December 13, 2011

Quirky Quotes

In the midst of finals,(yes...the old gal goes to college)  I can't even begin to think of anything to write, recipes to conjure, or crafts to create, so...
I just thought I would share some quotes I recently found...

Have a nice day...

December 6, 2011

Second Hand Girl....

 I wanted to share this craft idea I came up with.  I have been so inspired by Pinterest that I can hardly contain myself, so I thought I would try my hand at making one of my little ideas become a reality and then share the 'how to' with my friends!
While driving home after a visit with my mom in Kansas City, I decided to stop in at an estate sale.  Have you ever been to an estate sale?  Personally, I can hardly contain myself when I see any 'Estate Sale' sign.  I'm not sure if anyone here in the northwest part of Kansas can even appreciate what they offer.  I have been so disappointed at my second hand options since moving to the Manhattan area.  And frankly, I think some of my fellow thrifters are likewise frustrated.  They have lots of auctions around here, but who the heck has 12 hours to sit around waiting for that one thing to be sold in the corner of the basement and then to only be outbid...? Not this girl. And then there is the garage sale dilemma...
Here, a garage sale begins on a Friday night at 5pm, goes until 7pm and then opens from 8-noon on Saturday.  And when you get there, they have two tables of baby clothes...they bought an ad for that?  Now, I'm not sure about you but that isn't even enough time for me to get to more than 3 sales.  It's ridiculous.  I have met some seriously thrifty girls from Fort Riley whom have traveled much and seen what kind of good sales are out there and they too are equally disappointed and dismayed by the lack luster of our community thrift options.
Tell me please! Why would anyone put any effort into having a good sale if they are going to walk away with $30.  Hellooooo!!!! When I was living in Prairie Village, Kansas, a minimum sale was $800-$1000.  But we did it up right!
Kids out there with the fresh squeezed lemonade, hot dogs and a bake sale so they could rake in a little dough.  (mom provides supplies), me and my gal pals hustling up some spray paint to make things look awesome, and then it was a 3-day bonanza!  Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 7am-5pm.  Yeah, this was serious stuff.  And not to mention the crazy folks showing up at 6am for the 'best worm'!
Sorry to get so sassy, but let's be honest....
Anyway, did I get off on a tangent?
Estate Sales are so awesome for several reasons...
  • Whole house full for sale
  • Usually great furniture (i.e. Ethan Allen, Thomasville, etc)
  • Great prices on linens, kitchen gadgets, and outdoor stuff
  • When I say kitchen...grab up the old Pyrex because that stuff they make now shatters like crazy
  • Often some of the most unique things ever
  • And...Best of ALL!! Almost always 50% off on the last day
So, anyway, I hit one of these sales near the Legends in Kansas City, Kansas and found the little frames in the picture below with some weird metallic prints.  But the frames are wood, black, and perfect for my idea.
So check out the pictures.  I should have taken pictures as I made it, but I wasn't sure what I was doing until it was done.  But here is a step by step if interested...

Scrap Book Paper
Pliers (needle nose)
Vinyl Repositionable Letters
Grosgrain Ribbon
Staple Gun
The finished product. 
  1. Find some wooden frames you like (check the thrift store, sales, walmart)
  2. Remove any old pictures carefully
  3. Clean the glass
  4. Keep the cardboard, etc
  5. I used scrapbooking paper for the back ground cut the same size as the glass (I think the page out of an old book would be cool too!)
  6. Position the letter onto the scrap book paper (I eyeballed it, but if you have OCD, measure distance from top and bottom to make sure each one is in order)
  7. Place glass in first, then letter, then put cardboard on back.
  8. Use a staple gun or tiny brads to hold it in.  If you don't put the staple gun right on the wood, then staple, it only goes into the wood a little leaving the staple out to hold the picture in place
  9. You can hang each one individually or staple them all to ribbon.  Which is what I did and the first time it came out like a zig zag...DO OVER! You can use a single ribbon down the middle and secure a ring at the top to hang it with or just use one long ribbon starting at the bottom of one side, go to the hanging point, then back down the other side leaving a place to tie a bow at the top.  I did that, but after my first mistake, I laid the frames face down on the table and went to town stapling again, only to find I had done it .... UPSIDE DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So, rather than do it over and waste more ribbon,  I cut the bottom ribbon and looped the top ribbons and stapled them to the frame.
Directions making a craft is new to me, so try looking at the pictures to see how I did it...
And visit some estate sales for some awesome finds...I also included some pictures of some of my estate sale finds.
Have a fantastic day!!!
P.S Keep scrolling down after looking at the craft pics to see some of my estate sale find photos!

The closest to the bottom is the top.
Run the ribbon from bottom to top then without cutting run back down to bottom again

Staple ribbon to the frame
Staple the corners & sides to secure the glass, Letter, and cardboard
Hold staple gun away from the frame so staple doesn't go completely into the frame

The finished product. 

 Second Hand Girl Finds!

A true blue vintage Hobart KitchenAid Coffee Grinder $12
Various kitchen gadgets, quality is hard to find $10 for all

Cutest drink carrier ever, my mom gave me this.  She found it at a garage sale!
Vintage botanical prints framed in bamboo frames $30 for pair

Funny Cocktail Recipe Book $2
Fireking food containers...the original recycling!! $3 each
Cute Wine Rack for $5

October 21, 2011

Hello Old Friends

Where have I been?

Enjoying the last bit of winter.

Became the Market Manager of our Farmer's Market

Making dessert

Taking pictures while driving of a big rig carrying a Tonka truck


Summer Bounty

Getting to know hard working people

Making dinner

Loving life

February 18, 2011

Taking a minute....

I apologize for not posting...we have had a tragic event in our community that involved the loss of a great young man, and a good friend to my daughter.  It didn't feel right to continue as usual.  I will resume this Sunday. 

February 6, 2011

Radish Sandwiches

My 'hip' 70's mother riding me around on the bike she grew up riding
at my Grandparents farm in Piqua, Kansas.  I love this photo.

Recently, I have been perusing the multitude of Mommy Blogs on the web.  It made me take a minute and ask myself how I ended up making a living in the art of cooking....
My mother will tell you she is not a great cook and she has no idea where I learned to cook.  
I might have thought that too without some deeper thought.  
I mean how can I forget the Lint Pork Chops? No, not Lent, Lint.  I guess she had tried a new recipe, but those chops were gray and looked as if they had been rolled in the lint fresh from the dryer.  It was very funny, one of the few times my dad was able to see the lighter side.
Despite the occasional dinner disaster, I find I have been influenced by her more and more. As a child, she somehow infused useful household tidbits into my spongy little brain, such as putting egg shells down the disposal to sharpen the blades.  Or praying to St. Anthony for any lost item.  (It actually works!)
My mom was a 70's mom.  The days of liberation.  Canned soup casseroles, frozen dinners, and Hamburger Helper.  An era telling women to get it in the oven and get out of the kitchen.  It was a competition to try the latest recipe on the back of the soup label.  Dinner time was a difficult marriage in the kitchen...old fashioned scratch cooking was betrothed to Women's Lib sprinkled with pepper.

My dad came from a  family of passionate yellers, loud laughers, and BIG eaters.  Fried chicken, fried okra, and fried potatoes were mainstays on the menu.  He was a very demanding man and when it came to cooking, his mom was a hard act to follow for his bride.  There wasn't enough grease in the world that would fill him up.  My mom, on the other hand, was raised in a quiet, simple, mild mannered family eating small meals made up of simple foods, small portions of meat, homemade bread, fresh or home canned veggies, either from their garden or another local farmer. 
Well, that recipe, 1 cup of Betty mixed with 1 large order of Barry, was a souffle waiting for the fall.  Eleven years later, she kindly asked him to take his appetite elsewhere. (I am happy to report that they are both happily RE-married to much better dinner partners.)
Anyway, my sweet momma might not have been cooking out of Julia Child's cookbook, but what she did phenomenally well was raise a garden right in the middle of suburbia. She grew tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, name it, she grew it.  She even made jelly from bitter crab apples that grew from the tree my brother and I spent our summers climbing.  Her simple upbringing out in the middle of Kansas brought about the best things in a meal; the freshest garden goodies we all long for!  
BLT's with fresh tangy tomatoes right out of our garden were the highlight of our summers.  To this day, she and I will eat homegrown tomatoes on a plate with salt and pepper until we have heartburn and canker sores.  She still has all the equipment for canning tomatoes, making jelly, & pickling cucumbers and she continues to make a little something every summer.  
You know that wonderful salad we pay $12 for with hot bacon dressing? She did that way back then.  Wilted Lettuce Salad.
The garden thing is a family thing.  My mom has four sisters that have all been blessed with the green genes as well.  All of us kids, the sons and daughters of the five, spent our summers feasting on fresh garden bounty produced by our industrious parents and grandparents.  One of our favorite summer treats was Radish Sandwiches.  Oh how I can almost taste it now...fresh baked white bread from Grandma's oven, smeared with oleo (the old name for margarine), layered with sliced red radishes fresh from the dirt, sprinkled with a little salt. There was never enough bread to go around! 
I remember fishing with my Grandpa and bringing back the catch of the day, cleaning and preparing them for our mothers and Grandma to make for dinner.  

Maybe my mother didn't teach me how to make a bechamel sauce, but she did teach me the best part of the meal, the sharing of it.

These simple yet rich and decadent memories embedded on my heart are the ones that I have found give me the inspiration to gather my family together to share love, laughter, and great food.

Thank you Mom for the gift of yourself and your talents and for the forever blessings of our family.
I love you.

Wilted Lettuce Salad

1-2 Fresh Heads of Leaf Lettuce from the garden if possible
3 slices of bacon crumbled reserving 2 Tbsp of the bacon grease
2 green onions chopped
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Wash & prep lettuce.  Tear into smaller pieces.  Sprinkle with sugar,bacon and green onions.
In the same pan the bacon was cooked, drain all but 2 Tbsp of the remaining grease.  Turn on medium heat
and add salt and vinegar.  Cook until it's sizzling and bubbly.  Remove from heat and pour over lettuce.
Serve immediately.  Olive oil can be substituted if bacon is not preferred.

February 1, 2011

Lies, Lies, Lies and Chicken Pot Pies!!

These are the best biscuits I ever made!
Okay, so I really am bad at blogging.  Well, I kind of have a good reason...Dell.  My computer has been acting up.  It just shuts off right in the middle of everything.  Extremely frustrating.  Anyway, I think we will promise to do this...Post the Frat Menu on Sunday Night along with a recipe or two.  Then, if possible, I will add recipes during the week. 

Here's the Menu

Lunch-Chop Chop Chicken Cobb Salad with Potato Soup
Dinner-Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Green Beans, Homemade Rolls
Lunch-Chicken Salad on Croissants, Fresh Fruit, Chips, Yogurt
Dinner-Brie & Brisket Quesadillas, Cucumber & Onion Salad
Lunch-Grilled Ham & Cheese, Tomato Soup
Formal Dinner-Chicken Marsala, Spinach & Berry Salad, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Garlic Bread
Lunch-Crepes with Fruit Compote, Sausage Links, Fresh Fruit Salad
Dinner-Meatball Subs, Corn, Green Salad
Lunch-Boneless Chicken Wings, Baked Fries, Fresh Veggies and Dip
Desserts-Double Chocolate Chip Cookies ~ Cream Cheese Brownies ~ Fresh Made Eclair

Last week we had some great food.  Chicken Pot Pie was a huge hit. 

We made this completely from scratch! This ain't no canned soup recipe!
 Frankly Friends, I am having a devil of time posting recipes! You know why?  Cuz I never use the darn things! This one is particularly hard since I wing it every time.  But here's my best effort...

The chicken ~ you can use any kind of chicken you want, but my favorite way to make this is by using fresh skinless chicken breast on the bone that has been cooked in a pressure cooker.  It cooks fast, retains lots of flavor and leaves you with a nice chicken broth.  The meat falls right off the bone.  Many folks prefer the dark meat, so use the whole chicken if you like.  It's much less expensive as well.

The biscuits ~ I used a recipe from Country Living that you will find below.  I recommend doubling it so you have enough for the topping as well as for some butter and honey! I also recommend making the biscuits first.  Only roll out 1/2 the dough and leave the rest for topping the pot pie. See if you can get someone else to make the biscuit dough while you work on the filling.  Don't forget to lower the oven temp down to 400 after baking the biscuits.

Classic Biscuit Recipe
The following recipe is the best recipe for biscuits I have ever made.  It is from Country Living Magazine


1/2 cup(s) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour (sifted twice before measuring)
1 tablespoon(s) baking powder
1 teaspoon(s) salt
1 cup(s) cold buttermilk
2 tablespoon(s) cold buttermilk
1 tablespoon(s) melted butter


  1. Heat oven to 475 degrees F. Cut butter into small cubes and freeze 15 minutes. Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Cut in butter using either a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  3. Stir in buttermilk using a fork just until dough forms. Knead 3 to 4 turns on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- by 10-inch rectangle. Cut out biscuits using a 3-inch cutter (gathering scraps until all dough is used).
  4. Place 2 inches apart on a baking pan. Brush tops with melted butter.
  5. Bake on top shelf of oven 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The Filling
Oven 400
4 tbsp butter
1 large onion chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
5 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch slices on the bias
1 cup mushrooms, sliced thin
4 cups shredded chicken
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 cups skimmed broth, divided
1 16 oz bag mixed veggies or...
1 cup frozen corn or corn cut off the cobb
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup chopped frozen or fresh green beans (not canned!)
2 cups milk, or cream

Into a large saucepot, add butter, onion, celery, & carrots.  Cook until onions are soft.  Add mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are tender.  Add the chicken, cook for 1 minute, add the water and bay leaves. Let this simmer on low while you make the roux.
In a bowl, add the flour, poultry seasoning , salt and pepper.  Slowly pour about 1/4 -1/2 cup of the broth into flour while stirring with a whisk until it makes a thick paste or roux.  After the roux is formed, slowly add the remaining broth stirring until there are no lumps and it is liquid.  While stirring the chicken mixture, add the roux to the pan.
Now add the remaining veggies and milk or cream. Cover and cook on low until it thickens.
Pour filling into a buttered/sprayed baking dish.  Top the filling with 1 inch balls of biscuit dough with a small space in between.  When baking, since the filling is fully cooked, once the biscuit topping is brown, it's done.
Should be about 15 minutes.



We made this completely from scratch! This ain't no canned soup recipe!

January 23, 2011

Promises! Promises!

I have to say this blog thing is little harder than I thought.  Just when I thought my day was over, 'the blog' calls out and says, "uh, you promised them recipes".  I am sorry I didn't post the daily recipes. I guess I will have to construct a better plan, that takes into consideration my 'down time'.  I admit that with my assistants at work, my job is not grueling.  It isn't easy, but not like digging ditches or anything.  But usually after work, I go home and have my real family to cook for.  And for some reason I have this overwhelming feeling that I had already accomplished that duty for the day.  Anyway, they are my one and onlies, so I gotta do for them what I do for the paying folks.  Regardless, I started this thing, and I have to say I enjoy the feedback I get.  I don't always get comments, but when I check my stats, I can see that this blog is being read.  I will do better.  If you are truly looking for recipes, they will be up today.  Most of the recipes are ready to go, just require typing and uploading photos, which has been problematic.  When I was uploading photos, my trusty laptop just decided to take a nap, ie, crash! Not making my commitment any easier. I will post a couple at a time, so I don't lose anything due to laptop lament.  Hope you enjoy!

Baked Mac n Cheese in Puff Pastry ~ Sorry No Photo
1-2 sheets puff pastry
1 lb cooked pasta (elbow macaroni, rotini, penne)
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cream
1 lb shredded swiss
3 cups milk
1/4 cup butter

Oven 350
I make this in individual bowls that are ovenproof.  You can make it using a jumbo muffin pan or make one large pan with the pastry on top.  If making this in a casserole, skip the pastry steps. I'll explain what to do at the end of the recipe.
Let the puff pastry thaw by while making the mac n cheese mixture. Remove from the box, lay out flat.
In a bowl, add flour, salt, & pepper. Add the cream slowly while mixing. If you add it too fast, it will get lumpy. If this happens, don't worry, you can run it through a wire strainer to remove the lumps. Set aside.
Set the stove to low, in a large saucepan add milk.
Once milk is starting to bubble on the edges, add the swiss cheese.
Stir constantly until melted. If you walk away, remove the pan from heat or it will burn on the bottom.
Add some of the swiss mixture to the flour & milk mixture to thin it out to a gravy consistency.
Add that mix back into the swiss cheese mixture and cook until thickened.
Take a little taste, add salt or pepper to your taste.
Add the pasta to the pan and stir until all the pasta is coated. Set aside.
Cut puff pastry into 6 circles that are larger than the bowl/muffin pan you are using.  You will want the pastry to extend beyond the bowl/muffin cup.
For each serving, line the bowl/pan with the pastry.
Add a small dollop of butter in the bottom.
Fill each bowl or muffin cup with the mac n cheese
Fold the pastry over the top or make little flutes around the edge like a pie.
Put a dollop of butter on top of the pastry or brushe melted butter on edges
Bake until pastry is puffy and golden brown. 
If making in a casserole, cut out 6 - 4 x 4 pastry squares
Put all of the mac n cheese in a greased 9 x 13
Place the squares on top, they may overlap, brush with melted butter.
Bake until pastry is puffy and golden brown.
Serve with salad or a green veggie.

Queso Smothered Beef Burritos with Fire Roasted Corn

8-10 Flour Tortillas
1 lb browned/drained ground sirloin
1 can green chiles
1 can undrained Rotel tomatoes & green chiles
1 medium onion, fine chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
Add all ingredients except cheese to the browned beef,
simmer on low to keep warm.

2 cups of shredded Asadero cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoon of finely chopped Onion
4 teaspoons of grounded Cumin
4 ounces of chopped Jalapenos OR
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
8 ounces of canned Green Chilies
  • Heat all ingredients on medium in a double boiler.
  • Stirring constantly until metlted and smooth.
  • Chiles give it a distinctive Mexican flavor I guarantee you'll love.
Fire Roasted Corn
12 oz bag of frozen corn
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 cup half and half
  • Pour chipotles into a small strainer set over a bowl to separate chiles from adobo.
  • Pour corn into a saucepan, add milk and enough water to just cover corn.
  • Add one pepper and 2 Tbsp of adobo to saucepan (add/reduce to taste)
  • Cook until hot.
Assemble each burritio with a scoop of beef and monterey jack cheese. Fold in the ends, then roll.  Ladle on the cheese sauce, garnish with olives or jalapenos if you wish. 
Serve with Fire Roasted Corn, Chips & Salsa

4 oz deveined and julienned Poblanos
1/2 cup of 'half-and-half'