Saturday, August 18, 2012

Just Peachy

What do you do when your sweet daughter goes on a peach kick?  You buy peaches every time you go to the store and then she decides not to eat them.  I had a case of them in the fridge that I was about to throw out.  I considered making some peach cobbler but my waistline begged me not to.  Plus, I hate peeling fruit!  I have often heard if you drop the peaches in boiling water for a couple of minutes the skins pull right off.  I gave it a shot and it worked like a charm.  Now I have a bowl full of naked peaches just waiting on me to decide what to do with them.  I'm thinking of making a peach puree' to keep in the fridge for bellinis. You all know how I love the "champs" so a little peach puree' couldn't hurt, right?
Drop the peaches into a pot of boiling water and let them hang out in there for about two minutes.  Remove them with a slotted spoon, then as soon as they are cool enough to handle pull the skins off.  
It's hard to tell, but these are the peeled peaches.  The blush color from the skins is still on the fruit, they are so pretty! If you've heard of this little trick and wondered if it works, I'm here to tell you it does; give it a go. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

I'm Afraid of Pie

There, I said it.  I'm afraid of pie.  My Mam-Ma made the best pies in the world.  I've yet to have a slice of pie that was as delicious as hers or see one that looked quite as pretty.  It seemed so effortless to her, the way she handled the dough, dropping in just tiny bits of ice water until it was the perfect consistency to roll.  She always had some pie dough in the freezer, just waiting to be made into one of her tempting treats.  Apple (hers was pink inside), and chocolate meringue were my favorites.  What I wouldn't give to be standing next to her on that green metal stool just watching her work her magic one more time.  I bet I would pay closer attention, 'cause this girl can't make a pie crust.  About that pink apple pie, red hots were her secret ingredient.  All my life I have thought other apple pies just weren't near as pretty.  She didn't go for the big chunks of apple either, this woman could slice apples paper thin.  Imagine these paper thin slices of apples just mounded up inside the pie plate.  I can still see her putting the top crust on and so nimbly pinching the edges to make the perfect flute.  I am fortunate that I do have a hand written recipe of that pie dough, but it intimidates me.  Maybe one day I will conquer that fear, but in the meantime, ain't nothin' wrong with a Pillsbury pie crust.  I buy the one in the refrigerator section, not the frozen one in the tin.  This way, you can put it in your own dish and it actually looks homemade.  It doesn't hold a candle to Mam-Ma's, but it beats mine to pieces!

Last weekend a girlfriend was telling me they had been on a pineapple kick.  Since we were going to their house for dinner I decided to try my hand at one of Mam-Ma's pie recipes, pineapple cream with a meringue top.  If you're not into meringue, this would be just as delicious with a whipped cream top, with maybe a little toasted coconut sprinkled over it.  This wasn't one she made often, but it was always good.  My meringue wasn't nearly as high, and my store bought crust wasn't as beautiful, but it tasted almost the same. I sure wish she was here to have some with me!

Obviously, my fingers aren't as nimble, but I can use a fork!

Next time, I'll use 4 eggs instead of 2 to make my meringue taller, but it sure did brown up nicely.

This is the recipe I used and I highly recommend it.  In reading this recipe, it seems many a grandmother made a pineapple cream pie.  If it sounds strange to  you, I understand, but try it!  It's evidenced (or not) by the fact that I don't have a photo of the finished pie, it was gone that quick! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

So Much to little time to tell it

I have abandoned my little blog lately.  I'm sure you all noticed, right? (Crickets)  It's actually crazy that I haven't written because I have so much going on that would provide plenty of material.  I've been busy starting my new job; I gave up my teaching career to start a new chapter in the work world.  I am very fortunate to have found a new career that allows me to use what I know about schools and education in a whole new way.  I am working with a publisher of children's books on the digital side.  In a nutshell, I work with schools to develop a custom professional development plan that will allow them to implement their new library of over 2500 digital books.  I am really busy and have lots to learn but I have been loving every minute of it.  I had the opportunity to travel to San Diego for a technology conference a couple of weeks ago.  Have you been to San Diego?  It was my first time and I have to tell you it was A-MA-ZING.  First and foremost let's talk about the weather.  It was sunny and in the upper 70's or low 80's every day; I'll take that over this Oklahoma heat wave any day!  I had no idea there was so much to do in San Diego.  My husband came to meet me after the conference was over and we stayed through the weekend.  We drove to Carlsbad which was the cutest little beach town.  Then to La Jolla where we walked along the beach and got to see the sea lions, so cute!  Then we drove to Del Mar for dinner and enjoyed a beautiful beach sunset while we ate.  On the way back to our hotel we stopped in Old Town. It was like a short trip to Mexico! Too bad we were stuffed silly from our dinner, there were so many restaurants and Mexican is one of our favorites.  We had planned to go back for dinner the next night, but didn't make it...that's another story for another day.  We were fortunate to make it over to Coronado Island for a day of shopping and sight seeing.  The Hotel Del was just one of the most amazing places I've seen.  It's full of history and so picturesque.  The pictures we took just don't do it justice.  We zipped through Little Italy one day where they had the cutest little grocery stores and fun little shops.  We had pizza and gelato while visiting, when in Rome Little Italy...
The sea lions in La Jolla, really cute, but really stinky too!
The "Del"
His and Hers beach cocktails. 
 His is self explanatory.
Hers is a margarita made with pineapple and chile infused tequila.
Our beach side dinner view in Del Mar

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Liquid Strawberry Shortcake

Here's my inspiration recipe, but I kicked it up a notch.  Mama loves some champagne and I saw an opportunity here.  I am not a sweet cocktail drinker so I wasn't sure how this would fair.  Let me say that it fairs well.  Follow that inspiration recipe but use a champagne flute and top the mixture with some bubbly.  When I'm using champagne for cocktails I use Tott's Brut, the price is right and it tastes fine.  Tip: the fruit makes the champagne really bubble up, so pour with caution. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Menu Monday

I decided to link up on Rachel's blog for Menu Monday.  I am a faithful reader of her blog, but have never linked up.  Those of you that know me in real life already know that I cook most every night.  I'm just not always thinking about taking pics of what we had, so I will try to be better about that. Some of the things on the menu last week include:
Since I didn't take a pic of mine, I borrowed this photo from How Sweet it is, the blog that I got the recipe from. I really liked this, but mine was way soupier than I think it was supposed to be.  I remedied that by taking the chicken out of the cooking liquid once it was done and shredding it into a separate dish.  I then just added the amount of sauce needed to make it the right consistency for us.  I didn't cook it quite as long as the recipe called for, so if you will be cooking it all day, you may not run into that.  The leftovers were really good in a salad, I made a dressing using some of the leftover sauce and added some green onion and cilantro and tossed it all with a big bowl of salad greens.  This would also do double duty for you if you wanted to make a BBQ chicken pizza.  I planned to do that, but didn't get around to it before the chicken was all gone.  I will make extra next time. 

I made quiche for dinner one night, I like to make to so I can eat it through the week for breakfast too. I have started using Kate's recipe as the base and then I just add whatever veggies I have on hand.  This week, it was asparagus, spinach, and mushrooms.

Wednesday nights we host an American Idol watch party and I have a couple of girlfriends come over to eat.  This week we had an Asian Chicken Salad, similar to this one from Pioneer Woman. We served it with edamame and plenty of vino, (Wednesdays are fun)!

Thursday and Friday we ate out, but Saturday we had a Cinco de Mayo feast over at some of our dear friends' house.  They have a gorgeous pool and the weather was perfect for sitting outside.  I made these Sour Cream Enchiladas to go along with all the other great food...we always over eat when we visit these particular friends!  I love these enchiladas but they really are pretty hard to do by yourself, you need an extra set of hands.  We set up a little assembly line and I get the hubs to help me!  It's pretty fun because he really doesn't do much cooking and I enjoy having him in the kitchen with me.  We always double, or even triple, this recipe.  I figure if you're going to make the mess, might as well make plenty! They reheat really well from the refrigerator, I haven't ever tried to freeze them though. 
My line cook

Here they are before going into the oven, I didn't get an "after" pic because we took them to over to the party to bake later. I serve these with my home made salsa and fresh guacamole. I also like to sprinkle chopped red onion and cilantro over them before serving, but they are great without that too.

As you can see, I get lots of inspiration from blogs I read, hopefully I can inspire a few of you out there to cook more meals at home!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weekend Getaway

I had the opportunity to join the hubs on a business trip last weekend.  His company hosted an awards banquet in Kansas City and I was so glad I was able to go. We stayed at the Sheraton Country Club Plaza, and it was perfect.  The location was phenomenal, right on the Plaza so we were able to walk everywhere.  The Plaza makes for great shopping and we spend most of Saturday doing just that.  We had great dinners both Friday and Saturday night.  Friday night we spent some time at a mixer/reception then headed out to eat with the other couple that was there with us.  There were so many choices of places to eat that it was a hard decision, but we ended up at Brio.  My friend and I split the Halibut because we weren't that hungry after snacking at the reception.  It was good, but the real hit for us was the Gimlet(s) we had.  They were so refreshing with all the lime, mint and cucumber muddled right it.  They went down pretty easy.  A bunch of folks were heading to the new casino out there but we were all so tired we skipped that.  As I said, we spent all day Saturday shopping so I was glad we rested up.  The hubs had never eaten at a California Pizza Kitchen so we stopped in for lunch.  He had a pizza that was ON FIRE hot and I got a roasted veg salad.  Overall, it was just ok, but now he can say he's been there. 

The shopping on the plaza is great! I got to go into some stores that we don't have here at home. H&M and Kate Spade were among my faves.  I didn't take many pics at all, but I did snap this with my phone.
I LOVE Tim Gunn, and there he was right in front of Kate Spade; there was a fashion show on the plaza and he was the commentator.  He is just as funny in person as he is on TV. After our marathon shopping day we went back to the hotel to freshen up for the awards banquet.  Here we are waiting on the shuttle to take us to the Intercontinental, which by the way was gorgeous!

Kelly and I both were sporting our white wedges. I probably haven't worn white shoes since my mother dressed me in white patent Mary Janes, but I just loved these.  Kelly's were really cute too and I think I am going to get the same ones in black.
I sure was glad she was there, we kept ourselves pretty well entertained during the ceremony.
We ended Saturday night at a neat Mexican place called Zocalo, the atmosphere was fun and the food was excellent.  The only thing that was a little weird to me was that you had to pay for chips and salsa.  I will say that when you order it, you get a huge serving of several different types of salsas and plenty of chips.  It was a really pretty presentation, but again, I didn't take a pic. We had such a great weekend, I highly recommend that area if you are looking for a low key getaway and live anywhere near KC.  It was about a three and a half hour drive for us, not too bad.  Where are your favorite getaway spots?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pita Pizzas

I've been really hitting up the cooking blogs lately! I decided a few weeks ago to try and go meatless at least one night per week.  I figure if I make it delicious, even the hubs won't complain.  But then, hey, if he's complaining about having a plate of food set down in front of him upon walking in the door from work...well let's just hope he likes PBJ's.  I stumbled upon a post for this pizza made on a pita.  It included avocados, which admittedly seemed kind of weird.  But, since I had some going south in my fridge, I decided to give it a try.  I will totally cop to the fact that my laziness in not wanting to go to the store for something else was what nudged me to make these.  I made a few modifications to this recipe; I added some red onion to my pizzas and topped them with crushed red pepper and a little more cilantro after they came out of the oven.  I doubled the sauce recipe and used lots more jalapeno that it called for and less oil.  I had lots of leftover sauce and I plan to use it on taco salads for another dinner.  I can best describe the sauce as a cilantro pesto.  It's so pretty and fresh!  These made for an easy and delicious weeknight supper, but would just as easily be perfect at a party.  I think they would taste great at room temperature so you wouldn't have to serve them straight from the oven (not that I'd know since I pretty much inhaled mine as soon as it was done).
Oh, and for the record, the hubs really liked these too.  He dodged the PBJ bullet!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Overnight Oats

These aren't your typical oats, I think these would be more aptly called breakfast pudding. So don't let the idea of cold oatmeal turn you off, try these!  I used this recipe for the base but  I didn't add any fruit until ready to serve; I did sweeten all of my jars with Stevia as I made them.  After searching the web for other versions, I found the basic recipes to all be pretty similar, but the sky is the limit as far as add-ins.  We did fresh strawberries and bananas this morning.  I added a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg to mine and it was really good.  I found it to be easier to put the oats into a bowl so I could really stir the fruit in, the jars were pretty full. 
If you've never used chia seeds, you will love them.  You can read all about them here, there are also some other inspiration recipes for overnight oats.  I can't wait to try the pumpkin and the peanut butter!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pretty for the Prom

It's prom season! My daughter had hers this weekend.  Her school does a junior/senior prom, she's a junior this year so we will get to do this again next year.  Prom is easy for boys, I'm not saying it's cheap, just easier! When my son went to prom we rented a tux, gave him money for tickets and dinner and that was it.  Girls are whole different ball of wax.  The dress shopping starts early, luckily we found the winner pretty easily.  I loved the dress my daughter chose and it was it was well within our budget.  I have heard horror stories of girls trying on dozens of dresses or finding the dress they really wanted only to find that it's way out of the price range.  Hallie did try on several dresses but she found the one pretty easily. It was really fun to see her in all the different colors and styles, but the one she ended up with was just so perfect for her.  Mom was with us on the dress shopping trip and she purchased the shoes for us, thanks Nana! After the dress, there's the hair, the makeup, the nails, the accessories...the primping seems to be endless.  We opted for Hallie to do her own hair, but she did have her makeup done.  We felt this was a good compromise since so many girls that do have their hair done for prom end up hating it anyway.  Some even redid their hair themselves after taking the time and spending the money for someone else to do it.  We have always had good luck with makeup at the MAC counter.  The makeup artists are so fun and really want the girls to be happy with their look.  Hallie wanted something really bold and fun, and we were both thrilled with the results. The prom was on Saturday and lots of the kids were taking the ACT that morning too.  Since she had to be up early and needed to be well rested, Friday night we went to the nail salon.  We both got pedicures, then she had her nails and brows done.  It was fun mom and daughter time, we even ran into some of her friends doing the same thing.  I thought I'd share some pics with you guys so you can see the fruits of our labor, hahaha! She looked gorgeous, but more importantly, she had a great time. 

Somehow, getting measured for a tux just isn't near as fun!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This Easter is one of the best I've ever had.  The older I get, the more clear it becomes how very blessed I am in the family department.  My sister was home with all of her kids in tow, and both my kids were able to join us since neither of them had to work.  It's not very often that we all get to be together even though we really don't live that far apart.  My family went to church the Friday before Easter Sunday so we were able to have the whole day at mom and dad's.  I got up early to boil eggs for the deviled eggs I took for lunch.  I also picked up a carrot cake, I just think Easter calls for it.  However, this wasn't my smartest move since all I can think about is eating the rest of it.  I finally threw out the last piece last night, not before I ate plenty of it after school. 

One funny thing we did was take my new nephew's picture in an Easter egg hat and bib that my son had his picture taken in on his first Easter.  They share the same birthday, 20 years apart! We even got Drew to let us snap his picture in it too, I'll spare him the embarrassment of sharing that with you, but trust me, it'll be good for a laugh for many years to come!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sweet Things

Babies and cupcakes, does it get any sweeter than that?  I went to visit my new nephew this weekend. It was a quick trip and I didn't get near enough time with my sister, but at least I got my snuggle fix.  While my sister was busy with ball games, we went to shop the outlet mall in Oklahoma City.  On the way there we stopped at Green Goodies, a cutel little cupcakery my sister told me about.  I'm sorry to say that I did't take any pictues of the actual cupcakes.  You'll just have to trust me, they were fabulous.  I did snag some pics from their website to show you the contenders.  The Hostess was the clear winner, followed closely by the Red Velvet.  If you live near the area, get there soon.

I did however take plenty of pictures of this sweet boy...

Hallie meeting Sam for the first time

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Golden Birthday

My boy had his "Golden Birthday" this month.  Have you all heard of this?  I had never heard of it until recently.  It's when you turn the age of the date of your birthday.  Drew turned 20 on the 20th!  I just cannot believe my baby boy is twenty.  I think that's a hard age.  You are and adult, but really, you're not.  Does that make sense?  The law says you are, and you really think you are, but there are just so many things that you don't know; things that you don't even know you don't know.  But it's also such a unique time in your life when you literally have your whole life ahead of you.  I mean, we all have our whole lives ahead of us, but I mean at 20, there are just so many possibilities.  So many in fact, that I think it's sometimes scary for kids at that age, it's hard to commit to "what do I want to do for the rest of my life?" It's hard for my 20 year old boy to understand that he really is still just a boy.  It's hard for me to understand that he really is becoming a man.  I guess though, he will always be "my boy", no matter how old he is...whether he likes it or not. 
And yes, that hat does say DEATHWISH.  Really?  While you are getting ready to make a wish for your birthday?  No.  Just no.  I even told him not to wear it.  Both he and my daughter made fun of me and told me said hat is very cool. She acutally bought him the hat for his birthday. As evidenced by the photo, you can see  the problem with this 20 year old thing is that he doesn't want to mind his momma anymore.   I love you so much Brother!

Monday, March 12, 2012


I know I have been MIA lately, which I guess in blog land is the equivalent of being rendered speechless.  I have been so humbled lately by the many blessings I have.  There are people in my life that have been faced with some pretty insurmountable things recently; some are coworkers, others are life long friends.  Some of these things are so tragic, they are literally unspeakable.  I have learned what it means to truly hurt for another person. I haven't blogged because I feel like what I have to say is so trivial and meaningless sometimes.  I have felt like I should have something really profound to say, and the truth is, I just don't.  I read a really inspirational post here, it just really spoke to me.  It motivated me to get over the hump and just blog.  Just because life hands us lemons, doens't mean we have to suck on them.  Squeeze those babies and add some sugar, and if you really need a pick me up, throw in a little bit (or a lot) of vodka.  In other words, life goes on.  Although I now have a deeper understanding of the old adage, things can change in the blink of an eye. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Trying New Things

I'm never opposed to trying new things in the food realm, but it is easy to just use what you know.  Do you ever feel stuck in a cooking rut?  I typically buy my old favorites when shopping for produce. Case in point, kale. It's one of those things I had never tried until recently.  I'm kind of bummed that I'm just now discovering how delicious it can be.  It's also super convenient because of how hearty the leaves are.  It's not like spinach or lettuce in that it won't wilt if you dress your salad then store it for a couple of days.  As a matter of fact, it even gets tastier! The first time I tried it I made Kale Chips.  The hubs and I both liked them, but they didn't knock our socks off by any means.  I was actually a little disappointed because I had been hearing about how delicious they are.  Fast forward a few weeks and my class had a tasting day during their weekly Global Gardens class. Kale was one of the items they had been growing so the teacher brought some in and we got to talking about it.  I told her about my kale chip experience and she shared this salad recipe with me.  I'm so glad she did, now I can whole heartedly say I love kale!  If you've never tried it, hopefully I can inspire you to try something new.  Skip the chips and go for the salad (this coming from the girl who usually would do the opposite, just ask my jeans!)

Kale Salad with Apricots, Avocado, and Parmesan
Serves one
6-8 ounces of kale 
6-8 dried apricots
1/3 or so cup cooked beans *I used chick peas
1/4 or so cup almonds
8-10 flakes of Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 avocado
salt and pepper

Fold the pieces of kale in half lengthwise and use your fingers to tear out the tough inner stem.  Tear all the leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Cut the apricots into little bits and add them to the bowl with the kale, along with the beans, the almonds, and the cheese. Whisk together the oil and vinegar and pour the vinaigrette and a healthy pinch of salt over the salad and use your fingers to toss and rub everything together.  Just before eating, slice the avocado into cubes and spoon them over the salad.

This recipe can be really flexible too, use any beans you love and whatever nuts you have in the house.  I acutally mixed up a bigger batch and it kept really nicely in the fridge for a couple of days.

*On a side note, if you aren't familiar with Global Gardens, here's a little intro from their website:
Global Gardens is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering students and communities through hands on-science education. We believe helping students create a garden is a way to not only assist them in learning about science, health and the environment but also challenge them to become caring, forward thinking and confident individuals. Global Gardens is committed to planting seeds of change!
Our school is very fortunate to participate in Global Gardens and have gardens on our campus.  My class' garden is a Pizza Garden where they planned for, built and take care of all kinds of herbs and veggies that go on a pizza. Their garden is even round and divided into "slices".

Monday, February 13, 2012

Boys, Boys, Boys

Let me preface this by saying, I've never been that girl.  The one with a perpetual crush on the "flavor of the month" it boy. Until recently. I guess I'm just a late bloomer.

Adam Levine; the smirk, that voice, those tattoos...
Blake Shelton, bonus that you can get 2 for 1 if you watch the Voice.  Adam and Blake are both so funny on that show, I love their bantering back and forth.
Channing Tatum, he's new to the list since seeing The Vow.  This may be a fleeting thing, because he's really never caught my eye before.  Too beefcake for me, but the movie is so sweet! 
Ryan Gosling. The Notebook.  That is all.
And rounding out my Top 5 is this dude...
I saved the very best for last. 
I am so lucky to spend every day of my life with my real life crush.  We should all be so lucky.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Spreading the Love

I made these devilishly decadent brownies over the weekend.  They are so delicious that I  had to get them out of my line of vision decided to share some with my sweet friends at work.  The recipe is perfect for a Valentine's Day treat, they are fudgy and rich and the dried cherries make them a little bit festive. 
If you feel like spreading a little love, you can find the recipe here on my Pinterest board.