  She was so excited, almost as much as me. 

I could not wait to surprise my mom when I arrived on the morning of the party.  She literally screamed when she saw me.  She was so happy I was there!  It was great to see the family.

Here are some pictures:

My Nephew Aedan

Aedan & his daddy, my brother Jamie

My Dad

My great-aunts Lois & Marie

My cousins Jessie & Sara

Dad & his sisters Janet & Alicia

A bunch of Murphys

Lois & the newest Murphy, Oliver

My beautiful Aunt Alicia

4 generations

We had such a wonderful time.  The rest of the week I was home was great too.  I am so glad I was able to be home.  And as you probably already figured out, mom sent me home.  She didn't want to but since I will be back in about 6 weeks for a wedding she agreed.

Talk with you soon!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Inspirational Woman....

My beautiful Nana! (Sorry, it's a picture of a picture)
 Today would have been my Nana Lorraine's 84th birthday.  Sh passed away when I was 15 and I still miss her a lot.  Until I was 13 we lived right next door to her and my grandfather.  I was at their house constantly!  She did everything with us including trick or treating.  She was so much fun!

Nana as a clown.  (Another picture of a picture)
Nana was my first inspiration in the kitchen.  She was an amazing cook.  Her holidays were something to behold! She'd put a whole turkey dinner on the table for lunch and then later she'd put a whole roast beef dinner out.  Can you even imagine?   I can barely get one on the table.

I have so many memories of sitting at her table snapping green beans for summer dinners.  I think half the reason I like green beans so much is those memories. 

Happy Birthday Nana!  I love you!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gadgets....

I am a cooking gadget freak.  I have tons of these things in my kitchen drawers and cabinets.  Garlic presses, zesters, knife sharpeners, food processors, bread maker, I could go on and on.

The bread machine is my current favorite.  I hadn't used it in quite awhile but dug it out the other day.  I am so glad I did.  There is nothing like the smell of bread baking in the house.  Yum!  I decided to make a country white bread.

Here is the recipe:

This recipe is from the cookbook that came with my Sunbeam bread maker.  I am pretty sure, but not 100%, it will work with other types of bread makers.

1 cup warm milk (110 - 115 degrees)
1 1/2 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast

Measure and add liquid ingredients to the bread pan.  Measure and add dry ingredients (except yeast) to the bread pan.  Use your finger to form a well (hole) in the flour where you will pour the yeast.  Yeast must NEVER come into contact with a liquid when you are adding ingredients.  Measure the yeast and carefully pour it into the well.

The rest of the recipe is specific to my machine so I will skip it.  It is really just pressing buttons and letting it do it's thing.

This bread was just ok, it wasn't great but it wasn't awful either.  Mr. Lucky and I definitely ate a good amount of the loaf.  He's a carb fanatic like me.  We were meant to be together.  I am hoping to make some cinnamon raisin bread this week.  Hopefully, I will remember my camera for that one! 

Talk with you soon!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

And called it Macaroni....

The last recipe I made for the 4th of July party was a macaroni salad.  I created this recipe a few years ago for one of my Dad's pool parties.  I was usually in charge of the non-grill cooking and wanted a yummy but easy macaroni salad.  I also wanted it to be colorful so I added lots of veggies.

Here is the recipe:

2 boxes macaroni (or any short cut pasta like penne or rotini)
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3-4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 pkt Italian dressing mix
oil, vinegar and water (per the dressing pkt instructions)
salt & pepper to taste

Cook pasta per package instructions, drain and set aside in a large bowl.  Prepare the Italian dressing per the packet instructions and set aside.  Prepare and chop all the vegetables and put the into the bowl with the pasta, mix well.  Add the dressing to the salad and mix well, so everything is coated.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled.

If you like more of a mayonnaise-y salad you can use the same dressing packet with a cup and a half of mayonnaise.  If you find it is too thick you can add a little milk or water to make it thinner.  Then mix it with the salad as with the dressing.

I sometimes add some Feta cheese to the salad too for a little extra flavor.  I bet some Parmesan would be good too if you aren't a fan of Feta.

This week I have a few things planned.  I think I'll keep them secret so you'll see them as I make them.

Talk with you soon!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Gone in 60 seconds (more or less)....

The recipe for this taco dip came from my Aunt Janet.  I get a lot of my recipes and even more of my inspiration from her.  She is an amazing cook and a phenomenal woman.  I was named after her so she must be pretty awesome.  Thanks Jan!

Now for the recipe:

8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. cream cheese
1 lb. ground beef
1 pkt. taco seasoning mix
4 medium tomatoes, chopped (I use Romas)
1 cup black olives, sliced (I leave these out, I don't like olives!)
1 bunch scallions, chopped fine
8 oz. shredded Cheddar

Mix sour cream and cream cheese together.  Brown ground beef, drain and then add the taco seasoning.  Put 3/4 of the cream cheese mixture on bottom and sides of a pie plate.  Next, put a layer of hamburger, then layers of tomato, olive and scallions.  Put rest of the cream cheese mixture on top.  Cover with Cheddar cheese.  Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees, until cheese is melted.  Serve with tortilla chips.

People absolutely love this dip.  It is kinda legendary with our family and friends.  I think that some of our friends only came over so they could have some.  Try it but I have to warn that you may become addicted, seriously! 

Talk with you soon!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Patriotic treats....

I haven't made anything interesting in about a week or so, until yesterday.  I think I made up for the whole week of no recipes in one day!  Mr. Lucky even helped.  I probably should have gotten a picture of that, it doesn't happen all that often. 

We were invited to a July 4th BBQ at one of Mr. Lucky's co-worker's houses.  I volunteered to make my (my Aunt Janet's) famous Taco Dip and a macaroni salad and I added a surprise "plate" at the last minute.  I also wanted to make some cupcakes for Mr. Lucky's people that had to work on the holiday.  A lot right?

All my ingredients!
Let's start with the cupcakes since that is really all I have pictures for.  So, not only is my photography shoddy but sometimes completely omitted.  I am making an effort to get better at remembering to take pictures but the quality may take awhile. 

Anyway, the cupcakes......

The cupcakes themselves were made from a white cake mix.  I added some vanilla and used whole eggs.  I didn't need it to be super white and what am I going to do with the left over egg yolks???  After the batter was mixed up I divided it into thirds and used food coloring to make one third red, one third blue and left the last third white.  See where I am going with this?


When the color was thoroughly mixed in I spooned it into the cupcake papers in the pans. It took me awhile to figure out what order I do the colors.  I finally decided on red on the bottom, white in the middle and blue on top. 

Forgot to take one with the blue on top.

Closer up, the white just spread across the top of the red.
The box of mix claims that you will get 24 cupcakes.  I have NEVER got 24 cupcakes out of one box. I got 18.  It might partly be because I fill them about 3/4 full but who knows. 

Here is how they looked once baked.

So cool!
Inside... love this!

I think these came out super cute.  I cannot wait to try this with other colors.  I think multicolored  cupcakes for a kids birthday party would be great!

The frosting recipe I used is really simple and can be halved or doubled very easily.  I hate fractions so when I can multiply or divide a recipe easily I am happy.

Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk or water (you may need more or less depending on the consistency you are looking for)
1 lb. (4 cups) confectioner's sugar
Pinch of salt
2 drops Orange oil
2 drops Lemon oil (these oils are available at craft stores in the cake/candy aisles)

Cream shortening, butter, vanilla, milk, orange and lemon oils.  Add salt and sugar and mix on medium until all the ingredients have been thoroughly combined. 

I told you it was simple. You'll have to scrape down the sides of your bowl with  a rubber spatula once or twice to make sure everything is incorporated.   Make sure that when you add the sugar that you slowly bring the mixer up to speed so that you do not cover your kitchen.

To add a little more patriotic flair I used toothpicks to put some red and blue gel food coloring on the inside of my piping bag.  This made the frosting kinda striped when it was piped.


I added some red, white and blue star sprinkles too.  I had them and they were cute so why not. 

These were a huge hit when we dropped them off.  The platter was empty before we even left.  That makes me happy.

Here is the surprise that I brought with us......


Blueberries, strawberries and some Monterrey Jack cheese.  I thought it was cute.  I made it on a whim after getting the idea from Pinterest (where else, right?).

Hope you had a great 4th of July!!!  Next up I'll give you the recipes for the Taco dip and Macaroni salad that I brought to the party.

Talk with you soon!