Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Uses For Old Things. Part 2

More great ideas -  New Uses For Old Things Part Two
Makes me just shake my head, so simple, why on earth didn't I think of that!

Here are some pretty spiffy ideas that you may or may not have already thought of.

I know I didn't.

Paint Splatter Shield

Paint like a pro. To make a splatter shield for when you’re painting a high surface, cut a slit in the center of a lid and pull the paintbrush through.

Lemon Seed Catcher!

Squeeze lemons, limes, or oranges over the grater to keep seeds out of the juice. I can't tell you how many times I've had to dig out lemon seeds from my juice!

Coffee Filter as Screen Cleaner

For lint-free viewing, grab a coffee filter to wipe down dusty and staticky computer monitors and TV screens regularly.

Pencil Eraser for Earring Backer

If the backing for one of your studs goes AWOL, slice off a disk-shaped wedge from an eraser. The earring will stay put, even if your pencil looks denuded. Boy have I used this many many times!

Wine Bottle Gift Bag

How cute is this.  Slip a (clean) patterned kneesock over the bottom of a bottle, then knot the top to create a decorative carrier. Better yet, offer your hostess two bottles so she can later enjoy toasty toes.

Vitamin Holder for Traveling with Jewelry

Pack enough jewelry for a week away. The individual compartments are the perfect place to keep earrings, necklaces, and rings safe and tangle-free.

Computer Detailer with Cotton Swab

Boy could my keyboard use this. With the machine turned off, disconnect the keyboard and trace between the keys with a cotton swab lightly dipped in isopropyl alcohol. If your mouse is the kind that rolls on a ball, unscrew the bottom and go over the ball and the interior with a cotton swab, too.

Lip Balm Cuticle Moisturizer

Rub a bit of lip balm on dry cuticles for a quick and easy way to soften them when you're on-the-go.

Tweezer Holder Magnet

Brilliant! Stop tweezers from going astray by installing a magnet on the inside of the medicine cabinet and they will always be at your fingertips.

Soap Case Camera Holder

For Pete's Sake...of course!  Protect your picture taker from getting knocked around in your carry-on by placing it in a hard plastic travel soap case.

Bathroom Mirror Memo Board

I think this is my favorite one so far.  Leave a message that’s impossible to overlook. Write quick reminders (Pick up dry cleaning) or encouraging notes (Good luck today!) with a dry-erase marker.

Tutu Night Stand

So cute.  Not only for a little girls room but for the Shabby Chic Lover. Create an enchanting nightstand from a kitchen stool by wrapping a tutu around the edge of the seat and securing it with double-sided tape.

Lighted Wreath

Ring in the season with a brilliant mantelpiece. Start with a wire wreath frame (this one is 18 inches in diameter, but you can use any size). Then wrap a string of lights around the frame, making sure to leave enough slack to reach the plug; otherwise use an extension cord.

Stones for Plant Toppers

I do this to all my indoor plants (much prettier than seeing the soil on top).  I go to Pet Stores, and get the small brown or white rocks that go in the bottom of a fish or turtle tank.  Insulate potted plants with a layer of decorative pebbles on top of the soil.

Aluminum Foil Protector

Protect doorknobs and hardware in the kitchen and bathroom when you're painting by wrapping foil around them to catch dribbles. The foil molds to the shape of whatever it's covering and stays firmly in place until the job is complete.

Why on earth didn't I think of that!

In case you missed New Uses For Old Things Part One  CLICK HERE!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pecan KRINGLE Coffee Cake

Here is my version of a Danish Kringle.

If you've ever had a REAL Danish Kringle, with the homemade hand-rolled Danish Pastry dough, then you've obviously taken a quick trip to the hereafter.

This Danish Pastry dough however, has to be hand rolled and has to rest overnight.  The buttery, flaky dough and the ooey pecan center, is a taste from the Nordic gods.

Since I really don't have time to hand-roll anything, I wanted to try this easy peasy way out.... a short cut.... an alternate route.  A quick way to get from here to Denmark.

Here's what you'll need:

1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust from a 15 ounce box
2/3 c. chopped pecans
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp. butter, softened (do not use margarine spread)
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
2 to 3 teaspoons milk

Heat oven to 375.

The refrigerator pie crusts come with 2 per box.  This recipe calls for using one of the round crusts, and will make 6 slices.  If you want to use the other pie crust, just double the recipe and make 2 Kringles for 12 servings.

Place one of the crusts on a slightly greased large cookie sheet.

In medium bowl, mix the softened butter, pecans and brown sugar.  I use a fork to mash and mix everything all together.

Spread mixture over half of the pie crust and be sure to leave about 3/4 of an inch of crust edge left with no mixture.

Brush the edge with a little bit of water.

Fold pie crust over filling. You will now have a half moon shaped Kringle.

Press edge with fork tines to seal.

Prick top of crust with fork a few times.

Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.

While Kringle is baking, and almost done, it's time to make the glaze.

In small bowl, mix powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk to create a desired drizzling consistency.

Once Kringle is golden brown, remove from oven.

Oh look at that ooey gooey pecan filling trying to peek out!

While Kringle is warm, do what Paula Dean says and "Drizzle on that Glaze".

Let Kringle sit for at least 30 minutes, and then cut in to small triangles.

Don't get impatient and cut the Kringle too early cause it might start to crumble.  And you don't want a crumbled kringle.  Say that 3 times really fast. 

Oh my Kringle!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Capture the Moment. MOTHER too many Photos!

I think my daughter is a tad bit fed up with my constant picture taking of our food.

I don't blame her one bit.  I've gone, somewhat, snap-happy.

Like the other day for instance, she comes in the kitchen after smelling a Brisket that I had just made, and asks if she can have some.

I fix her a plate with some Brisket, potatoes & green beans, and as I am handing it to her, it happened.

I saw a PERFECT photo opportunity.

The food, just so happened to be arranged perfectly.  I pulled the plate back, straight out of her hands, and said  "HOLD ON . Don't touch this plate yet".

I ran and got my camera and snap snap snap, started taking photos of the perfectly arranged plate with brisket and potatoes.

"Mom, come on. Can I eat that now"?

Snap Snap Snap

"Mom, are you done yet?"

Snap Snap

"Mom, I'm hungry, can I have my plate"?

Snap Snap..... "Hold on, one more photo", I said.

"MOTHER, please give me that plate"!

She called me "Mother", she was really annoyed with me now.

What have I become?

I'm starting to see photo opportunities with every plate that passes before me. 

I feel as though I need to "capture" the moment before it's gone.

Well that's what I did the other day.

All I wanted to do was "capture the moment" before it was gone.

All I innocently wanted to do was "capture" something that made me so so happy.

I walked by my daughter's bathroom and happened to catch a glimpse of her curling her hair, getting ready for work.

I could not believe it was my baby girl. 

When oh when did she grow up?

That HAIR!  Simply Stunning.

She obviously didn't get the "hair gene" from me!

Like any adoring & proud mother would, I quietly ran and got my camera. 

I stood in the hallway snapping photos, not believing how beautiful she has become. 

Where oh where did the time go?

She lives under my roof, I see her every day, and yet I looked at her and wondered when did this happen?  When did she suddenly go from unicorn sticker books and glitter, a beautiful young lady?
Snap Snap Snap

Tears of pride were welling up in my eyes. I could barely see but I kept snapping more photos.

Calmly and very celebrity-like......she turns to me and says.......

"Mother, Honestly!  I'm not one of your food entrees you can photograph for your blog!"

We both instantly started laughing and laughing until we were doubled over and our sides hurting.

I realized how creepy she must have felt with her own mother stalking her.  Like a 12 year old girl stalking Justin Beiber.

I took one last photo.  I couldn't help myself.

She turned away from me like a movie star turns from the annoying Paparazzi.

"Mother please!  I'm not an Asparagus Frittata you can photograph whenever you want".

She teases me relentlessly and we laugh and laugh.

But between the teasing and the laughing at my constant picture taking, all I want to say is this......

Capture the moment before it's gone.

Time goes by so swiftly.

They grow up right before your eyes and sometimes you don't even realize it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


The word "Brisket" always reminds me of the Old West.

Campfires, Wagon Trails and Gunsmoke.

Men sitting around a roaring fire with bandanas around their necks, horses tied up behind em', wearing Levis and dusty old boots- eating chunks of Brisket.

Sometimes there's nothing better than a good slice of meat and potatoes.

This recipe will make any Cowboy wanna stick around the Ranch if he smells this cooking in the oven.

5 to 6 pound Brisket, trimmed
1 (12 ounce) can beer
1 packed Meatloaf Seasoning
Apple Cider
1/2 Onion, sliced
BBQ Sauce

Buy yourself a nice 5 or 6 pound of trimmed brisket. Normally you will find a "non-trimmed" Brisket or a "trimmed" Brisket in your grocer. Be sure to get the trimmed kind.  Don't skimp and get a smaller cut because Brisket shrinks up to half the size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place your Brisket in a deep roasting pan, fat side down, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper and then sprinkle with the Meatloaf seasoning packet.

Pour the beer in the the bottom of the roasting pan.

Pour enough of the apple cider in the pan to cover half the Brisket.

Cut half of an onion and place onion rings right on top of the Brisket.

Cover the pan tightly with foil place in preheated oven.

Go sit a spell and let the Brisket hang out in the oven for 3.5 hours.

After the 3.5 hours is up, take out of the oven.  Take Brisket out of roasting pan and place on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil.

Turn oven down to 350.

Pour 1/3 of the bottle of BBQ sauce top of the Brisket and brush it all over the top.

Place it back in the oven, uncovered for 15 minutes.

Repeat. (Take out of the oven again, pour 1/3 of the bottle on top of the Brisket, brush over the top,  and place back in the oven for 15 more minutes).

Repeat one more time.

Take out of oven and let rest for 15 minutes.

The BBQ sauce will be all warm, and sticky and gooey and delicious.

Now get to slicing, your hungry Cowboy is waiting.

Yee Haw!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mama Mia Says So - Deep Dish Pizza Pie

New York.  Chicago.  New York.  Chicago.

Mama Mia the choices. 

Deep dish or thin crust?

Mama Mia is shaking her Italian fist at you right now, and saying in her very heavy Italian accent "Listen-a Here.  You get into-a the keetchen, and make-a this for-a  your fam-a-lee"

If you want some crusty, cheesy, hearty pizza, make Mama Mia happy, which in turn will make your family happy. 

Trust Mama, she knows her pizza pie.

1 (1 lb) loaf of frozen bread dough, thawed
1/2 lb Jimmy Dean Regular sausage (half of the roll)
1/2 lb. hamburger
1 (14 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 c. diced mushrooms
1/2 c. diced frozen onions (or fresh)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
Olive Oil


Ok, I have to tell you.  I put this recipe off for literally a couple years, all because of the "frozen bread dough" ingredient.

I was afraid.

But Mama Mia says  (in her strong Italian accent again)  "Don't-a be scared"

Frozen bread dough, for those of us that had never really used it before, comes in packs of 3 and 5.  They are cute little one pound bundles, literally of frozen bread dough.

Rhodes bread dough is the most popular and can pretty  much be found in any freezer section in most major grocery stores.

The part that scared me most about this recipe was how to thaw the darn thing.

The back of the bread dough package has 3 methods of thawing; Regular Method, Refrigerator Method, and Speed Method.

Can you guess which method I always use?

You guessed it.  Speed Method.

Now I know this is not normally the type of recipes I like, or type that I post, because this takes a little extra time and effort, but trust Mama. 

This is incredible!

Thawing Bread Dough Procedure for ELECTRIC oven only:
If you have a gas oven, then you will have to use one of the other methods mentioned on back of bread package.

Spray loaf pan with Pam.

Place frozen bread dough in loaf pan and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

While the oven is heating up to the correct temperature, place 2 quarts of water on the stove to boiling.

Once water has come to a boiling point, pour water into a 9x13 inch pan.

Once oven has reached 200 degrees, turn  oven OFF. Place the 9x13 pan of water on the LOWEST rack in your oven and place the loaf pan with the frozen bread on the middle rack in the oven.

Close oven door and forget about it for about 2 hours.

Package says it could take up to 2 to 4 hours but I've done this so many times and it always takes about 2 hours. 

KEEP oven door closed the whole time.  After about 2 hours, your dough should magically look like this.

Ok, now is the easy part.

Once you notice the bread has risen about 1 inch above your pan, as showed in the picture above, its time to start to fry your half pound of Jimmy Dean and half pound of hamburger with your onions.  Halfway through, add your mushrooms and Oregano.

Once the meat is cooked through, drain.

Take your thawed bread dough out of the oven, as well as the 9 x 13 pan of water.

Turn oven back on, and preheat to 350.

Empty the water from the 9 x 13 pan  and wipe it with a paper towel to get all the moisture out.

Coat the 9x13 pan with Olive Oil.  Be sure to coat up the sides too.

Take your thawed bread dough out of the loaf pan and spread into the 9x13 pan.  Press the dough up the sides.

Spread the hamburger/sausage mixture onto the dough.

Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

Take the can of diced tomatoes and drain well.  Spread the tomatoes over the top of the Parmesan/Meat mixture.

Sprinkle top with Mozzarella.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until the cheese is all bubbly and the crust is all.....well you know...crusty.

Oh this crust......

Now go on, get that bread dough a-thawing.

Mama Mia, this is one incredible deep dish pizza.

You know it's gonna be good.  Mama says so.