Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nutty Cupcakes

Nutcracker is in full swing this week.   
Performances are this weekend (10th and 11th.)
We had the cast party for Ballet Arkansas and the kids this past Saturday.
 Mom, Emily and I made 11 dozen cupcakes!  
Set up in Studio (can't see the royal mice very well but they are peeking out!)
Snowflakes and Flowers
   We tried to do something from each scene in the Nutcracker.  Ended up with Gumdrops for Land of Sweets, Flowers, Snow, Dragon (from Chinese Tea because Max is in the dragon this year,) Soldiers, and some fondant mice and royal mice.

Fondant Snowflakes with Sprinkle Snow

Fondant Flowers with Sugar snow

Soldiers, Nutcracker, Flowers, Dragon

Dragon's Head (by Emily)

Soldier with Blue Disco Dust

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo with White Rice on the Food Network

I made this recipe last night with some okra and peppers from my mom's garden.
*The recipe doesn't call for okra, but I like it and had it. Also I am allergic to celery and left
that out.   The sausage I used was a turkey andouille.  I short-cutted and used a rotisserie chicken to save a bit of time. Was delicious!
Sorry, no picture...

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo with White Rice on the Food Network

My first attempt at gumbo and not the last!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Homemade Marinara

Some good friends of mine have a tomato farm and raise phenomenal heirloom tomatoes.  
They were cleaning out their hothouses and gave me some of the spoils...

I peeled and seeded the tomatoes last night and made some homemade marinara sauce.

To peel tomatoes:
  1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil
  2. Have a bowl of ice water handy.
  3. Drop tomatoes in boiling water for about 10 seconds, then plunge in the ice water. 
  4. Take core out with paring knife and then slip off skins.  
  5. Slice tomatoes in half and squeeze out seeds (or just slide them out with your finger, I don't mind some seeds.
For Sauce:
  1. Slice a few onions very thin.  (I used two onions for the amount of tomatoes I had, maybe 15 lbs?)
  2. Sautee onions and garlic (I used 5 cloves) in olive oil until translucent. 
  3. Add chopped fresh basil, oregano, pepper, bayleaf (whatever spices you will use.)
  4. Chop tomatoes in blender or food processor and add to pot.  I save some and chop them to add texture. 
  5. Cook and add red wine, salt, pepper to taste.
*Mine was still runny after cooking last night so I think I'll let it cook down more today and then taste again for spices.
Will be good on some homemade pasta!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ready for Rigatoni?

Emily Making Rigatoni with Our New Pasta Machine!

Raw Rigatoni!

Ready for Sauce! 
Homemade Pasta
This is supposed to make 6 servings, but I tripled it for my family and ended up with leftovers.  
I could have doubled it and we'd have been fine. 

1 lb. (16 oz) of flour
4 eggs

Put flour in bowl and make a well.
Add eggs to well and with a fork mix and stir as much as possible.  
Using hands mix and knead dough until smooth and pliable.  Dough should NOT be sticky.  If it is too dry add a bit of water.  If it's too wet add more flour.  Again, you don't want it sticky or it will be a pain to work with (especially if you are using a pasta machine.)  I'd gotten this one at Williams & Sonoma today with a gift certificate I'd gotten awhile back.  It was down to $20 from $80 and makes 
Rigatoni, 2 sizes of macaroni, Fusilli, and Bucatini (hollow spaghetti type pasta!) 
It worked great.  I have a normal pasta maker I use mainly for making fondant bows for wedding cakes, that we also use for fettucinni and making pasta for ravioli or lasagna.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies we made for Easter
 For Easter we made some sugar cookies to take to my in-laws.  I used a cookie recipe my daughter found for me online, from AllRecipes, which really worked well.  I cooked them a little too long on a few of the batches (see the dark edges?)
I had some fondant from a past project, and rolled it out and cut it to go on the cookies, then we dusted some with sparkly sugar (natural food colorings.)  Came out pretty cute (cuter than my bad pictures...)  I had some that looked like bunnies and those were really cute but the kids ate them before I got a picture!
Who said Brown Eggs Can't be Pretty?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Doggie Risotto

I like to make my own doggy food. 
  My dog is quite large due to his bad habit of swiping the kids food when they aren't looking,
  food for fat pups is quite expensive.
  I know what is in it and can modify it according to his needs (ie Low-Fat)

What I end up doing when I can is something like the recipe below...
(You can use whatever you have in your fridge or freezer, or meat that you get on sale at the grocery store also and it works great.)

 Doggie Risotto
  1. Cook 2-3 cups of rice according to directions.  (I normally use brown rice but had some risotto/arborio that needed to be gone from my cupboards.) 
  2. Brown meat in large pot.  (I used 5 lbs of turkey meat that I got on sale.  Also added some cutlets that I had in the freezer that had slight freezer burn.)
  3. To cooked meat add a bag or so of frozen veggies or odds and ends of veggies from fridge you need to get rid of.  (I like to use the pea/carrot/bean/corn mix that comes frozen in a bag when it's on sale for about $1.)
  4. Mix the cooked rice to the meat mixture and stir.  
  5. At this point if you need to add a little water to make it sticky do so, or you can add broth.  (I actually used a jar of turkey gravy that I didn't want to eat.) 
  6. Stir and cool.  
  7. Store in fridge and serve OR make into patties and freeze.  
My dog LOVES this recipe and it's much healthier than the dog food I normally buy.  (Have you READ the labels on the dog food cans and bags?)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Indiana Jones Cupcakes

Here were the cupcakes from my 6 yr old's birthday in December (yes, I am very behind!)

maps, crystal skull, hats, whips, snakes...

The Crystal Skull

More hats, snakes, coins, flowers for the girls

He wanted Indiana Jones (of course) so we all pitched in to make little fondant toppers.   The hats and whips (all brown things) we made from warming Tootsie Rolls in the microwave for about 6 seconds  then shaping.  The rest was regular fondant that we painted with petal dust or food markers.   The cake was just Devil's Food with chocolate buttercream icing.  I sprinkled crushed Oreos on top to make "dirt."
It was fun and I think they came out really cute!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I have made a resolution to myself to be mindful of eating out and plan meals better. We ate out WAY too much last year because of poor planning and a busy schedule.  This year we have only eaten out ONE TIME so far!  I'm very excited!

We put a dry erase board calendar up in the kitchen and I put a tentative menu on it.  If anyone has suggestions or disagrees we can change them before I hit the grocery store.  I make the plan and go through my coupons before shopping.  I don't plan my menu to the coupons unless I have some REALLY good ones (not usually.)

Does anyone have any meal planning tips or ideas to share?


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