Monthly Archives: November 2013

Crock Pot!!!

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I am going to start this out by saying that I am not getting any type of compensation for this but I wish I was. I would advertise the heck out of this.

PERSONALIZED CROCKPOTS!!!!!!

You read that right. You can go online, pick your crock, and add a background, pictures, or an NFL team. How freaking cool is that. How coincidental that I found this right after I lost the lid for my 5qt? I call it fate. It means I can get one of the 6qt carrier ones (with the snap on lid) woo! Thank you to my Grandma who funded this Christmas present to myself and thank you to Bath and Body Works for having a Black Friday potluck so I can bring delicious food to my coworkers/show it off!

Crock Pot

I definitely could have picked a better picture of my Dad and I but it shows up better in real life and was in a shady Mexican restaurant so that’s as good as it gets!

Crock Pot

Seriously, how cute is that!

My only complaint is that this one is not programmable like my old one but I normally just leave it on low all the time anyways and the it’s pretty much just wrapped in a giant sticker. No complaints as it was only $10 more than the same model at target, but I will have to be careful not to bang it up against anything. Also, it only took about 2 weeks with shipping and processing! Great for Christmas presents =]

Here is the LINK if anyone is interested. Also, it does process through cafepress.com fyi to put the custom sticker type thing on there. I’ve used that site a few times and they have been great!

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!

Gumbo Gumbo GUMBO!!!

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Gumbo is a Louisiana thing and it’s probably the best thing ever. I’ve had jambalaya from a box and honestly, I think it’s better from a box than homecooked. I have yet to have good, real jambalaya. Gumbo, however, is a different story. I had never had gumbo until I moved here and holy bajeesus. It is delicious. I wish I could put a recipe up here for you but I have yet to figure  out how to make it. It’s on my list. My boyfriend, on the other hand, makes an OUTSTANDING seafood gumbo. Like really good. There’s a few things that I know goes into it and I’m planning on figuring out the whole roux thing in the next few weeks with a different recipe and the maybe tackle gumbo later.

It starts with a flour and oil mixture that is cooked until it turns a dark brown color. It smells awful and tastes awful. The whole house will smell like burnt popcorn. And if you feel like tasting it, burnt popcorn. I have no idea how something that gross turns into something so delicious, I will probably never know.

Then you add chicken broth, Cajun spices, and peppers and onions and whatever other veggies and spices you like. And then, this part is my favorite, SEAFOOD! You can make gumbo with chicken, sausage, shrimp, crab or any combination of them. Or other things but those are the most common/traditional.

Then it tastes delicious, we eat ours with rice and the for the next few days with rice. The huge pot never lasts long. EVER.

So here’s a picture of last night’s gumbo, yes those are whole crab claws, and yes, I did pick the meat out of them =]

Gumbo

And after

No Gumbo

Food For This Week! A Coming Attraction

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This week is going to be super crazy with the salon opening AND Thanksgiving AND Black Friday. Insane. So I have a fairly simple meal plan made out for the week.

Monday:

Leftover Gumbo

Tuesday:

Leftover Gumbo

Wednesday:

Butter and Garlic Shrimp Penne

Thursday:

Thanksgiving food. I wish I could say I wasn’t cooking but I’m prepping Friday’s potluck meal for work which is…

Friday:

Beer Cheese Soup! If you are not from MN/WI I bet you $50 you have never had it. People down here look at me like I am insane when I say it but I made it for my last set of coworkers and they loved it so I’m making it again. And it’s my mom’s recipe which everyone asks for. It’s pretty coveted.

Saturday:

Juicy Lucy’s. Once again, true MN food. A cheeseburger with the cheese on the INSIDE. Yumm. One of the boys favorite recipes that I make

Sunday:

Baked Ravioli. Super easy style as I will be exhausted from working a zillion hours Friday and Saturday

I look forward to sharing everything with you this week! (Sorry for the zillion posts today, I had to catch up from the week)

Christmas is coming!!! (40th Post Celebration!)

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It’s almost December which, despite everyone’s growing Grinch attitude, is my favorite time of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas, both in a month’s timespan, provide for awesome family time, thankfulness, and love. I still can’t understand why other people hate this time of year. While I have quite a Christmas list, it’s all about giving. I understand people get greedy around this time but DON’T LET THEM GET YOU DOWN! It will just sadden you and ruin your Christmas, which is no fun. Anyway, since I work a zillion hours this week as it’s Black Friday this week (retail) and the salon I am at is opening on Tuesday I will have no time to decorate next weekend. Or I won’t want to as I’ll be super tired. So I took full advantage of that this weekend. I went and did most of my inside decorating on Friday and finished with lights on the house today =] Here’s a couple pictures for you to enjoy!

Christmas Lights

Icicle lights! Took two trips to Walmart to find the ones we could afford. I bought the normal ones the first time so I could at least have some and the boy turned me right around so we could find the better ones and we found them cheaper. WOO! Also, neither of us fell off the roof putting them up so that’s a plus.

Garland

Made this garland on Friday and I love it! I haven’t trimmed the extra string yet but you can’t really see it

Tabletop

This is the “dining room table” that’s more of not for food. Just whatever. I’ve never actually eaten here before but it looks good!

Candy Dish

Sixlets are my favorite candy, and coincidentally the boy’s too, so whenever they have them around the holidays I stock up. Which means we have to have a candy bowl. And a snowman to keep watch. I had sixlets and eyeballs for Halloween and there’s still two eyeballs in my sixlets and candy cane bowl now haha

Front Door

Got our welcome sign and Santa’s key out by our front door! I had no idea where to put this welcome sign since we use the door in the carport not the front door but it went on the front so other people could enjoy it too!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Alcohol Adventure!

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So I’m going on an alcohol adventure! I’m making some homemade liquor for someone for Christmas (can’t post that one yet since it’s still a month away) and I decided to look at some other concoctions I could make. I bought vanilla beans for the mystery one and had one left over so I’m using it up! It’s also almost Christmas so this girl is on a peppermint fix. So candy cane vodka and cinnamon vanilla vodka have erupted!

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Original inspiration

Candy Cane Vodka

3 Candy canes

Some vodka. I used about 2/3 of a wine bottle. Essentially just so the candy canes were all covered.

1. Pour in a bottle and let it sit. This one says only 2 days so I’m going to try it later this week and see if I need to add more candy canes and will update this post. It turned pink in the 5 minutes it took me to find my camera so that’s probably good!

2. SHOTS. Or in hot chocolate which is what I plan on doing =]

UPDATE: It’s only been a few hours since this post and my candy canes have gone missing! They completely dissolved in my vodka so I tried it and it still tastes too vodka-y for me. I added two more candy canes and I assume they will be gone by morning.

UPDATE ROUND 2: I’ve let this sit about a week now and it’s delicious, I highly recommend making this. Just an fyi

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Cinnamon Vanilla

2 Cinnamon sticks

1 Vanilla bean, cut open with a sharp knife

Vodka. I used about the same amount. Just enough to cover my vanilla bean. Probs 2/3 of a 750ml vodka bottle

1. Put it in a bottle and wait. I made this flavor combo up so who knows how it will be. I’ll let it sit a week and taste it to see how it is and throw some updates this way

2. SHOTS or in hot apple cider which is what I am excited about!

UPDATE: This is SUPER cinnamony, which is fine. Definitely not something I would drink by itself. Next time I may try one cinnamon stick and two vanilla beans. I will be buying some cider to try this in this week and let you know how it is. It’s been sitting for about a week at this point.

Once they have sat I will update and let you know if I added anything and how they are. If you have any ideas or have steeped your own flavored alcohol let me know! I’m looking for more delicious recipes =]

Homemade Spaghetti =]

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I’m going to start this post off by saying I’m Italian. It may not be much (1/8) but it counts. I know how to cook more Italian food than German so I am Italian. I do not look like it until I am in the kitchen and then you will understand. A few years ago I tackled figuring out how to make my own spaghetti sauce and have been doing it ever since. As cheap and easy as it is to buy canned sauce, it is not as delicious as homemade. During the summer when I can get cheap tomatoes, I like to. However most of the time I just use canned. Use whatever type of tomatoes you like. The boy does not like chunks so we use crushed. I used to make it with 1/2 crushed, 1\2 petite diced. I prefer the second way but feel free to make it as chunky or smooth as you like. These spices are also mostly just what I start with. I usually add a little more but not too much so feel free to add a little more if it seems a little bland.

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Spaghetti

1 28oz Can of crushed tomatoes

1 15oz Can of crushed tomatoes

2T Garlic

2 Bay leaves

2t Oregano (I used ground)

2t Thyme (I used ground

2-3T Basil

Salt and pepper

Splash of red wine (I use cheap merlot, stale is perfect)

Spaghetti, makes enough sauce for about 3/4 of a box

1. Bring water to boil and cook spaghetti according to directions, drain

2. Bring all tomatoes, garlic, bay leave, basil, thyme, oregano, and red wine (really can’t use too much here) to a boil and turn down the heat.

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3. Let simmer for as long as you have. I usually just let it cook while I cook the noodles. Depends if I have something in the oven though.

4. Taste and add salt and pepper. Add any additional seasonings if necessary. I usually just add basil if it needs an extra something.

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5. Serve over noodles. I also served mine with Meatballs and cheesy bread

 You can also make this is a small crockpot and let it simmer all day on low or double/quadruple the recipe and make a big batch to freeze. Last time I made spaghetti sauce I made 6 qts. No shame here!

Meatballs

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So this was my first attempt at making meatballs and let me tell you, they were awesome! I was so excited at how delicious they came out. I didn’t follow any recipe for them, just checked out a few for cooking times and temperatures but that was it. I served these with my Homemade Spaghetti and it was the perfect combo! I didn’t use any binding agents just cause I didn’t feel like it and they stayed together very well. And I forgot to take a picture before I put them on my spaghetti, oops!

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Meatballs

1lb Ground beef

1/4c Bread crumbs, I used Italian style

1/4c Grated parmesan cheese

1T Minced garlic

1t Italian seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Mix beef, bread crumbs, parmesan, garlic, and Italian seasoning until combined

3. Shape into balls and place on greased cookie sheet. I made six decent sized meatballs

4. Cook 10-20 minutes depending on your meatball size until they are no longer pink in the middle. Mine took about 12 minutes then I turned the oven off and let them sit until spaghetti was ready.

These are awesome with spaghetti but would make a great meatball sub as well!