Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hail Caesar!

I'm still filtering through all of my family recipes and transferring them to either my blog or my pinterest pages.  I ran across this lovely Caesar dressing recipe that my cousin, Jeff, made for us several times when we visited him in the Hamptons.  He is what we call the family success.  Very ambitious, very bright and very successful.  Right now his new adventure is cooking school, and he is currently apprenticing with Ina Garten in the East Hamptons.

Here's a photo of Jeff, his mom, Shirley, and his sister, Tina taken a few years ago when he was here in Omaha visiting.

And here's Jeff's fresh Caesar salad dressing recipe:

2 cloves garlic, diced
1 Tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 egg

Put in blender and drizzle and whisk in 1 cup olive oil.  Toss with desired salad leaves and add croutons and fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hallowee Treat Bags!

Every year we have a family Halloween party that my son-in-law's parents host.  Everyone brings a "spooky" potluck item to share.  I like to tease my sister telling her that anything she brings would be considered scary ... LOL.  One year we even had a pot of chili that "glowed".

This year I am making apple cider donuts and caramel corn ... and then wrapping them up in clear bags tied with black and orange ribbons, and then putting them into individual craft bags.  Here's some of the pics that I've printed onto each of these treat bags ... what FUN it has been searching through Pinterest to find just the right images!

Ooooohhhhh, Headless photos to spice up your Halloween party space.

Antique Skeleton Spider Halloween All Hallows Eve Illustration




Vintage Halloween postcard

Pinned Image


Pinned Image

cool/scary HALLOWEEN!

Isn't Halloween FUN????!!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Taco Salad for a Crowd!

Quick Taco Salad Recipe

I've been making this crowd pleasing salad for MANY years, and it is still one of the recipes my family requests most often.  And it is SO simple to make.

Here's the cast of players:

1 head of iceberg lettuce (broken into small pieces)
2 bell peppers (any color you like), cut into small pieces
1 container cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
1 small red onion, diced
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup sliced radishes (optional)
1 can black olives, drained and sliced (or buy them already sliced)
1 pkg. (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese (I like sharp)

1 can ranch style pinto beans (drained)

1 to 2 bottles CREAMY italian dressing (I use Seven Seas brand) (depending on how many veggies you add, you might need more than one bottle of dressing - completely up to your taste)

1 regular bag dorito chips (crush chips in bag)

COMBINE all salad ingredients.  Just before serving add beans, dressing and crushed chips.  Serve immediately.

I also sometimes add ground beef (one pound cooked and drained) to make this a more hearty meal. 

And you can add other vegetables of your choice, as well as chopped cilantro. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

I SO want one of these!!

We own a food processor, a free standing mixer, a hand-held beater, and an upright blender. 

I even used to have a an old hand-crank egg beater and I remember turning this beater to make whipped cream at Thanksgiving at my grandma's house.  She gave the job to us kids because it took A LOT of hand cranking to get cream whipped to into peaks!

The immersion blender was created by a Swiss inventor, Roger Perrinjaquet, who patented it in 1950. It was first used by professional chefs in Europe and was then discovered by chefs worldwide. A home version arrived in the U.S. in the 1980s.

Chefs could easily blend sauces and soups in the pot, without having to transfer the hot contents to an upright blender.  Do we really need another special-use kitchen appliance?  YES, if it makes life easier!

You can use it to blend just about anything in a pot or bowl. It’s a multi-tasker that’s good for smaller tasks and easy to transport.

You can buy one for under $30, or chose a deluxe model with wire whisk and chopper attachments. The deluxe models typically have twice the motor power and more speed options.

The immersion blender can also take the place of a food processor, upright blender or handheld beater for many tasks. In alphabetical order, they are:

Custard. Unless you want the upper arm exercise, for anything that needs to be constantly whisked, the IB with whisk attachment is much easier to hold.

Chopping. For smaller tasks that don’t require a large food processor bowl—such as chopped nuts—use the chopping attachment.

Drinks. If you’re just making one portion, there’s no need to use and wash a large blender pitcher. Place the IB in a large glass to make malted milk, milkshakes and smoothies.

Eggs. Beating eggs is easier—less splatter, less to clean—than with the hand mixer.

Gravy. It’s easy to get rid of those lumps!

Purées. If you have a stronger motor, the IB can turn out puréed peas and other veggies—even mashed potatoes.

Soups and Sauces.  Instead of laboriously transferring hot soups or sauces to a food processor or a blender, stick the IB right into the pot and whir away.

Whipped Cream. Use the whisk attachment. It’s so easy and spatters less.


While there are numerous products on the market, here are two representing the basic and deluxe models:

Basic: Waring Pro SB10 Professional Immersion Blender, $29.95.

Deluxe: KitchenAid KHB300 Hand Blender with attachments, $87.90.

Did you know ... The first egg beater was patented in 1870, by Turner Williams of Providence, Rhode Island, who improved upon an earlier design. The first electric mixer was invented by Herbert Johnston in 1908. It was sold by the KitchenAid division of the Hobart Manufacturing Company.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Top of the Morning to you!

Did I mention that my lovely niece, Trisha, is doing a TON of geneology for our family tree and just recently discovered that we are a wee bit Irish??!! 

Well that certain explains my love for ...

and this ...

I remember as a child scouring our yard for these ...

For a short time I had a sweet redhead named Ginger ...

Which brings me to what's for dinner tonight ...

We're celebrating my daughter's birthday tonight, and one of her FAVORITE meals is corned beef and cabbage.  We usually only make this on St. Pat's day, since that is when the price of corned beef is a bit more reasonable, but given this is her special day and the fact that she's worth every penny, we're splurging and making her favorite dinner. 

And for dessert her favorite PIE from Village Inn!!

But the sweetest thing I'm looking forward to enjoying tonight is ...

Yep ... my grandson Jonas!  He's more fun than a box of Lucky Charms!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Birthday To My Daughter!

My "baby" turns 37 today.  HOW and WHEN did THAT happen??!!!  Trust me ... when someone tells you to seize the moment and enjoy - DO IT !!!  Time is fleeting!  And while I would LOVE to take all the credit for the AMAZING woman my daughter has become, I will give her SOME credit for her fabulous hard work and successful career, her embracing motherhood 110% (she is the BEST mom Jonas could ever hope for), her sense of humor and love of family.  She is who I want to be when I grow up!  Happy Birthday, sweetheart - love you more than macaroni and cheese!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

What a PRIZE !!!

Talk about excited!!  I received this AMAZING prize in the mail on Saturday.  I want to give a HUGE shout out and thank you to Joe Rotella and the entire gang at Create N Craft  ( for sending me this amazing product.  Can't wait to give it a try. 

With it I will be able to create personalized books, albums and journals with ease! Your Story is a thermal book binder with unmatched versatility and is perfect for creating unique gifts, memory books, and a host of paper crafting projects. The package prize included the following:

12″ YourStory book binder / laminator machine

12 – 9″ x 11.5″ Laminating Pouch 3mil

12 – 4.5″ x 6.5″ Laminating Pouch 3mil

1 – Paper Trimmer

1 – 8.5″ x 11″ Binder-Black Leather Texture Portrait no window

1 – 8″ x 8″ Binder-White Linen Texture w/window

1 – 4″ x 6″ Binder-Black Linen Texture no window

1 – 8.5″ x 11″ Binder-Brown Leather Texture Landscape no window

1 – 12″ x 12″ Binder-Black Leather Texture no window

1 – User Manual

Again, thank you so much Create N Craft for SUCH a generous giveaway event.  I truly appreciate it! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts with Maple-Cinnamon Glaze

I am definitely going to try this recipe THIS weekend ... pumpkin - maple AND cinnamon?  OH MY GOODNESS, but these sound DELISH!!!  And they are baked, so not "as bad" as they could be. GRIN! 

Here's the link to the recipe:

Hope everyone has a FABULOUS weekend!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Look for an Old Chair!

I'm not sure where I stumbled across this blog, but I saw this project and fell IN LOVE with the idea.  The author indicates that a similar chair was done with stickers about in Better Homes and Garden's 100 Decorating Ideas for under $100. The chair was all white, very chic, and quite lovely. This chair is more bold and fun! A piece of furniture that says "hey look at me!"


Chair oak vintage antique

Kids' foam stickers. Not subtle but handy...and fun!

Oak chair craft stickers

Foam letters word inspire craft stickers

Give the whole thing a good coat of primer.

Oak chair paint prime craft

Then comes the paint...satin finish...two coats.

Red chair paint flowers

I'm in love with this chair !

Complete tutorial here:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Prehistoric Fruit?

My grandson's dinosaur halloween costume got me thinking about this exotic fall fruit ... Dragon Fruit.  Okay, so technically dragons are not dinosaurs - but they MUST be from the same genetic group, right?  GRINNING. 

When cut open, the fruit reveals a scoop of sweet pulp speckled with tiny black seeds (similar to a kiwi).

It's even a variety of Celestial Tea!

Dragon fruit looks so summery. Who’d think this exotic tropical charmer is a fall fruit—not to mention the fruit of a cactus?  It's lightly sweet and pleasantly crunchy. Depending on the species, the skin is textured like dragon’s flesh.  Dragon fruit is now grown in California and Florida, making it more available in U.S. markets.  Depending on the species, the skin ranges in color from hot pink to red. There is also a yellow variety that has a more spiky, dragon-like texture. The flesh can be white, pink or magenta and has tiny, edible black seeds similar to those in kiwi fruit.

The fruit is a bit of a tease. The exterior looks resplendent but the flesh is on the mild side: like a watermelon that is only mildly sweet. The flavor comes up best when the fruit is chilled. Some varieties (look for the yellow skins) are more tart, which makes them more refreshing.   Whenever something is exotic and seasonal, it’s reason enough to bring it to the table. The arresting-looking dragon fruit may not taste as luscious as the homely mango, but it’s crunchy and interesting. Or, in the word most used to describe dragon fruit, it’s exotic.

How To Eat Dragon Fruit: dragon fruit should be refrigerated, unwashed, for up to 5 days, and served chilled. To eat dragon fruit, just wash and peel it. Refrigerate cut fruit in an airtight container.

Dragon fruit is very nutritious, delivering B vitamins, calcium, carotene, fiber and vitamin C. The typical dragon fruit has 60 calories, reflecting the low sweetness level.

So quit "dragon" your feet and run to the supermarket to try a taste of this exotic fruit!



Doesn't this remind you of how much fun it used to be picking out that perfect costume for Halloween?  This was Jonas' first pick and he was so tickled with his choice!  Can't wait to see him in it and hear him go "ROAR"!!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Best Egg Salad

Egg Salad Sandwiches ... the stuff my childhood memories are made of.  Although my mom's version of egg salad was as simple as it got ... hardcooked eggs, smashed with a fork, add heaping tablespoon of miracle whip and put between two soft pieces of white bread.  White bread ... remember white bread?  What every child's sandwich was made of when I was a kid. Unless you were lucky enough to be spending the night at grandma's house, where she still made bread from scratch. There was no such thing as 9 grain bread.  You pretty much just had the one choice - unless mom was thinking healthy and got a loaf of Roman Meal bread, but that was as eccentric as it got. And the only brand of white bread I remember having was Wonder Bread.  You just can't find bread that "soft" anymore.   And this was also back in the day when they didn't worry about keeping things refrigerated.  (Memory: there was NOTHING like the taste of a bologna sandwich with miracle whip after it has sat in your Elvis lunch pail for four hours - seriously - it tasted GREAT!)  Oh, but I digress.  We were talking about egg salad, weren't we??!! 

Anyway ... here's my absolute favorite recipe for egg salad:

One 3 ounce package of cream cheese with chives, softened
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
3 Tablespoons finely chopped celery
4 Tablespoons mayonnaise (the real stuff - not miracle whip) (more or less depending on how "wet" you like your egg salad)
1 tsp. grated onion
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. horseradish
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Salt and papper to taste, and a dash of garlic powder for good measure.

6 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped fine

Combine cream cheese and butter; stir until smooth. Stir in celery, mayonnaise, onion, sugar, horseradish, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Fold in eggs.  Cover and chill for an hour or more.  When ready to serve, let stand at room temperatur for about 10 minutes before making sandwiches.  If mixture seems too dry, add a bit more mayonnaise. 

Yet another version I make of egg salad does use Miracle Whip, adding 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish, and a squirt of prepared mustard to my smashed eggs, then adding some dry dill weed to the mixture as well.

And mom also used to make egg sandwiches out of uneaten deviled eggs, which she made using the same ingredients as her egg salad (grin).  But deviled eggs deserves their own blog post, so expect to see that sometime soon.

So what do you put in YOUR egg salad?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rocky Mountain High (Fall 2011)

My son and his wife went hiking in Colorado's Golden Gate Canyon State Park this past weekend.

He shared some photos with me this morning, and they literally took my breath away.  Each one is a panoramic thing of beauty.  So go grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up and enjoy each photo of this magnificant area.