Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guess What I Got?

Monday night I went to see:

Oh yeah, that's right!

I went to get this:

And I also got an awesome t-shirt, which I couldn't get a decent picture of. I'll get someone without a protruding belly to model it for me.

Guess who else was there?

My girlfriend who came with me fell in love with Marlboro Man. I got his autograph while waiting for Ree. He was quite the trooper. The line for his autograph was huge!

Ah yes, and the picture/book signing that I waited a total of 4 1/2 hours for...
Of course, what did I say? Nothing...except the fact that my friend had fallen in love with her husband. Pioneer Woman said, "it happens to the best of us". The rest is a blur.

So, I got home at midnight and scarfed down Taco Bell. I'm pregnant so shoot me.

I would love to write more, but I had a class tonight and am just now getting to the computer. I'm exhausted.

But it was so totally worth it.
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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cranberry Beef Stew

It's crazy how nice the weather has been over the last two days! I can't believe that it is already November. The only clue you would have around here is all the leaves on the ground.
Once November starts, I get all sorts of giddy. Cranberries are among my favorite foods, so naturally, this is the season for me to stock up on one of my favorite snacks, dried cranberries. Now that the month is here, cranberries of ALL types are not only readily available, but are on sale to boot! Plus, while I was picking up a few things at the grocery store the other day, I found that beef stew meat was on sale, too. Score! I wasn't sure what I was going to do, but I knew that I needed to utilize my cranberry obsession.

Of course, I happen to pick one of the warmest days in the history of November to make stew, but by evening, the wind flowing through our open windows was crisp and cool, providing the ideal atmosphere for enjoying this dish.

Cranberry Beef Stew

1 lb beef stew meat
1 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup hot water
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/3 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb egg noodles

Combine the beef and the flour, salt and pepper, tossing to coat.
In a large saute pan with high sides, add the oil over medium-high heat.
Once hot, add the meat and sear. Add the onion and celery. Once softened, add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Let the stew come to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 1 hour.
Remove the lid, and let the stew continue to bubble and thicken while you prepare your egg noodles.

Once the egg noodles are ready, drain and place in a large serving bowl. Top with the stew. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Easy Chicken Enchilada Soup

Comfort Food. Just saying those words immediately makes me feel better. At it's core, comfort food is typically inexpensive, uncomplicated, and easy to prepare. It is different for every person, but the basics do first come to mind: fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, the list could go on and on.

Lately for me comfort food means soup.

This recipe was so easy to prepare, quick, and just plain good. It also can be changed and modified easily to suit one's taste. For me, I will add corn and black beans next time. I hope you enjoy!

Easy Chicken Enchilada Soup
1 red pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, diced
salt and pepper
1 small can green chilis
1 can (14oz) can of enchilada sauce
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups rotisserie chicken
(you could also used canned chicken, or roast your own)

In a medium saucepan, add about a teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add the pepper, onion, and celery and saute until the onion is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining ingredients and lower the heat to medium and let the ingredients bubble together for about 15 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stuffed Mushrooms and a WINNER!

I think it's safe to say that when I am ordering an appetizer it 9 times out of 10 will be stuffed mushrooms. What is crazy is that I don't even enjoy mushrooms that much! However, stuff some cream cheese in those little fungi and (even better) fry them up and I'll take the bait every time.

And considering that we rarely eat out anymore, ordering these wonderful morsels is just a simple treat.

So, as my birthday meal approached, I could think of nothing better than to whip up some stuffed mushrooms of my own. I didn't go all out and fry them up, but the results were so good that that extra step wasn't even missed at all.

Stuffed Mushrooms
6 large button mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp cloth
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
salt and pepper

Set the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and cut off the tough ends. Finely mince 4 of the stems (or enough to make about 1/4 cup).

In a small saute pan, add a teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushroom stems and saute until most of the water has been removed, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, or until the garlic is softened and fragrant. See aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, combine about 3 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese with the remaining ingredients. Once the mushroom mixture is cooled, add it to the cheese mixture and stir to combine.

To assemble the mushroom caps, take about a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture and stuff them into the mushrooms. Top with the remaining parmesan cheese.

Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet and place in the oven for about 20 minutes. Serve with ranch or (my favorite) barbecue sauce and enjoy!

I'd like to thank those of you that entered my first giveaway! I thought I would be official and use the random integer dealy to pick my winner, but of course I can't figure out how to show the page. One of these days I'll get all the pieces in working order, but I hope for now you'll take my word for it!

Congratulations: Sweet and Savory Says It All! I have forwarded your email to the DM folks. Look for your gift certificate in your email inbox soon!