Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tool Time!!!

It has been awhile since I got a new toy but I have been looking for a tortilla press. I have looked everywhere and last week I finally saw a Mexican grocery store and thought “ummm yeah hello go in” but sadly I didn’t have time until today. I got a wooden press that looks great. I love to make my own tortilla as they are so delish. Fresh made has a totally different flavor then the gummy store bought ones. I do buy the store bought ones as I don’t always have time to make my own. When I lived in St Louis there was a restaurant called Chevy’s Fresh Mex and they had no cans or pre made items allowed in their kitchen. They had a person who made their tortillas right there on a giant griddle type machine. I have spent the last 4 yrs looking for tortillas at every Mexican place but alas none compare. Before we moved to Indiana I bought the cookbook available in the restaurant so the following recipe is for amazingly perfect tortillas. Be warned they must be eaten fresh or they do get dry.

Chevy’s Famous Tortillas

Makes 16 8 in tortillas

6 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable shorting cut into small pcs
2 ½ cups warm water

Mix flour, baking powder and salt then add shorting turn mixer to low and add the water slowly. Mix about 2 minutes on low.

Scrape the dough out divide the dough in half- cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. Divide each half into 8 balls. You will have 16 balls. Lightly flour your work surface. Roll out into 8 inch rounds stack the rounds with a piece of plastic wrap between each layer. Let rest 1 last time for 10 minutes. Heat your skillet medium heat and spray with vegetable oil spray. Cook for a minute on each side. You will see some brown spots and BOOM! It’s done

Basically it is a super fast recipe the main time is resting time. During that time is perfect to get the rice and other things going.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My perfect dinner

I am feeling yucky tonight. I’m not sick just blahhhh. I made my second favorite feeling blah meal. My favorite is crepes and my next favorite is an egg sandwich. Not just plain egg but I lightly toast a slice of bread then slather strawberry jelly on top. No butter and NO grape jelly. I cook the egg until the white is set but the yolk is runny then add salt. I break the yolk on top the strawberry toast. To me this is bliss. It is sweet and salty and soft but crunchy but chewy. It is nice comfort after a long day. The kids love eggs for dinner because they love breakfast at night they always act like it is so silly.

update on the sushi experiment

I made a few shrimp rolls extra as I thought they would be good the next day. I sealed them carefully to keep them moist and tight. They did not do well overnight. I think that may be the main difference with using sticky rice and using what I had; they got very dry and crumbly so I am going on another quest to find sticky rice tomorrow. If I can’t find sticky rice then I know that I must make less rice as the regular long grain doesn’t hold up well. I just thought I would let you know as I am sure other people have had trouble finding sticky rice and have tried other methods to make sushi.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sushi Time

One of my favorite things about living in Delaware was the sushi restaurants. They were everywhere and they were all so yummy even the grocery stores had it. Then I moved to Oklahoma where tuna comes in a can and that is it! I was at the market the other day and saw some dried seaweed and thought maybe the time had come to try my own. Well I must admit I am pleased. I was unable to find sticky rice anywhere so I decided to just wing it and I used regular rice. I laid out my sheet of seaweed put the rice on top in a even layer and used thinly, I mean super thinly, sliced onion and green pepper along with some shrimp. I used only what I had in the fridge because if it was repulsive I didn’t want to waste money. I loved it!!! I was surprised as I really didn’t plan ahead or I would have got a cucumber and made California rolls. What I did learn is roll as tight as I could and don’t stuff it or the seaweed will break (I cracked one).I also learned that it was a great way to use up some veggies. I am not a green pepper fan but I used some in my salsa so I had some in the fridge, because I sliced it so thin it had a slight taste and a nice crunch but didn’t overwhelm it. I am a fan of the empty the fridge roll and I think that it will become a staple in the house. :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Yippee, it's Monday!

Ok, I am not that happy it's Monday. I hope everyone had a great weekend. I normally stick to food but I had a super exciting weekend. I saw my niece for the first time in a decade. I was so happy to see her! She looks so much like my sister. My sister died 10 years ago but when I saw her daughter it was amazing how completely similar they are.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

working on pictures

I am having a dreadful time with pictures. They seem to photograph great but then I put them online and they look gross. I am having trouble editing them so if the pic isn’t as pretty as you are used to just think of it as yummy but ugly – that is what I should have called my blog. :) Bear with me I am working on the problem, thanks for viewing my site anyway.


Why am I excited when I hate tomatoes? This is awesome salsa that is why. The hubby made it and that makes it pretty spectacular. It really is the best fresh salsa we have ever made. He chopped everything super tiny so the flavors really mixed well. We were unable to find any jalapeños at the market and we assumed it was due to the recall but we used some that had been pickled so it still had that great spice to it. I didn’t exactly measure it as we love onion so we added more and don’t care much for green pepper so we used less. I think you could add as much as you like and it would be yummy. If you like a lot of spice I would add more jalapeño. You could use a lemon or a lime for the acid and it would add another awesome layer of flavor. The way we did it it isn’t real “runny” but only has the juice from the melding of flavors so it taste really fresh and bright.

Hubby’s Salsa

3 tomatoes
¼ of an lg red onion
¼ green pepper
¼ c rings of pickled jalapeño
Big handful of cilantro
1 Tablespoon vinegar as I forgot to get a lemon
Salt to taste

Chop everything as fine as you are able. Mix it in a bowl. Add enough salt to help the tomatoes to juice up and flavor the salsa. Last step is to add the vinegar and then put in fridge at long as you can stand it. We only lasted about half an hour before we dug in and ate half, the other half is marinating in the fridge for tonight. I adore the scoops shaped chip more then any other type so that is what is in the pic. I am unable to find an organic chip in this town. I also haven’t found a good natural chip that I like. If you have one you like let me know as I am always on the hunt.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just because

UPDATE: Not all of these cakes may make you laugh as a coupla of the new one are slightly risque. I don't think any are NSFW but I just thought I would warn you.

This has to be one of the funniest sites because it is cakes people have paid for. This doesn’t make fun of the home baker or the person who is learning to decorate. Check out .

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

update on the dinner

The hubby LOVED it! I was a little worried as it seemed dry to me. I am used to the cottage cheese/egg mix and just the ricotta was drier then my usual. He said that he preferred the ricotta. I may change my old style as he really liked it. So I guess it was better then fine after all.

Day 3 of Crock Pot cooking

I made lasagna in my crock-pot. The picture is with the lid on as it steams up my lens otherwise. The cheese looks all bubbly and the noodles are peeking out,so i thought it looked tasty. I normally make my own pasta sauce but I really like an organic pasta sauce at the market so because of my bum ankle I assumed it would be fine. It is ….ok. Very plain, it appeals to my little ones but it doesn’t have the strong onion and garlicky smell and bite I am used to. I think the first problem is I was careless and grabbed the wrong bottle of sauce. I normally use an egg, cottage cheese and parsley mix and I only used ricotta cheese. It just seems flat. It is fine and acceptable I am sure hubby will eat it later as he is working late tonight. The recipe called for no spices AT ALL! What kind of a recipe is this? The sad thing was I was hurting and so I didn’t even notice the problem till it was too late. I still say this would be great if you tweak it a bit. I am going to post the recipe that I used with no changes.

Crock-pot Lasagna

1 lb bulk Italian sausage ( I didn’t use any meat)
1 26 oz jar of chunky pasta sauce
¾ c water
12 no boil noodles
1 15 oz ricotta cheese
1 8 oz pkg cheese (I used about 3 cups)

Cook the sausage
Add water and the pasta sauce together with the sausage
Start layering with the noodles and the ricotta cheese just like always except you are doing it in a crock-pot. I lined my crock-pot with a bag made for that purpose- it makes a huge difference in cleanup time.

Cover cook low for 4-6 hrs or high for 3 hrs

How odd is it no mention on onion or garlic? I would add it to the sausage or whatever meat you like to use and sauté it with some parsley, oregano and maybe a pinch of rosemary.

I still think this is a great option to pop in for dinner after work. This recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens Dinnertime Easy Slow Cooker Recipe book.

Monday, July 21, 2008

frito chili pie

Well as expected I had no desire to stand in the kitchen and cook. I soaked a bag of dried pinto beans (16 oz, I think) overnight. I rinsed them this morning and popped them into the slow cooker with a medium onion rough chopped in larger pieces. I prefer to have larger chunks so that as it cooks all day they don’t melt into the sauce to much. I covered the beans with water and set it on high. At noon I added about ¼ cup of chili seasoning and 3 cloves of garlic that I super fine chopped and smashed. I then served it for dinner over Frito chips with finely chopped raw onion and cheese with a dollop of sour cream. I did not get a picture as I am terrible at remembering to photograph my food. This meal was rapidly consumed by my entire family so I feel safe saying it was delish. I was worried about the pinto beans having a good flavor as I normally don’t slow cook dried beans but this week I am experimenting every day with a different recipe. Tomorrow I think I will try slow cook lasagna that looks so nice and easy. I normally make my own sauce but due to the ankle issues I am using a bottled organic sauce that I think is really good. I will go into it tomorrow.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Well, I broke my ankle!

I can’t believe I could do that. I hurt it Thursday and have been being pampered for several days. I am in a walking cast or as my daughter calls it a “ robot foot”. She is three and thinks it is a funny shoe. I have no idea how I did but it is nice to be taken care of. Today I started getting up and around a bit. I was hungry for crepes but my hubby only knows how to cook frozen burritos I was out of luck. I have wanted crepes for 2 days as it is my comfort craving. I suddenly had inspiration and decided to make a Dutch baby. I could mix it and then rest while it baked. It satisfied my cravings and made me happy.

¾ c flour
3/4 cup milk
1 pinch salt
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Put the 2 T butter in the pan in the oven to make it melt and preheat the 9 inch pie or cake pan.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, milk, eggs and salt. Stir until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan. Or, you can do it in the blender it makes it smooth as silk and no need to wash a mixing spoon.

Swirl the butter to coat the bottom of the hot pan and dump the smooth mix into the pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees cooking for additional 10 - 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

You can dust with powdered sugar or put fresh berries on top. You can even use jam or pie filling. Basically anything you like you can dress this up to pure yummyness.

Sorry I have no picture, I ate it before I even thought about it!

So tomorrow I want something that requires no standing time so I decided to do a crock-pot bean chili. I think this will be a long week. :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Carrot Cake was a HIT!

So the carrot cake was delicious and everyone seemed to like it. There were 23 family members at dinner at our family get together. I forgot to take a pic of my cake with my camera so I just took a quick pic with my phone. I will download it later as I am extremely tired from this exhausting day. Here is the carrot cake recipe I used. I got the recipe from

Gigi's Carrot Cake
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2002

3 sticks, plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped toasted pecans (I used Walnuts)

Pecan Cream Cheese Icing:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped toasted pecans (I used Walnuts)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 3 (9-inch) cake pans with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside.
I sprayed with organic pan spray
In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer.
Add the sugar, and beat. In a medium bowl or on a piece of parchment, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and mix well.
Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the eggs, beating well after the addition of each. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Add the carrots and beat on medium speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Fold in the nuts. Divide between the 3 cake pans and bake until set and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest in the cake pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, remove from the pans, and let cool.

For the Frosting: In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, beating constantly. Add the vanilla and pecans.
I did NOT add the nuts into the frosting as i thought it would look ugly I set them aside to use around the outside.
When the cake is cool, place 1 cake layer on a cake plate or stand. Spread the top with cream cheese frosting and top with a second and third cake layer, spreading the icing between each layer. Spread the icing around the sides of the cake and let harden slightly before serving. To serve, cut into wedges. I used a large star tip to put the icing on so I doubled the recipe. I did a crumb layer and then added a thicker layer after I refrigerated it. I was very pleased with the outcome.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Family Time!!!!

I am so excited. My family is getting together on Friday/Saturday and much of my extended family I haven’t seen since my wedding (12 yrs ago). I am making the desserts. I am making my “famous” triple choco brownies that I have blogged about before here
I am going to use white chocolate and milk chocolate instead of peanut butter. I am also doing a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I will blog about the recipe and do a pic later tonight. I am nervous and I hope that everyone will be pleased.

On Saturday we are all going to Woolaroc in Bartlesville, OK it is a really neat nature and Indian museum. It has buffalo roaming all over and it is very interesting. This is the town I grew up in and also the world headquarters of Phillips 66. This is just a side note to the point but it is a lovely spot to visit especially in the summer as they have a sweet petting zoo.

I am trying to decide if I should also make some fresh bread as there will be about 25 of us(yikes)! I want it to be a little easier on my mom as this is a event bigger then my mom usually has in her home.

I will post recipes and pictures later tonight.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My name is Amanda and I am addicted to bacon.

I do not like meat. I generally cook it for only my hubby and the kids and I don’t eat it. The kids can eat whatever they want I do encourage them to eat meat and veggies as small children do need to eat a wide Varity of food to grow well, they just aren’t big fans of meat. I digress I can go weeks or months with no meat – why not years you ask. BACON is my weakness. The funny thing is I don’t eat any other pork i.e. pork chops or pork steak or sausage but bacon I adore. I wish I could break my love for bacon, every time I eat bacon I feel I should send a donation to PETA. I know that many of you love meat and eat it often and I would never ever judge you for loving animal so I do post meat recipes but it is not something I like. I never did even as a child.

Ok, I feel better now that I have gotten this off my chest. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Long time no see

Hi Everyone,

I am very sorry that I haven’t posted in awhile. I was so surprised to realize it has almost been 2 months! I have been very busy in that time. I gutted my master bathroom and put in a new tub and vanity and am going to add some cabinets. It seems so much bigger now. The bathroom was light yellow everything tub, sink, walls, EVERYTHING - it always looked dirty and dark. Now it is all white and bright. I am trying to decide what color to do the walls they are white for now but I am thinking of doing a color. I am so proud of all our work as it has been just me and my hubby that did everything. My brother helped gut the bathroom and cut the tub in half but after it was gutted it was all me and the hubby. We also laid a wood floor down so we have been working very hard. I have not been cooking big meals as we are so tired at the end of the day we have been eating a lot of sandwiches. I did make some yummy pancakes the other night for dinner.

My kids love breakfast for dinner.

Pancakes adapted from

3 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or oil , plus more as needed

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, beat the eggs and then whisk in the milk, vanilla and oil.

Let rest for a few min and then drop by ¼ cup onto a hot oiled griddle. Flip over after bubbles are on pancakes.

This makes a lot of pancakes. I prefer smaller pancakes but I make 2 large ones for my hubby.

I also made some bacon I got from my local butcher. So all were happy.