Friday, October 24, 2008

Apple Pie Elizabeth Style

I'm not letting my gimpy thumb keep me down! Today I baked my first apple pie. Mmmmm! My house smells wonderful and my tummy agrees. I couldn't find a recipe that I really liked online, so I started using parts of one recipe and parts of another and came up with this one. I think I found a keeper!

Pie Crust
1 frozen one works just fine. Try a deep dish, that's what I'll use next time - I didn't this time and had apples left over.

7-8 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4" wedges
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup Quick Cooking Oats
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375. Line baking pan with aluminum foil. Place pie shell on cookie sheet, set aside.

In large bowl, mix filling ingredients except apples and lemon juice. Mix until combined, add apples and juice and mix again to coat. Pour into pie shell.

In medium bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and oats until combined. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add more flour if too wet. Add pecans and mix together. Pour mixture over top of pie crust.

Put pie into oven and cook 45-50 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes. If you used the aluminum foil, clean up will be a breeze.

When ready to serve, slightly heat 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping in microwave and drizzle over the top of pie. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Yummy!

This weekend at Today's Housewife is favorite fall recipes. Well, this is one recipe I'll make every year!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My First Stitches

Saturday night I got into a knife fight with a watermelon. The knife slipped and I got what I thought was a little cut. I put the knife down and said, "Um, Becky?" to my friend and she calmly put a towel on my hand and told me to go wash it off. She then proceeded to wash the knife. Because you know washing the knife was the important thing.

I came out of the bathroom and showed my hand to a few people who all agreed I needed stitches. I didn't want to go. I was enjoying what I was doing and didn't want to leave my friends. Here's a pic of my hand right after removing the towel. There was a lot more blood than this picture shows.

So off to the urgent care we go. Becky drove me since I needed to keep pressure on my hand. Kudos to her for not stalling my stick-shift car! I think she secretly told the watermelon to cut me so that she could drive the PT Cruiser.

Oh the pain!

Ok, so maybe this was a posed shot. It actually didn't hurt that much. The knife went in so quickly that I almost didn't even feel it. It hurt after I got the stitches when the numbing medicine wore off and the next morning, but not much since. Only when I try to use it too much.

So we may be dorks taking all these pictures, but we had a fun time! The doctor put in 2 individual stitches but had a hard time cause my blood just kept getting in the way. What can I say, I'm a bleeder!

Here's a pic of the stitches. But here's the best picture of them all...

When it was all said and done... I ate that watermelon. Take that! I won!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Great Ideas

What started as a simple desire paint the front room quickly change into a major project. Upon taking down some of the wallpaper we noticed several large cracks and found the plaster was black in some places. We also found out that there is no insulation behind the walls. So after careful consideration (which lasted about 5 minutes) we decided to go ahead and do the walls right.

Our version of doing it right means we are ripping out all of the walls, insulating, and putting up drywall in place of the old plaster. My husband was able to get this section of the wall finished and cleaned up rather quickly. It looks like the majority of our work is going to be clean up and we need to decide if we need a dumpster. Which I think we just might.

We have hardwood floors on the first floor and it made me cringe to see them after my hubby had cleaned up this first section this evening. They weren't in the best shape to begin with and we already knew they needed to be refinished, so maybe after we are finished this room he'll get on that. I think we may have opened a can of worms with this project!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Favorite Brunch

Today over at Today's Housewife the theme for Please Pass The... is favorite breakfast or brunch meals. Here is a neat recipe that I found and just love.

Cream Cheese-Raspberry Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake
2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 tsp sugar
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp grated orange peel
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 pint (2 cups) fresh raspberries
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 TBSP butter, softened
2 tsp orange juice

Heat oven to 350. Spray large cookie sheet or 14-inch pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray. (I use a round pizza stone) Unroll both cans of dough; separate into 16 triangles. Reserve 4 triangles for topping. On sprayed cookie sheet, arrange 12 triangles in circle with points toward center, leaving a 3-inch hole in center. Press dough to form 14-inch ring. Press seams together to seal. Fold outer and center edges up 1/4 inch.

In medium bowl, combine all filling ingredients except raspberries; mix well. Gently stir in raspberries. (Mixture will be thin.) Spoon filling over dough.

With scissors or pizza cutter, cut each reserved triangle lengthwise into thirds. Place 1 tsp sugar on work surface. Press each dough strip into gar. Arrange sugared dough strips, sugar side up, evenly in spoke-fashion over filling. Press ends to seal at center and outer edges.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes.

In small bowl, combine powdered sugar, butter and orange juice; stir until smooth. Drizzle over coffee cake. Serve warm. You can also add a mound of extra raspberries in the center for a garnish. Yum!

Friday, October 10, 2008

October Cooking List

Here is my meal list for the month of October. I'm actually getting bolder in my ventures and have decided to host two cooking days instead of just one. I found out that many of the gals who would like to cook with me do not want to give up their Saturdays with their families (or just can't do it Saturday). I completely understand! So since I'm a stay-at-home mom, why can't I host a mid-week cooking day as well as a weekend day? So this month we have cooking day on a Tuesday as well as a Saturday.

So here's what I'm eating this month. If any of these meals sound appealing to you and you would like the recipe, just leave me a note.

1. Italian Chicken-Tomato Pie
2. Pork Chops with Brown Sugar-Cider Glaze
3. Stromboli
4. Upside-Down Pizza Casserole
5. Stuffed Shells
6. Enchiladas
7. Easy Chicken Bake
8. Parmesan - Garlic Chicken
9. Broccoli Ham and Cheese Casserole
10. Roasted Pork Loin
11. Sausage Pizza Twist
12. Turkey Meatloaf
13. Ham & Cheese Stuffed Chicken
14. Chicken Pie
15. Birds Nest Pie
16. Italian Pasta Bake
17. Heavenly Chicken
18. Taco Pie
19. Chicken Manicotti
20. Spice Rubbed Steak
21. Mini Italian Meatloaves
22. BBQ Pork Chops
23. Quick Chicken Divan
24. Raspberry Glazed Chicken
25. Tomato Soup with Basil
26. Hamburger Rice Casserole
27. Sausage Casserole
28. Tuna Casserole
29. Crock Pot Easy Swiss Steak
30. Vegetable Primavera

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wallpaper Is Evil!

As you can see from this picture, my wallpaper is pretty. It's a nice floral design that has been in this house for ages! So my hubby and I have decided that it's time to go. Which means, my hubby goes to work and I stay home and amid homeschooling, cleaning, blogging, etc, I get the fun job of stripping the wallpaper. Well, since I'm doing it, you all get to read about it!

I've stripped wallpaper before, we took all the dark blue stuff down out of the kitchen about a year after we moved in. We painted the kitchen, breakfast nook and living room nice green and cream colors. Unfortunately the green turned out too minty and so we've decided it's time for a change. We also decided to rearrange the entire first floor, swapping the dining room for the living room, moving doorways and adding built-in bookshelves and an electric fireplace. We have high hopes! As you can see, this is a rather big room that is covered in wallpaper.

My problem now is this evil wallpaper. It doesn't want to come off. Not only does it not want to come off, it's shredding! AHHH! Underneath the walls aren't drywall, it's plaster and we've found several cracks in just one section alone. Well, the good thing about that, my hubby decided to go ahead and check the walls for insulation and insulate if necessary. (I've been begging him to do this for 3 years!)

On an interesting note, in this picture you can see the original color of the wallpaper (top). When I removed some of the paper near the top, the border came off and revealed the paper underneath. It was a lighter color which would definitely be more appealing. But we're going for a dark rich red and a sage green with gold/cream curtains. It might not sound like much now, but when we're finished I'll post the pictures!

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Great Birthday

Why do people stress about turning 30? I know I sure didn't. I had a great day. It started on Friday with a gift from my friend in Pittsburgh, lots of cards arrived in the mail, and my hubby brought home Iron Man on DVD and we watched it together Friday night.

On Saturday I woke up and my hubby made French Toast and the kids gave me some really cute cards! When I get them scanned I'll post them over at The Benge Family blog. My hubby gave me a new GPS for my birthday and bought me a new cook book when we went to the bookstore Saturday evening. He also took me to have a 1 hour massage which was amazing. A beautiful floral arrangement arrived from my Mom and Dad and with the birthday money they sent Seth & I we bought new curtains for the first floor. (I'm sorry, I mean window treatments! lol) Seth and the kids took me out to dinner to Texas Roadhouse and we finished my birthday on Sunday with a trip to Baskin Robbins. Overall, I had a great birthday.

So what's next for me? After I complete a 3 year growth chart of the Sunday school department at my church, I get the fun job of stripping all the wallpaper in my front room. It's pretty wallpaper, but it's old, has holes in places and has some coloring marks (from previous owner's kids) that we can't get off. So we're taking it down and painting and rearranging the entire first floor. Seth is going to build a fireplace and some book shelves to flank it and they will cover one entire wall. The colors are going to be green and red, not the Christmas green and red colors. Although, the red we chose is called poinsettia, but the green is more of a sage color. I'll post pictures of my progress when I have a chance.

So wish me luck, I really dislike stripping wallpaper. But I know that when I'm finished, the room is going to be beautiful!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Almost Birthday to Me!

Today is my last day of being 29. I'm looking forward to tomorrow when I'll turn 30. I've had some fun surprises already today, I got on the scale and saw I lost 5 pounds, my friend who moved to Pittsburgh sent me a birthday present (and it had nothing Steelers on it LOL), I've received several cards from church friends, and I even received a card from my mom -- but I'm not allowed to open that one until tomorrow.

Tomorrow is going to be fun because my hubby scheduled a 1 hour massage for both of us and he and the kids are taking me to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. The kids are planning on making me breakfast tomorrow morning (with Dad's help of course) and there's a present from Tiger Direct sitting on Dad's desk just waiting for me to open it. It actually got here last week and I'm doing my best not to rip it open!

Speaking of Dad, we are loving having him back home. We're still not loving his commute time but we are making the most of the time that we have with him in the evenings and on weekends. Over at Today's Houswife they have asked for us to share Dad's favorite meal. Well, I asked him what it was and he said those sausage balls you made last week. So this is a meal I've only cooked once but it was amazing. All I have to say.... THANK YOU RACHAEL RAY!

These sausage balls are amazingly easy. It took 15 minutes of prep (if that) and 15-20 minutes to cook. I got this from her 30-minute meals show on the food network. Did I mention I just got cable? Anyways, here's the recipe and you really have to try it out!


2 lbs bulk sausage – any flavor (pork, turkey, chicken, etc.)
1 tub bocconcini – bite size fresh mozzarella in water (in deli section)
1 28 oz can Whole Tomatoes
½ cup pesto

In sauce pan or small pot, mash tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat then simmer to reduce. When reduced, mix in ½ cup pesto and turn off heat.

While the tomatoes are cooking, pour some EVOO onto a baking sheet. Take 12 bocconcini out and set on a plate. Score your sausage into 12 portions. Wrap 1 section of sausage around 1 bocconcini. Roll in EVOO and set onto same baking sheet. Cook sausage balls at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Serve pesto sauce over sausage balls. Enjoy!