Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shrimp Penne

I am about to introduce you to possibly the best meal ever. Well, aside from steak. It's true, you just can't top steak. But anyway. I discovered this a few months ago and I've made it twice now and it is quickly creeping up to the top of my favorite recipes. All I did was combine two a-mazing recipes from www.thepioneerwoman.com (which is quickly creeping up to the top of my favorite websites!)

The first is Spicy Orange Garlic Shrimp. An incredible recipe on its own. I've made it about four times. Goes great with steak. : )
The second is Penne a la Betsy. All I did was make the shrimp with the orange garlic sauce and then mix it in with the penne and tomato cream sauce. yum.

There's something so comforting and satisfying about a warm bowl of pasta...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Nutella Ice Cream

The Nutella Ice Cream was a raging success. I can't stop eating the stuff! It turned out more hazelnutty then chocolatey, but that's ok.

All I did was take this ice cream recipe (AMAZING recipe...soo smooth and creamy and rich) from www.thepioneerwoman.com and add about 3/4 a jar of nutella to the custard while I was cooking it. The heat helped melt it, but on further consideration, I think next time I will just add the nutella to the cream, maybe heating it just a little bit if it needs help melting.
Enjoy yourself. : ) But don't blame me for the consequences!

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Matthew 6:28-34

Since it's the Lord's Day, I want to share some of the beauty I found in His creation today.

A bright green grasshopper! The tiniest creature still has the most incredible detail and design.

The warmth of the sun on little faces.

Red haired little girls...


and happy babies.

The beauty of harvest! God provides His children with fruit for their labor.

A child's love for his mother.

A daughter's wonder.

And joy!

And the love of husband and wife. : )

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh, Franklin...

There's this super cutesy little tea house in our town. They serve about a million and half different flavors and kinds of teas, all in your own little pot, with sugar cubes and milk (if you want it...I never drink hot tea without milk...leftover influence from my Scottish experience.)
The lady who owns the place keeps lacey tablecloths on each table, has a rack of fancy hats and scarves you can wear if you want, and even has this little piano that will play itself for a quarter. My niece loooves the place, and we're going to take her there for her fifth birthday with grandmas, aunts, and a cousin. Anyway, we discovered recently that they also have amaaazing sandwiches. We're talking good. All with names like "Emmaline" and "Lena May" and "Oliver". I ordered a Franklin- deli roast beef, provolone cheese, mild horseradish sauce, all grilled on marbled rye toast.
Uh, YUM. It was so good. So good that I decided I had to try to recreate it. Here is my attempt. Oh yeah, by the way, it's tasty. : )

"The Franklin Attempt"

Deli Roast Beef
Provolone Cheese
Horseradish Cream Sauce (I used Food Network's Alton Brown's recipe, only I used jarred horseradish instead of fresh)
Bread- you can use whatever you like here. The first time I made it I used "Soft Rye Bread", a kind of mild, light colored, smooth rye bread. It was really great. The second time, I didn't have any left, so I used some homemade wheat bread I had. It was really great. So, I think you can take your pick. It will be really great.

Heat a skillet over medium heat, adding 1-2 tbs of butter to melt. Take 4-5 pieces of roast beef per sandwich and lightly fry until it's heated through. I just happen to like my meat warm in a warm sandwich. I do this with all my grilled sandwiches. Butter both slices of bread and layer with meat, cheese, and horseradish cream sauce. Top with second slice of bread, add another tbs of butter to the skillet, then grill until golden brown and toasty.
Eat up!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This is my Leopard Gecko. My really stinkin' awesome Leopard Gecko. Her name is Lali. It's an Indian (the not-american type) name that means "Beloved, darling girl." Leopard Geckos are from India, as well as Afghanistan. They are a desert lizard. I've had Lali for two years, ever since she was a little tiny baby gecko.

Now, geckos are definitely cool little animals. I feed her mealworms, and sometimes crickets, and she just goes crazy catching them. Sometimes I get her out and she crawls around on my arm or the table. When she was smaller, my niece held her and let her crawl all over her head.

But, as cool as they are, you can't exactly get all lovey-dovey with a gecko. Because to tell you the truth, they couldn't care less about you, just so long as they get fed. Which makes them a very low maintenance pet, which is nice. She made a great little college pet, something entertaining but low maintenance.

But now, I feel like she would be much more beneficial somewhere with little boys. And little girls. Somewhere with kids who will marvel over her bumpy skin and her slitted eyes. I think children wondering at God's amazing creation is one of the most beautiful things to behold. So, I am donating beloved, darling girl Lali to my nephew's school. This nephew.

He's six. Perfect lizard-loving age. He goes to a tiny little Christian school. One-room school type of small. It has about 13 students. I think they will enjoy having a class pet. Especially one as cool as Lali. : )
I made up this little booklet of notes for them, so they will know just how to take care of her. It has her birthday, her meal instructions, and some of her favorite treats.

I'll still probably get her over the summers. It's really just a shared-custody type of thing. She'll be back.

ps- I encourage you to click on the photos and see them up close...her eyes are truly incredible!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Holy Cannoli!

Cannoli Cream Cupcakes!! Yum. I found this recipe on one of my favorite sites, tastykitchen.com.
This summer I visited Boston for my roomie's wedding and she sent us to Mike's Pastries, an authentic bakery in the Italian district. We got a chocolate cannoli. Oh my. It was sooooooooo sooo good. So, naturally, when I saw this recipe I was hooked. I'm glad I tried it! It was a little bit labor intensive, and I accidentally added an extra 1/4 cup of butter to the batter...so mine were a little crumbly. But I'm sure if you are capable of reading a recipe correctly (clearly, I am not) then you shouldn't have any trouble.

I also made a roast chicken last night. I love roast chicken. It has a completely different quality then any other type of chicken. But every time I go to make one, I never remember what I did the last time and I just search all over the internet until I find something that sounds good. But this time, I think I discovered my forever recipe. I just decided to add some cajun seasoning that I had just bought to my butter and...well, I'm pretty sure there will never be any other kind of roast chicken for me.

Cajun Roast Chicken

1 Whole Chicken
1/4 cup of butter or margerine
Sea Salt
Weber Grill Creations N'Orleans Cajun Seasoning (the amount you add is up to you...I think I added maybe 2-3 tbs.)
Minced garlic (again, up to you, but maybe 2-4 cloves)

Combine butter, minced garlic, and cajun seasoning to make a paste.
Separate the chicken skin by sliding your hand between the meat and the skin. Rub the butter paste generously under the skin, in the body cavity, and over the skin of the chicken. Salt with sea salt. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes per pound, basting every 30 minutes or so.

We had homegrown butternut squash with the chicken. My sister had brought this to church last week, and it was super yummy. It's just cubed butternut squash with a little bit of olive oil and butter, salt, garlic, and basil.

I think I'm gonna go have some leftovers now...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bacon bacon bacon!

So, I actually made this a long time ago. But, I just started a full time job and haven't had quite as much time (or energy) to cook in the past few weeks. I plan on fixing that very soon! : ) But here is an older recipe I've been meaning to post. Actually, it's not so much a recipe as it is a method. Anyway. Brown Sugar Bacon!
I know this has been done before, but I'd never made it and randomly decided to give a shot one evening to go along with crepes. All I did was layer my bacon (cheap bacon...very cheap bacon...it was so fatty I thought it was going to be an utter failure! But, I guess all that fat just soaked up that brown sugar and transformed into a sticky, beautiful, tasty, dental catastrophe) on my stoneware bar pan and sprinkle generously with brown sugar. I then baked it in the oven for awhile, til it looked done. I don't know, 20 minutes or so. Voila! It was so good we ate the whole mess before we even began to finish our crepes. I knew we needed a way to make bacon even more ridiculously toxic. : ) Happy artery hardening!!

While I haven't been devoting quite as much time to cooking, I have managed to do a little more photography. It's becoming more and more a passion of mine! Sadly, I've been having trouble with my camera. The pictures have been coming out grainy and streaky. I'm afraid it's about to bite the dust. Let's hope I can get that Nikon before it does!

More Kansas scenery...

I noticed these hay bales on the way to church and wanted very badly to photograph them. My husband stopped on the way home one day, just so I could. :) Isn't he a sweetie?

I think country roads are so achingly beautiful...there's just something so unbridled about them.

I love the lighting in this one. And the lovely natural blurring!

I happen to think Kansas is a beautiful place. : ) Don't you?

This little darling is one of my best friends' daughter.

She's a doll!

This is my oldest nephew. He's my baby, but I can't tell him that anymore. He still gives me hugs though. Without prompting. : )

Oh, how'd this one get in here?? ; )

I think they look like jungle explorers. Even the little one.

Speaking of the little one...

Those eyes kill me. Every time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


We had mexican night the other night. A couple friends came over and we had enchilada casserole and refried beans. But the real winner of the meal was the homemade corn tortilla chips. Yum! I stumbled across the idea of using corn tortillas instead of flour for chips, and I just happened to have some extra, so I tried it! Boy, was it ever a hit. They tasted like the amazing, fresh, warm chips really good, authentic Mexican restaurants serve. All I did was quarter the corn tortillas, toss them in my FryDaddy for a couple minutes, drain them and salt them right away. Then we ate them all nice and warm with our salsa! So good.