Sunday, November 29, 2015

Lovin' Pecan Pie

My youngest came home from college for Thanksgiving this year, and we were deciding what to make for after dinner desserts. She said "let's try a pecan pie" I like pecan pie, so I said "OK".  Off to the kitchen we went and to our surprise, for being first time pecan pie bakers, we made this delightful, not too sweet, full of alot of pecans and yummy goodness, beauty of a pie!
Recipe below.
To print recipe, click on it, highlight and print.
To view photos in a larger format, click on them. 

 We started with lots and lots of pecans, some orange zest, a little of the good stuff- Jim Beam Bourbon- eggs, light and dark Karo, vanilla, butter, salt and light brown sugar.
 This is the egg, sugar, butter, pecan mixture.
 There are chopped pecans in the egg mixture, lay down some coarsely chopped pecans in the bottom of the crust, and then toast some halved pecans for decorating the top.  I told you, there are alot of pecans, 2 1/2 cups!
 Pretty pattern of toasted pecans on top, and then it's ready to bake.  When it's done you have a gooey on the bottom, crunchy on the top, best flavored pecan pie you'll ever eat!
 Up close and personal with the pie.  It's so good, and not too sweet like some pecan pies.
Easy Pecan Pie

1 pie crust for a 9" pie, homemade or store bought,
keep in the refrigerator until the filling is prepped

3 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup light corn syrup (Karo)
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup (Karo)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Heat a large dry frying pan over medium high heat.  Arrange pecan halves in a single layer, toast until fragrant, stirring often.  It only takes a few minutes, be careful not to burn them.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer on medium low.  Add the light and dark corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, salt, vanilla, bourbon, orange zest and finely chopped pecans. Mix until completely combined.  Spread the coarsely chopped pecans evenly in the bottom of the pie crust.  Pour the liquid mixture over the pecans and arrange the toasted pecan halves in a pattern on top.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour (as always all oven temperatures are different), or until the mixture is set and firm, not jiggly.  Remove from oven, let cool on a wire rack.
Makes 8 servings.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Oops, I Changed It!

   I wasn't going to decorate around the front door this year, just wanted to put up a wreath and the sled by the front door.  I'm getting too old to be out in the freezing cold weather decorating, and then taking it down when most times there is snow outside.  I don't want to do it anymore, but it does look nicer when I do.  I scaled back alot of the decorating this year, the outside included.  I usually have spotlights all across the front of the house, didn't do it this year.  I'll use the landscaping lights, all I have to do is turn them on from inside the house!

SO, I added the garlands with lights to the front door and made new bows, because the old ones faded from the sun.  I buy wired ribbon, so if it doesn't fade, I can use it until I get tired of it.  All I do is store them in a plastic tub for next year, and then fluff them up a little, I do the same for the garlands.  I wrapped up weighted boxes in Christmas wrap with fancy bows and added them too, I wired them to the sled so they don't blow away.

So in order to keep me safe and uninjured (just doing this little bit I almost fell off the ladder!) this is all I did to the entryway this year.  It still looks festive, but with little effort, YAY!, I'm done the house, next is the tree.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Quick and Easy Stromboli

When it's just the hubby and I for dinner, sometimes I just don't feel like cooking, so we'll order in or go out. We often go to a small family owned restaurant near us, that serves a lot of home style cooking and sandwiches.  One of the things they have on their menu, that we'll order often, is a ham, cheese, sweet pepper and onion Stromboli.  It's so good when it's piping hot, the cheese is melting all over the place and the dough is soft and bread like.  Well, I was in the kitchen trying to replicate this Stromboli that we love and got pretty close to the textures and flavors, yeah I was happy with myself, so here is my take on the Stromboli.

These are my ingredients.  I didn't use sweet onion  in this one, but try it, it's really good with them.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  I started with a roll of seamless sheet crescent roll dough, a little more soft and flaky than the pizza dough but really just as good.  Unroll it on a cutting board so it lays flat.
 Layer down the center, 6 slices of imported ham (more if you like), I used low salt ham, sweet peppers, chopped sweet onions (if you are using them), and shredded mozzarella cheese.  Roll it up starting on the long side, make sure the seam side is down, and make a few slits on the top of the dough for the steam to escape.
 Carefully lift it and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, with seam down and the slit side up.
 Bake for 30 -35 minutes or until golden brown.  Lookin' pretty good!
 And yummy too!  One roll served the two of us and we had a piece leftover.  This is so easy to make, only takes minutes to bake, and it's good for a day when you just don't feel like cooking.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I Think I Need A Bigger Mirror!

So instead of arranging my outfits on the floor for pictures, I bought a mirror to take some selfies.  I AM NOT good at all this new technology stuff, as you know, you can't teach an old dog new tricks.  So, I was playing around with my phone, some outfits and the mirror for a trial run.  The outfits didn't look too bad, but I think the mirror needs to be much larger, or I could be much taller and thinner, but it's too late in the game for that!  I don't like the whole frame being in the picture.  I will be working on getting that mirror and taking better pictures, practice makes perfect.
  So here are my outfits for this past month.

Went to the zoo a few weeks ago with my good friends and their children, had a blast!  So in honor of the snakes we saw, I had on a snake skin print, bloused drop neck top, pumpkin military jacket, skinny jeans and metallic flats.  Perfect Fall day and perfect outfit for the zoo.
Went to dinner and a movie with the hubby, saw Bridge of Spies, great movie by the way, and dinner was at one of our favorite Italian restaurants.  Nice night out and comfortable outfit.  Layered paisley print top, black leather studded jacket, skinny jeans and black leather and leopard print boots.
I threw this outfit together to go to the bank and the grocery store the other day.  It was a little chilly so I opted for a red leather jacket to keep me warm.
 Boyfriend jeans rolled up, a black, gray and white animal print popover top and gray zippered shoeties.  To my surprise while walking in the grocery store, I received two compliments, one on the jacket and one on the whole outfit!  A feel good day for me.
 Running around town and grocery shopping. Easy dressing on a warm Fall day.  Teal and black print, cinched at the waist, pull over button down top, skinny jeans and leopard flats.  Love me some leopard print on anything.  It was a short week of outings, have to clean and cook sometime!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Holly Jolly Christmas!

WHEW! I think I'm almost done the holiday decorating.  I've been working like a busy bee to get it all done.  Thanksgiving is next Thursday, and while the turkey is roasting in the oven, I will be putting the tree up and then decorating it.  One of the last things to do, besides my dining room table and my catwalk railings (my oldest daughter's job), and then the feeling of Christmas will embrace me.

  I move my Christmas decorations around from year to year, it makes me feel like they're all new again, does anyone else do this? Some things I have out all year, I reuse for Christmas by decorating them in a holiday theme, then incorporate them in to the Christmas decor .  It saves me money by not buying new Christmas themed decorations.  I'll move furniture too, not afraid to do that either.  As you can see, that black console table in the picture below, was my coffee bar table I had in the kitchen.  Be creative, don't be afraid to move your things, use what you have, your whole house will look beautiful!

This small Santa collection goes in the foyer, but I added a few things, like this big lantern with a cardinal perched inside and one perched outside on a burlap poinsettia.  You know I love the birds!
This table has a shelf on the bottom.  To bring light to the area below, I strung mini lights behind everything that is displayed, so it draws the eye down to see it.
The sled is my sister's, we have our own yard sale going on throughout the year, where we borrow each others household decor, to keep things fresh around our homes, and we don't have to buy anything new, it's great, she's great, it's all great!  
Jingle Bells Rock!  Jingle Bell canvas and silver jingle bell garland adorn my mother's grandfather clock, that my sister and I bought her in the very early 1980's.
 These are some of the wreaths throughout the house.  I bought this wreath last year, and added the plaid flannel bow and sparkly sign.
The feather wreath is a fav of mine.  The blue spruce wreath I purchased last year on clearance I added the crystal ice branches to it.  I can always find a way to improve things, sorry MS!
Vintage silver wreath, and the straw wreath my daughter made many years ago, and is another favorite of mine.
 Have to decorate the landing on the foyer steps too!
 My sister-in-law gave me two of these luminary cans as a gift, love them and they sparkle too!  The runner I purchased about ten years ago, goes perfect with the luminary.
What's not to like about a silver tree?  And look who I caught? Vintage grater with battery operated candles inside, some red rickrack and felt gingerbread man that my sister bought for me last year.
 The snow person couple and their baby in a papoose, decorate a glass door cabinet in the kitchen.
 And it's not Christmas without old Mr. Scrooge, love that movie.
 Teeny Mr.Snowman and tree in another glass door cabinet.
 Kitchen window decorated for Cookie Baking Party, coming soon!
 Gingerbread men, cookies, cookie cutters, bakers and lights among the greens.
 I added some things to the mantel that I found while emptying boxes, big red felt snowflakes and some glitter ones too.
 Dining room set is small this year, but still decorated with a musical note theme.
This sparkly musical note sign on a velvet cord says "Merry Christmas", it's tucked in with glittered snowflakes.
On the dining room light, I used two green wreaths wired together, made bows and tails and tucked them in the greens, added a few cardinals, a double bow at the top, added silver and gold, matte and shiny glittered balls to the bottom, hung with red fabric cords from the lights.  I covered the ugly pot of this red burlap poinsettia with some of the ribbon used throughout the room.
 Mr. Snowman's hat and stand are made from musical note paper.  Lantern with just a bow and clipon glittered poinsettia and a few greens.
 The basket I found at a thrift store for $1.00.  I started to build it with iced greens with berries and poinsettias I found on clearance last year.  The big branches, I used 3, were $1.50 each and the poinsettias were $.49 each.  Pretty inexpensive decor.  I also added a musical note bow to the basket.
 Father Christmas was my mother's from many years ago.  I put him out every year, it reminds me of her.
Now this scraggly little tree, I bought last year and decorated it with all the things that my kids, who are now adults, made for me throughout elementary school, it was so cute!  This year it's in the dining room decorated with musical notes, musical instruments, snowflakes, red Christmas balls, red bead garland and mini white lights.  Then topped off with a mixed musical note and red ribbon bow to match the light.
All Santa's reindeer.
 I added these vintage beads to my little scraggly tree in the living room, as well as the big snowman.
 As I said, the whole first floor gets decorated including the bathroom!  I did downsize this a bit, I had over 100 snowmen in there last year.
 Still working on the outside.  Found this old sled at a garage sale for $5.00 so I snatched it up.  I decorated it with some of the iced greens, rusty jingle bells, the skates (yard sale borrow from my sister) and red velvet bow.  The wreath I just redo every year.  Took a picture frame, printed out a "Merry Christmas" sign and framed it, wired it to the wreath.  The red and green sunbursts on clearance for $.25 each.  Now, the problem I always have on this front door, is the sun beats down and bleaches the color on every bow within days, it's hard to keep up with this, any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  I can't make new bows every other day!  If you haven't started decorating for the holidays, HAPPY DECORATING!