Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Simple Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Ice cream is a big thing in our house, we eat it all year round.  Everyone loves Breyers, it's the only kind I am allowed to buy at the supermarket.  I started making my own last year and had very good results every time.  I've made chocolate, vanilla bean and raspberry which were all awesome tasting according to my family.  I tried a new recipe for chocolate ice cream that is so easy.  I started with a can of chocolate syrup, you heard it right, a can of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup.  This is how I made it, recipe below.

A can of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, from back in the day when your mom made you chocolate milk! And the Ice Cream Maker, which does all the work!
 The ice cream gets darker and thicker as it mixes.
 The ice cream stores nicely in a 64 oz. reusable container.  Pour it in....
 then smooth out the top, freeze for 8 hours or overnight.
Chocolate Ice Cream 

1 cup skim milk or whole milk
1 cup white sugar
16 oz. container heavy cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 - 16 oz. can of  Hershey's Chocolate Syrup

In a large bowl, combine the milk, sugar, heavy cream and vanilla.  Stir with a whisk until the sugar dissolves. Turn ice cream maker on and pour in the cream mixture.  Add the can of chocolate syrup as the machine is moving. Run the machine for 25 - 30 minutes or until you see the ice cream thickening and slightly running over the top of the beater.  Remove the beater and scrape with a rubber spatula, then scoop out the ice cream into a reuseble container.  Freeze for 8 hours or overnight. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Step Lively With Cute Shoes

It's that time of year to get your feet in shape to wear open toe shoes.  There is nothing more relaxing than treating yourself to a pedicure.  The girls at the salon where I get my pedi are always so nice and gentle.  I get the full treatment, warm rock massage, spa pedicure, and neck and shoulder massage after my feet are finished.  I just about fall sleep because the experience is so calming, but rejuvinating at the same time. 

Ask anyone who knows me, I LOVE ALL SHOES, but count sandals, espadrilles, wedges, flip flops or any other Summer shoe among my favorites. I lined up a few pair of Summer shoes I will be wearing this season with my new pedi.  Check them out.

Chestnut Brown Leather Printed Linen Wedge and Hot Pink Patent Leather Bow Wedge 
 Black Patent Leather T-Strap Wedge and Red Leather Buckle Espadrille
 Brown Leather Multi Color Flower Wedge and Yellow Patent Leather Bow Wedge

Monday, April 28, 2014

Christmas in April

My oldest daughter and I took a run yesterday to one of my favorite stores, The Christmas Tree Shop.  I am like a kid in a candy store when I go there.  It was Christmas in April for me, there is so much to see and buy.  This place has everything including food, a must go to store, you won't believe it if you have never been there, great party supplies too! These are some of the things I picked up on our trip.

54/pk Wet- Naps to wipe dirty little hands, and big hands too when you are out and about.  They fit right into your handbag or glove box, they also cool you down on a hot Summer day, $2.29 
Left -  12/pc BIG size decorating tips and bags for decorating cakes and cupcakes, $1.99.  My good set only has small tips.
Right - 24 Decorative paper ice cream cups, $2.49, adorable and colorful!
Left - Solar light for deck post, $4.99
Right - Summer fabric striped tablecloth for picnic table, $7.99, matches pillows for the deck furniture.
 Left - Decorative mason jar lids, $1.49 each and 24/pk mason jar gift tags with raffia ties, $1.99
Right - Battery operated red, white and blue star shaped mini lights, $4.99
 Flower shaped cookie cutters - $1.00
 White decorative ceramic serving platter/bowl, $8.99
 Left - Bleeding Heart perennial plants, $4.99 each
Right - 8/pk of stars and stripes plates for July 4th picnic, $1.00 each

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Summertime, Summertime, Sum,Sum,Summertiime!

These pictures might be a bit premature, but I can't wait for Summer.  It's been on hold for such a long time, release the warm weather Mother Nature PLEASE!  It's the end of April and it's still not warm enough to go without a jacket or sweater.  To get in the mood, think warm now, I pulled out two swim suits that I bought last year and still have yet to wear. I am not a bikini girl, never had the body for it, go figure - four kids and a thyroid that doesn't work.  But even if I could I would not wear one, really I'm just too old!  I like to be covered somewhat, it leaves a lot more to the imagination as my mother would say.

Navy and Yellow Printed Skirt Tankini  - $19.99 at Gabriel's, Yellow Flip Flops at Old Navy $.99
Navy, Aqua and Light Blue Tankini $19.99 Fashion Bug Clearance and Pareo $5.00 Hawaii 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sin-amon Apples

I love cinnamon apples, but don't like paying the price for them at the grocery store.  Cinnamon apples pair well as a side dish or topping for baked ham, a pork roast, pork chops, waffles, pancakes and ice cream, yummy!.  I make my own at home, it's simple and easy and not too expensive.  This is how I make them -  

2 tablespoons of butter melted in a pan, add 2 cans of apple pie filling, 3/4 cup of brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  Cook over medium - high heat for 20 minutes - sinfully delicious!  This recipe feeds 6-8 people, halve the recipe for smaller portions.  You can also add chopped walnuts or pecans if you like for added crunch.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Denim Duo

Every time I drop by my closet I pull out a few articles of clothing and build an outfit or two.  This is my denim duo that I put together for a casual Springtime party or just running around doing errands.  Jeans go with everything and any color, and there is nothing better than a pair of jeans that are "broken in", so comfy!  So pull out your favorite denim for the very cool Spring weather we are having right now. Summer is peeking around the corner.

Left - The three basics - skirt, t-shirt, denim jacket. Switch out the orange and use a different color.
Right - The three basics - denim boyfriend jeans, ruffled tank top, striped jacket.  Switch out the heels for flats, it's easy dressing a lot of different ways.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mom's Baked Ham

What is going on with the price of food?!!!!!  It's outrageous.  I was looking for a ham to bake for Easter when I went to the grocery store last week, and of course as soon as you walk in they had them all beautifully packaged and displayed, to catch your eye of course.  I started looking at all of them, their weight value and cost. I needed a big one, I was feeding 11 people and wanted leftovers too.  The first one I picked up was $50!  It was a bone in spiral sliced ham for Pete's sake not a pot of gold!  I put the ham back in the case, I wasn't paying that much for a piece of meat.  I was finishing up the rest of my shopping and low and behold look over there! another case of lower priced, no fancy packaging or display, of  bone in spiral sliced hams.  Ladies let's be smart, don't be sucked in by these set ups.  Do your homework, walk that store to save yourself some money, and with a little added ingredients you probably already have at home, you can make that $50 ham yourself.  I purchased 2 hams, that's right 2, for $30 and change!  I didn't get that fancy little packet of dried stuff that they give you in the ham wrapping, that you still have to cook and pour over the top, and I didn't get the shiny wrapping.  I made my ham with my mothers recipe, the way she always made ham for Easter and it was delicious!

What you need is:  1 can of crushed pineapple, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 can of ginger ale, 2 cups of orange juice.  Remove all packaging from the ham, pull apart the slices so all the good stuff gets in between, top with the pineapple, brown sugar, ginger ale and orange juice.  Push the slices back together, cover with foil, bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.
 and BAM! Juicy, sweet and flavorful baked ham, just like mom used to make.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sheesh, This Is One Good Quiche!

This is one of my favorite quiches and everytime I make it, it gets rave reviews.  Quiche is for breakfast, lunch or dinner, that's what makes it a great dish.  You can change up the ingredients to make it to your taste.  This time around I added bacon and a little hot sauce.  Recipe below.

Start with a 9" store bought pie crust, generally they are deep dish crusts.  Mix up the eggs and cream.
 Pour egg mixture into the shell with the other layered ingredients and bake, easy peasy!
 It comes out perfect everytime! 
Spinach, Cheese and Bacon Quiche

1 - 9" frozen unbaked pie crust
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 cup of chopped red onion
2 cups fresh spinach
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, also called whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce
1 1/2 cups grated gruyere cheese, can also use cheddar
1 cup of  packaged Hormel Chopped Bacon 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Unwrap pie crust and prick bottom and sides of crust with a fork so it does not puff up during baking.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.  If it puffs during baking prick it so it's goes flat. Cool, but leave on the baking sheet.  Turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Melt butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat.  Cook onions until soft, turn off heat and let cool.  In covered bowl, steam the spinach in the microwave on high for 1 minute.  Squeeze all the water out of the spinach by putting it between paper towels, or using a fine mesh strainer.  Set aside.

Whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, pepper and hot sauce in a medium size bowl.  Set aside.

Spread onions on the bottom of the pie crust, top with cheese.  Pull apart the spinach and scatter it across the cheese. Top with the bacon.  Pour the egg mixture over the top.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 55 minutes or until golden brown on top.  This can be served hot or cold.

NOTE: You can also add mushrooms, but cook before you add them.  They have a lot of water content and will make the quiche soggy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gourmet Rotisserie Chicken Salad

So, the sis and I put our heads together and amped up my chicken salad recipe for Easter Sunday brunch.  I was going to make plain old chicken salad and we decided - what if we start throwing other things in it, what would it taste like?  So we did and it was fabulous!  When you get two good cooks in the kitchen you never know what will happen.  We were taught by the best - our mother!  This is how we made it, recipe below. 

I saved time buying a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, clean all the meat from the bones and chop it up.
 Some of the ingredients, we used light mayonnaise to keep calories down.
 Chopped up walnuts and threw in some dried cranberries.
 To be fancy I baked these little babies off in the oven.  Now you don't have to be afraid of these, they are as easy as breaking them apart and placing them on a baking sheet - that's it!  Stuffed with the chicken salad and it's party time.
 Gourmet Rotisserie Chicken Salad

1 prepared rotisserie chicken from the grocery store
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried  cranberries
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of Light Hellmann's Mayonnaise, may need more depending on the size of your chicken
2 packages of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Shells, follow instructions for baking on the back of the box. 

Clean chicken off the bones and then discard the bones and skin.  Dice the chicken and put into a large bowl.  Add the celery, onion, chopped walnuts, cranberries, dill, salt and pepper.  Combine all  of those ingredients together, add the mayonnaise.  Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Bake the shells, according to the package directions, right before you are ready to serve.  I use a parchment paper lined baking sheet so they do not stick.  Let them cool, remove the little tops and set them aside. Fill the shells and place the tops back on them.  Makes 12 servings.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cabbage and Apple Slaw

I'm back!  Took a much deserved breather, but I'm back and busy as ever.  My Lil' sis came over on Saturday to help me cook for Easter, and boy did we cook, I was crackin' the whip. I had a big spread for Easter brunch for all to enjoy and could not have gotten it all "shaked and baked" without her.  One of the side dishes we made was cole slaw to go with my baked ham.  This is how we made it.

These are some of the ingredients in my slaw recipe.  We made it with a bag of shredded cabbage and carrot mix and a half bag of shredded red cabbage, toss them together.  
 We used an empire apple, they are sweet.  Peel, core and shred the apple on the shred side of a box grater.  Toss that with fresh lemon juice, then squeeze the juice out of the apple.  Toss the apple with the cabbage.  Julienne two radishes and toss into the cabbage mixture.  Add in 1/2 cup of Craisins. Mix with 1/2 jar of Marzetti Original Cole Slaw Dressing and about 2 teaspoons of poppy seeds.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Stir before serving, if it is a little dry, stir in more dressing.  It is sweet, crunchy and so good!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Here Comes Peter Cottontail!

Easter is just a few days away, I love Easter, but it is not like it used to be.  My kids when they were little, always had cute little outfits on, that each of their grandmothers would buy them, we would all go to church, then come home and have a big family meal and get together.  A lot of family is gone now, the kids don't even want to get dressed, their idea of getting dressed up is jeans or sweat pants.  I guess I shouldn't complain though, because after all we are together, sharing a meal, family time and poking fun at each other.  My youngest will be home from college, she wanted an Easter basket so I made her one.  She will not be here next year, she'll be in another country studying, I guess I'll have to send her one!  My other three children complained because I made her a basket, two of them do not even eat candy, and the other is 38 years old - go figure.

Left - Longaberger Easter basket with ceramic bunny pin tie on.  I have had this for a number of years and always fill it with candy.  It sits in the foyer for everyone to enjoy.
Right - This is also a Longaberger Basket - The Jelly Bean Basket with ceramic tie on.  I always fill this with Starburst Jelly Beans - they are AWESOME! none better than Starburst.