Super Bowl Sunday Foods

I can’t beleive we are in February already! The Super Bowl is this Sunday, February 7th and I thought you might enjoy an easy wings recipe for your party. I make these for many parties that we attend and they are a hit everytime!

 

For the Wings

  • 3 pounds chicken wings (if whole cut up and discard the wing tip)
  • Salt and pepper in a large bowl

For the Seasoned Buffalo Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup  Frank’s Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce 
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Heat the grill to medium-high. Season the wings with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook wing for 12 minutes on each side. Of course, this depends on the size of the chicken wings. Smaller wings taking less time.
  3. While the wings are cooking, make the sauce. Combine the butter and garlic in a small sauce pan. Cook for until the butter is melted. Stir in the hot sauce, salt, onion powder, chili powder and sugar. Set aside.
  4. When the wings are finished on the grill I put them in a large bowl and pour the sauce over the top. Then toss untill every wing is covered in the yummy sauce!
  5. I serve with celery sticks, carrots, ranch and blue cheese dressing.

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I have to say that I am a PANTHERS FAN!! So GOOOOO Panthers!!!

Christmas Sugar Cookies

As promised, a Christmas Cookie recipe!

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Sugar Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, salted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Add a dash of salt if you used unsalted butter

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a second bowl, combine and mix well the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir flour into butter mixture 1 cup at a time. I did chill the dough this time for a few hours but only because I had an errand to run. You don’t have to chill.

Roll out dough and cut into shapes with cookie cutters or a knife.Instead of using flour to roll my cookies out I used powdered sugar. Bake on a cookie sheet or a parchment lined sheet pan in a preheated 325* oven for 10 to 13 minutes depending on the size of the cookie. Remove cookies to a rack to cool completely.

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I then made icing out of  powdered sugar , vanilla, butter and a little bit of half and half. I colored the with food color that I bought at a local grocery store.

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I iced some cookies and put colored sugar on others. If you use colored sugar to decorate your cookies, you will need to do that before they are baked.

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If you put icing on your cookies, that would be done after they are baked and cooled.

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I did have one little helper:

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I think her favorite part was licking the extra icing and sprinkles up that fell off the cookies. It was a lot of fun havig her here to help me. This was her first year of “really” helping.

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Happy Baking!

 

 

Our House

Some of you have asked for an update on the house. It has come along way but still has a long way to go.

After the 11 days of rain we had in September the footings and foundation were done. I must say it has felt extremely rainy this year.

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Then came the framing which also took 6 weeks due to rain.

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Finally the windows and doors came! Now we can officially say that we are “dried in”.

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Now is the time that it will seem to go slower than ever because the walls and roof are up and the rest of the stuff is inside small stuff like, HVAC, electrial, plumbing and etc.. All these things are important things to be done, but slow. There are now wires hanging down everywhere, exposed pipes and air vents being put in. But to me that means progress!

In our powder room we are using a wine barrel as a cabinet to house our sink. We bought the wine barrel months ago on line from a winery. When we were moving from our house to storage,  I told everyone to make sure the wine barrel was at the front of storage so it would be accessible when we needed it for the house. Well, I didn’t tell the right people that info because when we needed it, it was in the far back corner of the storage unit. It was a good thing that Jason, our son-in-law had a great memory and told us where it was. Otherwise, Mike would have had to empty the entire storage unit.

I can’t wait to show a picture of the sink! As I said before, our builder is awesome and a great craftsman.

Life goes on in the apartment life. Still small and with Christmas, getting smaller by the day. Our second bedroom is now being used as Santa’s warehouse! That room looks like I am a hoarder!

All of these things will be a small memory in about 4 month when we move in our new house. After all, it’s not only about the house, it’s about the journey that gets us there and the lessons learned along the way!

I am baking next week so check in for some holiday cookie recipes.

Oh yeah, and our tree this year is very small!

 

 

Leftover Bread Crust

On Saturday, I made finger sandwiches for a “high tea” baby shower. I had all of this bread crust left over and it was too much to throw away. I thought of going to the park and feeding the ducks, stuffing for our turkey, french bread sticks and so on. My taste buds we all over the map!

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I came up with the idea of a French Toast Casserole.

I grabed a few casserole pans and sprayed them with Pam.

Then I chopped the bread up into bite size peices and put them into the greased pan. The fact that most of my bread was the ends of the bread did’t matter.

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Get a good size bowl and add 8 eggs. I used 2 bowls because I made the recipe one and a half times.

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Then added all other wet ingreditents and whipped with a wire whip.

I added sugar and vanilla next and mixed well. Then pour mixture over the bread peices.

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Next you need to make the topping and sprinkle on top. It is so easy!

  • FOR THE FRENCH TOAST:
  • lots of bread crust or 1 loaf of crusty bread
  • 8 whole Eggs
  • 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Whipping (heavy) Cream
  • 3/4 cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  • FOR THE TOPPING:
  • 1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces

INSTRUCTIONS

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks (or cut into cubes) and evenly distribute in the pan.

In a medium sized bowl mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Add butter pieces and cut them into the dry mixture until mixture looks like fine pebbles.When you’re ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 350 F.  Sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture.

Top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup.

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I knew I could figure something out for those bread crust! This also makes a great Thanks giving breakfast!

Spinach Quiche

This week my husband Mike asked me to make quiche for dinner. He said he wanted something different. That was music to my ears and a challenge for me to come up with something I had not made before. I right away started digging through the fridge for choices and flavors. Everything taste better with bacon in it, so I pulled bacon out, spinach, bella mushrooms, eggs, heavy whipping cream and milk.

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First, I sprayed my pie pan with PAM so the dough would not stick and baked it for 10 minutes on 350* before adding the mixture. My pie pan is deep so if you buy a shell in the foil pan, make sure it is deep.

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Then I took a good size bowl and added the heavy cream, eggs, cheese and milk. Mixed well and added garlic salt, onion powder and sage. Again, I mixed well. After mixing well set aside and begin chopping your spinach, bacon and muchrooms.036

Put all ingredients in the bowl and stir. Pour all of the mixture into the prebaked pie shell.

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Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350* and you will get a beautiful quiche that has wonder taste!

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Here is the recipe:

1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream

1 cup milk

4 eggs

1 package of swiss cheese (sandwich slices) chopped

4 cups fresh chopped spinach

10 bella mushrooms (you can use any kind of mushrooms)

6 pieces of bacon (I buy the already cooked bacon)

1/4 teaspoon onion power

1/4 teaspooon sage

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.

I served a baked sweet potatoe and salad with my quiche. It was a almost pan free dinner. If I would have used a pie shell in a foil pan, it would have been pan free. So this is an easy clean up dinner too!

Happy cooking!

Pumpkin Muffins

This is a great recipe to make Pumpkin Muffins. At this time of year everything is pumpkin so if you are looking to impress someone with a simple recipe, you are in luck!

Pumpkin Muffins w/ Streusel Topping

1  1/2 C Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger

1 teaspoon Allspice

1/4 tsp. Nutmeg

1 cup Pure Pumpkin Puree

1 1/4 C. Sugar

1/3 C. Oil

2 Eggs

Whisk together dry ingredients, except the sugar, in a medium bowl. In another medium sized bowl whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, oil, and eggs. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Do not over mix, once it seems just combined, STOP. Let rest while you make the crumbly topping.

Streusel Topping

1/2 C. Flour

1/3 C. Sugar

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 Chopped Nuts (I didn’t have any this time around. But I’d use either pecans or walnuts)

3 Tbl. Butter, cut into small pieces

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl with your fingers. Try to work the flour and sugar into the butter. It will eventually all combine and you’ll have a crumble topping!

Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non stick spray or line with cupcake liners.  Pour 1/4 C. muffin mix into each muffin tin. Now top each with a small handful of the streusel topping. Have any leftover? Nope, not ok. Find places to squeeze in every last bit of that topping! You won’t regret it!

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in muffin tins for 5 minutes before removing to finish cooling on wire rack.

Happy Baking!!

Building A House

Building a house can be fun! You think I am crazy, right?

When the Parade of Homes comes around I always get so excited! I love to look at new homes and get ideas for my present home or a new home. For several years I have watched Builders MD in the Greensboro area. He has had several houses in the Parade and we liked him due to his craftsmanship. Of all the houses we looked at, I noticed that David never took the “cheap” way out. His homes have a finished look that no other homes had and his price was reasonable. I knew if I could get Mike to build again, I would use David at Builders MD. It took a few years but we are finally at that place.

We went to an architect and had a plan drawn up. Then we had several well know builders give us a bid on it. The bids were anywhere from $50,000.00 to $200,000.00 different. If I had not seen the homes in the Parade of Homes and how each builder presented him/herself I would not have been as confident in my choice of a builder. If you are thinking of building, go to the Parade, ask questions, look at quality and get ideas!

Trying to figure out where to build is next. Land is scearce in the county and that is where we are headed, We had to ask ourselves if we wanted several acres or if we wanted to live in a neighborhood? We choose a neighborhood.

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For us, a neighborhood helps house values and there is saftey in having neighbors. We really wanted to buy a good amount of land and have our family build there also but we would have to move too far out and maybe to another county for that.

The land has now been cleared and we have choose our brick and mortar.

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We chose a colored mortar which did cost quite a bit more than gray mortar. I didn’t realize that mortar can make that big of a difference buy it does! As we drove around looking at brick, mortar and stone, we found this house and loved it! This house is in another county so we decided to use the same colors.

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The footings and foundation have been completed and inspected! Yay! The framing starts tomorrow!

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We can’t wait to share the rest of the story with you! You will see what a great builder we have and I hope you can take something from our experience that will make your experience better.

Fall Is In The Air!

Fall weather has set in! The cool mornings that warm up in the afternoon and then cool off in the evening give us varity in our day and in our wardrobe. Figuring out what to put on the kids for school is a chore. Jackets on in the morning and left at school or in the bookbag by afternoon. The sky is a deeper blue and the air seems somehow more fresh, mums and pansies are thriving, tailgating has kicked up again and routines have started back. You have to love it!

When cooler weather sets in it makes me think of everything pumpkin and cooking warm comfort foods and soups. Living in our apartment leave no space for decorating for fall. We don’t have a mantel and everything else is so low that the dog will get it. At our house Maverick (the dog) had more than one room to go in so he didn’t notice the decorations as much nor did he mess with them but here I think I would come home to a mess. Since I can’t decorate I cook! I found this recipe on Pinterest and it is wonderful! You can find more recipes from the soup maker at http://www.cinnamonandspice&everythingnice.com

OLIVE GARDEN’S ZUPPA TOSCANA

Zuppa Toscana Olive Garden Copycat Recipe

Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and a wedge of crusty bread for a hearty, inspired and satisfying meal!

OLIVE GARDEN’S ZUPPA TOSCANA

Rating: 5

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 – 5 servings

A copycat Tuscan soup recipe just like Olive Garden’s!

INGREDIENTS:

4 slices bacon, cut into a small dice
1 pound hot Italian sausage, ground or links with casings removed
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups (32 ounces) chicken broth or stock
3 cups Russet potatoes, cubed
sea or kosher salt and fresh black pepper
2 loose packed cups kale, in bite size pieces
1 cup heavy cream or 14 ounce can evaporated milk
Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large soup pot or sauce pan cook bacon over medium until crispy. Add sausage and break it apart as it cooks. Once sausage is browned and crumbled drain off the grease leaving a tablespoon or two to saute the onion.
  2. Push the sausage to the edges of the pot and add onion to center – saute until translucent then add garlic and saute until fragrant.
  3. Stir in broth and potatoes, season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, simmer for about 20 minute or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Add kale and heavy cream or evaporated milk. Bring to a simmer. Taste and re-season as needed. Serve with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

This is not my recipe but it is AMAZING!! It really warms your belly and sets your taste buds looking for more.

Cinnamon Butter

A few weeks ago I made a cilantro butter for some fresh corn that I had bought at the Farmers Market. Our granddaughter Kealee heard me say that I had made butter. Her little brain started turning and thinking of butter flavors. She then asked me if I would teach her to make butter. She explained how difficult it was to keep the sugar and cinnamon on her toast and that we needed to make Cinnamon Butter. Smart kid!

We made a butter spread and a log of butter. Kealee wanted her butter to spread easy so she chose to make spread. As did Cohen. Joy wanted a stick or log butter.

We used a small food processor, heavy whipping cream, raw sugar and cinnamon.

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Cinnamon Butter

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 TBS raw sugar

1/8 tsp cinnamon

Put whipping cream in food processor. Whip for 2-3 minutes. The whipping cream should look like cream by this point. Add cinnamon and sugar. Whip another few minutes. If you want spread to be hard like a stick of butter whip longer. When the mixture separates the water from the fat remove the butter from the processor and shape into a log. Squeezing  the remaining water out. Wrap in plastic wrap and refridgerate.

If you want your butter to be spread, whip less and put it in a tupperware container. Then refridgerate.

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They ate their butter on toast for breakfast the next day and loved it!!!

This is a great easy thing to do with kids and does not take very long to do. We did it within an hour including clean up.

Happy cooking!

Chicken Burgers! Yum!

First of all, let me tell you that the Fresh Market has non-antibiotic, non-hormon boneless, skinless chicken breast every Tuesday for 2.99 per pound. The ground Chicken is also 2.99 per pound. I had laid out ground chicken for dinner yesterday but I was not really sure of what I was going to make with it. While looking in my fridge I decided to make Chicken Burgers. We do not eat a lot of bread so I came up with something a little different. Also, I needed to clear out a few veggies from my refridge so I used what I had. I cleaned the fridge and made dinner. Two birds with one stone!

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I needed to use the brussel sprouts and spinach before they went bad so I placed the burger on a bed of wilted garlic spinach with a fresh cut tomato and diced red onions.

The spinach is cooked in olive oil that I sliced fresh garlic up in. Then I just watched the spinach and stired it until it was done.

The brussel sprouts have 1 inch peice of fresh ginger,  1 garlic clove and butter in them. I sauteed them until they were ready. I don’t like real soft, smushy brussel sprouts so mine are a little under cooked.I squeezed a fresh lemon half over the top at end of cooking them.

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Here is the recipe for the burgers:

1 pound ground chicken

1/2 carton of mushrooms chopped

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves diced small

1/2 cup raw bacon chopped

1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbled

1 egg

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup heavy cream

Mix well!

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Make burgers. I made 5 good size burgers from mine.

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I live in an apartment right now and I do not have my grill so I pan seared each side for about 2 minutes and then put them in the oven at 350* for 15 minutes to finish cooking. Remember, this is not beef so we need to cook it all the way through.

It was the most flavorable burger I have ever had! There was a party going on in my mouth! Beleive me, you have got to try this one. Happy cooking!