Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Venison Monte Cristo Sandwich

venison sandwich

Pecan pie, coconut M&M's, the infamous painkiller at Cheddar's, veal: There are certain things in life that I believe should not cross my lips for fear I will love them. I know better. I've learned my lesson. I gave in to apple pie, pumpkin pie and French toast (thanks for those, Husband) and kind of wish I never had. I can't get enough of 'em. (And when you're not supposed to be eating carbs, that's not necessarily a good thing!)

So I should have taken my own advice and never made the sandwich that I made tonight. Oh. Em. Gee. I've been out to eat with Momma when she has ordered a monte cristo sandwich but never tried one. It's, like, French toast, ya know? And I was more than happy to avoid French toast for years.

But then I fell in love with bread dipped in egg. And I now realize there's no turning back.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pumpkin-Spice Coffee Brownies

coffee brownie recipe

For weeks we had a bag of mostly empty Godiva coffee hanging out in the back of our fridge. Every time I would open the fridge to shuffle things around - especially when trying to make room for all of those Thanksgiving ingredients - I had to move that bag to another shelf. The husband offered to throw it in the coffee maker one morning, allowing us to wake up with just one more taste of fall. I told him to leave it. 

The bag only contained about three tablespoons of coffee, but I wasn't ready to use it up.

A couple of months ago I had a slight dilemma and asked for suggestions as to
what I should make for a bake sale at work. The husband voted for oatmeal cookies, saying pumpkin-y coffee-flavored brownies might not go over well with the masses. But Little Big Brother (who I actually think should be referred to as Big Little Brother from here on out) was all about the coffee brownies. The only issue was that he was miles and miles away and wouldn't be able to test my recipe. 

What'd Thanksgiving mean for me, besides pink stuff and showing off a brand-new apron I sewed for myself (and one for Momma)?

Big Little Brother would be here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Meatless Monday: Southern-Inspired Rice Pilaf

easy rice pilaf recipe

We hopped off the Meatless Monday bandwagon a few months ago - not necessarily by choice, but still. But I just realized this side that we served our company their last night here was meatless - and now it's Monday! Hey, hey, look at that. We've got ourselves another Meatless Monday post.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day-After Thanksgiving Coma

The boys set our Thanksgiving table.
'Twas the day after Thanksgiving and no one was hungry for breakfast, so I got to sit down and blog instead of making eggs and bacon.

We hope you enjoyed your day with friends and family. Here's a look at how our day went:

Chance checked out the turkey while it thawed.
Homemade onion dip made an appearance on our appetizer spread.
The husband got his cranberry butter.
Ant took care of the turkey.
The cider-glaze turkey was dee-lish.
Our Thanksgiving buffet table - minus the turkey
The pumpkin pie didn't look the best, but it tasted pretty good.

I could eat my weight in apple pie.
The husband loves the crumb topping.
Did you save room for dessert?

Friday, November 18, 2011

*Freestyle Friday: Pumpkin Votives Holders

*Sometimes there's a little more to my life than food. Friday's the day I'll share, I mean, most Fridays I hope to share those bits with you. We'll cover crafts, music, travel, who knows.

If you ask the husband, he'll tell you I'm full of ideas. I rip pictures out of magazines, show the husband and tell him how great it'd be if we built that walkway, painted the living room that color, put up crown molding in the bedroom or made those pumpkin votive holders for Thanksgiving.

Yes, my great ideas almost always require his assistance. Luckily, I've yet to come up with anything crazy enough for him to reject. (Although he's really fighting me on putting in one of those wall-length sliding glass doors in our next house.) 

Sometimes, though, I do come up with ideas that I'm not too sure the husband is going to be excited about helping me with. For example: pumpkin votive holders for Thanksgiving. Table settings aren't really his thing, but tools are. Perhaps that's why he helped me make these for our celebration. Actually, he even helped me pick out the pumpkins at the store. Good man.

What you'll need:

foam pumpkins
a knife or a drill with a small drill bit

What you'll do:

Outline where you'll cut your circle on the top of the pumpkin. (You may want to do this with a light pencil.) Make sure the hole you're going to cut will fit your candle snugly. 

Cut into the pumpkin - but not too deep! You don't want the candle to fall into the pumpkin and, quite possibly, catch everything on fire at the dinner table.

Insert your candle and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pepper-Lime Chicken

pepper and lime chicken recipe

Lime + tequila is one of my favorite combinations. Give it to me on the rocks and I'm a happy girl. 

This post has nothing to do with margaritas, but it has a whole lot to do with lime - and making someone in this house very happy.

The husband doesn't like margaritas one bit. The man can't stand tequila. But he does like lime, and he's a big fan of pepper.

Pepper + lime + chicken? It's a goodun. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Trial Run: No-Knead Rolls

Last weekend I did something I never thought I'd do: I bought skinny jeans. I've been hating them from afar for months now, secretly wanting to kick the person who thought it'd be cool to bring tapered-leg jeans back in style. When none of your pants fit, though, you can be swayed to make very impulsive purchases.

I had store credit. The jeans fit. I bought them. I wore them to work. And then I debated all day whether I felt hip in my skinny jeans or like it was 1992 all over again.

Although I was willing to wear snug-fitting jeans in public, I wasn't quite ready to do so in ballet flats and my tapered ankles for all the world to see. The wedding boots had to do. The truth is, there's a chance I subconsciously wanted skinny jeans because I found a new pair of boots I'd really like Santa to leave under my tree. In fact, I think these jeans would look perfect with those boots.

Yes, sometimes I like to torture myself. And that's exactly why I made these rolls. They're going to be perfect on our Thanksgiving buffet - perfectly torturous for those who shouldn't be consuming carbohydrates.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

They Say It's Your Birthday

I wish that you could live forever
And that I could be there too
And that there'd be generations
To look after me and you

But I know that isn't likely
So I guess I'll say it now
That I'll love you past the boundaries
That time and breath allow
- John Gorka

Happy birthday to the woman who gave me life. I love you so much, Momma. I'm making the husband a chocolate pie today, and I'll be putting a candle in it just for you. Stella may even wear a party hat. She likes to wear things on her head, too. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hayes Birthday Wishes

Last night was a scrounge-through-the-fridge-and-eat-whatever-you-can-find-before-it-spoils kind of night. The husband made himself a few taco bowls; I baked tofu. It was also my MOH's birthday yesterday. My cousin two ways, which I won't get into, who I prefer to call my sissa, who is a ginger just like me but has beautiful red curls instead of straight hair that gets weird waves in the back unless you spend 10 minutes straightening it, turned another year older.

Happy birthday again, Al. I hope you and the fiancé had a nice night out on the town. We did. Our night looked a little like this:

Hayes Carll
Hayes Carll at the Shed
My phone does not take fab photos.
With bellies filled with leftover food, the husband and I spent the night singing along with Hayes Carll. And your birthday was made complete for me, Sissa, when I danced next to a man wearing a baja. 

p.s. Did you sleep with your new snow boots?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies


The husband is a known snacker. It doesn't matter how much I feed him for dinner, there's a good chance he's going to get up off the couch at about 8 pm, go into the kitchen and start looking for a snack. He tells me he gets it from his father. For the record, I don't know why he feels the need to blame his daddy. The husband should just admit he likes his snacks. I'll admit it: I like to snack.

I also like snacks in milk. And when the husband is in the kitchen poking around for his after-dinner snack, all I need to hear is a cupboard open and his hand rummaging around in the silverware drawer to know he's about to eat cereal. 

This never bothered me until about two months ago when the doctor put an end to my cereal eating. Now, I don't want to harp on the fact that I can't eat a lot of carbs these days, that's life. But I've just got to get this off my chest: I miss some of my old favorite snacks. I miss snacks in milk.

So I thought I needed to find a way to make myself a little something I could enjoy while the husband's eating his evening bowl of cereal. I found that little something in flourless peanut butter cookies - they're not exactly low-fat and they're a little crumbly, but they taste fab in almond milk. And I don't care how much I ate for dinner, it's 8 pm, and I have room for a little cookie. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Keepin' Things Light and Easy With Alfredo Pasta Sauce

Some nights just call for super-easy dinners that don't require standing at the stove whisking milk and cheese until it turns into sauce. Some nights, all I want to do is throw a few ingredients together in a casserole dish, eat a hot dinner and not worry about the dishes.

Chicken, mushrooms, Alfredo sauce from a jar and a little sprinkle of mozzarella on top can make me a happy girl.

And on nights like that, the husband is content to eat a pre-made pizza crust. He'll happily pile it with chicken, Alfredo sauce, pepperoni, cheese and more cheese. He especially likes it when I let him put whatever he wants on top. (Translation: I don't make him eat any vegetables.) 

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Feel Like Chicken ... Almost Every Night

Meatless Mondays were fun. Eating bread and cereal and fruit and potatoes was fun, too. But the doctor put an end to all of that a couple of months ago. Long story short, I need to watch my carbs and eat a lot of protein, according to my doc. And I mean a lot.

So, that's what happened to Meatless Mondays. I figured you'd been wondering and thought it was only fair I give you a little explanation.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Water Bagels Make the Husband Happy

homemade bagel recipe

I reward the husband with food. It's a bad habit, I know, and probably one I should break before we open this house up to any little people, but it works. Food treats make the husband happy, and they make me happy. And, for that, I doubt I'll be able to stop anytime soon.

The husband has been super spectacular lately. I, obviously, always think he's the bee's knees, but he has really stepped up lately. I think he's vying for the Husband of the Year Award. Or maybe he's hoping Santa's watching. Either way, his good behavior has earned him multiple food rewards in the last week.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thanksgiving Trial Run: Buttermilk Cornbread Dressing

cornbread dressing recipe

Buttermilk Cornbread Dressing
Slightly Adapted From the Recipe Featured in Country Living, November 2011

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped
1 batch moist cornbread, allowed to dry at room temp for two days and cut into 1-inch pieces
a dash of lemon juice
1 1/2 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about seven minutes, stirring frequently.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Put the onion mixture into a large bowl. Add in the cornbread. Coat with lemon juice, broth, butter, salt and pepper. Toss until moistened.

Spread in a 13-x-9-inch baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes or until crusty on top and hot all the way through.


The original recipe called for sausage, pecans and parsley, but I hate sausage, Little Big Brother is allergic to nuts and I didn't have any parsley in the house. For Thanksgiving, though, I think it'll be worth it to invest in some parsley. It'll brighten things up a bit and add a little more flavor, I think.

This dressing was good - the husband liked it and the tiny piece I allowed myself was awfully tasty. We both agreed, though, that it was quite buttery and next time I should cut the bread into smaller pieces. One-inch pieces were a bit large. The husband even suggested I cook a little onion in the cornbread next time so all of the onion pieces don't sink to the bottom of the baking dish. I suggested I throw some celery in when the big day comes around, but the husband is pushing back on that idea. Apparently he didn't miss the traditional celery, but I think others might.

Overall, this was a winner and will definitely be on our Thanksgiving table. It may need a few tweaks before it hits our family members' plates, but it's a keeper for sure.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thanksgiving Trial Run: Moist Cornbread

moist cornbread recipe
Moist Cornbread
I'm addicted to recipes. Was it not obvious? Well, now I've admitted it. And with this addiction comes magazine reading, cookbook collecting, Google searching, Foodbuzz gazing. I can't stop. I collect recipes, and I look forward to making new dishes for the husband. And when I know I have family and/or friends coming to our house, I get super excited about what I can cook them. Super. Excited.

But my excitement goes right out the window when I try out a recipe that fails and leaves me angry and embarrassed. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," the husband will tell me. Well, what do you do when you don't necessarily have a tried-and-true recipe under your belt for said dish, but you really want to serve it to company. Do a trial run. Duh.

I act like I've done this forever. Really, though, I'm more likely to make a new recipe when our parents come to visit, have it fail, get all bent out of shape when it doesn't look like the picture and ask myself why I didn't make it before our company arrived. So I'm going to - finally - follow my own advice.


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