Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Picnic Time!

Think back for me today, farther back for some more than others but back to your childhood when you would come inside and something was being made in the kitchen and the smell alone could get you excited. Not because you were hungry but because of what that particular scent would mean.

Easter weekend took the kids up to visit Grammie and instead of a huge feast and mess we decided to have a picnic at the park. Menu? Cold Shake N Bake chicken, mom's potato salad, and guacamole with chips! I know what you are saying right now, well most of you anyhow... cold chicken? You bet. I haven't had cold Shake N Bake for years and not once can I remember us having it hot for dinner. It was always for a picnic the next day.

I had forgotten all about the chicken until we decided on a picnic instead of all the work that goes into a holiday meal. As the chicken was cooking the house filled with flavor and my mom got a goofy look on her face saying, "I have not smelled that in years!" My parents worked a lot when we were growing up and just like most parents today they were tired. When we sat down to eat I remembered going to different parks all through my childhood and each time at that moment I just knew that no matter how busy my mom was she had set aside everything else for the afternoon.

Now as an adult I admit that I had forgotten the Shake N Bake. I would instead stop at KFC drive thru cause I remembered the chicken part clearly and wanted the same for my kids. As it happens, we never go to KFC unless it is to take it to the park so in a small way I have continued the tradition. But now? It will be shakin time! Not only cheaper but the kids love to shake it!

Here is how I plan it:

Shake N Bake....I am a thigh and leg type of girl. Those two cuts seem to be the easiest to eat for kids and adults when at a park.  Line your baking sheets with foil and clean up is easy! I always figure at least two pieces of chicken per child as a safe bet cause after they play they always come back saying they are STARVING, and after chasing the kids? You might be starving too.

Potato salad. Everyone has their favorite add in stuff and I like finely diced celery, hard boiled eggs and green onions. Parsley is a good color booster too. A little mustard and miracle whip and you can call it done. But then sometimes? Well sometimes I add in finely diced pickle too and if it is a little on the dry side and you don't want to add more miracle whip or mayo whichever? A little bit of the pickle juice or white/red wine vinegar helps. Please....use the miracle whip or mayo sparingly mix it in as a booster because you want the flavors of each ingredient to shine. Trust me on this. On a personal note, I have both mayo and miracle whip in my house. Different flavors different uses.

Guacamole flows from the faucets around here during the summer months and I have a tip! My brother-in-law puts two of the avocado pits in the guac after it is made. He says that it stops it from turning brown and I gotta tell ya the green stayed bright and creamy. I put in tomatoes, sweet onion, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper in mine. All to taste, I admit I don't measure much of anything unless it has to do with baking.

This is not my only picnic menu to share this coming season and there might even be a Thursday Thirteen that we will have for just such an occasion!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Busy busy busy busy....did I meation busy?

It has been a whirlwind to say the least since last month. Soon after my Paula Deen cookware review Sharon came for a visit and we are both still trying to recover.

We do have a lot of stuff coming up though, some great recipes like Hungarian Chicken over Egg Noodles, my failure at Eggs in a Nest so basic yet I can't pull it off like my dad can. I did research it though and will be taking another stab at the so called beginner basic breakfast and let ya know how it turns out. Also an update on the cookware and a mini rant about people taking responsibility for the things they put in their mouths instead of blaming the T.V. cooks, or McDonalds, or butter....

Oh and Sharon made this amazing blood and guts cake that she is going to be posting about. It looked amazing and I was told by a nurse friend of mine that she got the organs part right! So not only was it zombie dinner time but it was anatomically correct! Just wait til you see it!

Did I mention that I am the proud owner of the NEW Pioneer Woman cookbook? Oh it is fabulous! Gonna try to hit up Sharon for a ~TT~ real quick since we haven't done one in forever and see what we can pound out.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Paula Deen Cookware Report!

The Paula Deen cookware set...take a moment and simply gaze at the beautiful red color, the way the light catches the copper lid handle and though you can't see it.....how the red continues on to caress the bottom of each pot. The picture my friends doesn't do it justice but it will have to be good enough for now. (In the set I was given for Christmas, there was also a cookie sheet, whisk, and a couple of small knives.)
The pans are a lot lighter than I had expected, and at first I was a little put off by that. Hasn't it always been the heavier the pot the better the quality? Think cast iron. Beauty however has it perks and I couldn't help but to try them out. My concern was that the handles seemed to be heavier than the pan, and that could mean that the balance would be off and the pan would topple. My fear was unfounded and the pans really work well. I love the shape and a plus of a thinner pan is that they heat quickly. I don't have to wait long at all for the pans to be ready for me. I love that!

I know....how dare I have any doubt that something with the name Paula Deen on it would be a fail! But really the pans are so light! You would doubt too!

The downside so far to the set is the pans are not recommended for the dishwasher. Some dishwasher soap is too harsh for nonstick finishes and it gets expensive to replace pots. I am lazy. I am not one of those people that clean as I go. I always set out to do that but it doesn't happen and so dinner dishes get done late into the night or even the next morning. These pans understand and have no issue with my lazy nature and clean up easily which is a bonus in my house or really any house for that matter.

Paula...I'm sorry but I have to have one complaint. The cookie sheet. It is gorgeous, and it doesn't bow in the oven like some I have, but it is a pain washing wise. There is a lip on the bottom along the edge and water gets trapped in there. So...you can't put it in the dishwasher either. When you do put it in and then pull it out nasty water that has been trapped during the cycle comes out in a funky color puddle. To wash it by hand you gotta shake the crud out of it to make sure you get all the water out. Easy fix? I cover it with foil and give it a wipe down never putting it in water. Or if you are not a fan of foil then put in the side of the sink that doesn't have soapy water give the pan a wipe down with the soapy cloth and a rinse and shake it....but please....remember the conversations we had about whisking while naked? Shaking cookie sheets while naked might be worse.

Overall I love this set. It threw me off a little at first and I was hesitant to give up my well abused....I mean used Circulon set. I still haven't given it up only because I tend to use a lot of pots and pans and I love my big mamajammas, size does matter folks. I have read reviews that have said the pans are pretty enough to leave out on the stove as decoration. When I try that it looks like I just haven't cleaned the kitchen and when mom comes over she feels the need to put them away for me. But hanging them from a rack or on wall hooks would be nice....just wait til next week when Sharon is here and I pull these suckers out. She is gonna be all in lust and I will have to do a count before she leaves to make sure she doesn't try to take any home with her!

Up next? I gush about my Le Creuset French Oven. Think dutch oven but made in France and gush worthy. I cried when I opened the box...it really is that beautiful. Don't get jealous though, your dutch oven or french oven is good too...okay get jealous I'm okay with that. Included is a recipe that I will be making for Sharon for thick cut short ribs, french onion soup and beer. (you can make it in a slow cooker crock pot as well and it turns out good)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

~TT~ Cookie Madness!

Please go visit the other great blogs that create ~TT~ Like ours....well not just like ours but they are great none the less! http://thursday-13.com/

Charity: whats the topic?
Sharon: well... its cookie time in the city
Charity: My favorite holiday cookie are those little wedding cookies. And come to find out they are incredibly easy to make. They are also called Mexican or Italian Wedding Cookies. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Italian-Wedding-Cookies-III/
Sharon: oohhhh I've never made those and I consider myself a cookie guru!
Sharon: Well one of my favourite cookies to make are called pecan and jam belly button cookies. You know what a huge fan of navels I am.... and these little suckers are absolutely delightful with tea and a good man beside you
Charity: Classic cookie for ALL occasions.....The Sugar Cookie. Everyone has a favorite recipe. Some like em crispy some like pillowed fluffy ones like my mom. Not that my mom is fluffy I meant she likes the fluffy ones. They are both right and tasty. From sugar sprinkles to frosting and circles to cut outs you cannot go wrong! I even happened upon a recipe that is for a spiced sugar cookie. I am gonna try it out.
Sharon: Yeah.. I love making them into snowflake shapes this time of year.. then decorating them with granular sugar and blue icing
Sharon: So of course, this season wouldn't be right without mentioning shortbread.... dip half in chocolate, add some red and green cherry bits and you got a great holiday fave there
Charity: damn you! I was gonna do shortbread! I have a link and everything!
Sharon: so link!
Charity: Yeah but I call invalid that you took my cookie.....harsh Shar very very harsh. Here is the link to Almond Shortbread and yeah chocolate dipped, frosted with almond butter icing or plain it is a great go to! http://allrecipes.com/recipe/almond-shortbread-i/detail.aspx
Sharon: mutters... ok okay... then how about chocolate marshmallow clouds? Bad for the hips, great for the soul
Charity: I love when you let me win. Its because you know I will be tortured at the dentist today huh? My neighbor makes these wonderful oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. I am not a fan of raisins so this hits the spot. They were so moist and yummy that I can't wait to cookie exchange with her.
Sharon: Yeah.. I hear  you on raisins. Great raw but in baked goods? puke. Who wants to eat something that looks like ... well okay maybe men would.. never mind.. next!
Sharon: You know one of my favourite cookies does involve chocolate (naturally) but white chocolate. And I only make them for the very special people in my life cause once they eat them I'll never get rid of them. White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies... sweet, sinful and if you're not careful you'll just well.. lets just say you'll enjoy them lots
Charity: Ooohhh you had me at Macadamia Nut....
Sharon: yeah... i have the world by the nuts, babe. My gift.
Charity sighs softly with a smile on her face, "okay....gotta move on before the list is over early. Here is a link to a site that has a few recipes however the one I want to highlight is the No Bake Christmas Wreath Cookie. The kids love these and it is a lot like a rice crispy treat but made with corn flakes. Easy to make and very pretty on a plate. http://koffeeklatchgals.hubpages.com/hub/No-Bake-Christmas-Treats
Sharon: oh that is a good idea actually. Hey now.... what were those things you made me eat when i visited you? Snickerthingies
Charity laughs, "Snickerdoodles. They are basically a sugar cookie with cinnamon and sugar baked on top. I think it counts cause it has their own name."
Charity: And I don't remember MAKING you eat anything. You were pretty easy.....but they know that already.
Sharon: yeah well.... if the cookie fits...
Sharon: Okay I'm going to go with peanut butter frogs.... yummy butterscotch chipits, peanuts.... Chinese noodles.. really a great drop cookie for this season
Charity: I want that recipe to try out. Never had it. I am going with another no bake cookie. Chocolate no bake cookies. Butter, oats (so that makes it healthy) sugar, evaporated milk and cocoa. Easy to make and even if you over cook them and they crumble? Just use you lips like a hoover cause they are still so very very good.
Sharon: Laughs... you said hoover... now whose the bad girl, huh?
Charity: You are. I am not sure my occasional naughty moment will ever catch up to yours. But yeah I said it!
Sharon: Ron? you see what i have to work with here?
Charity: Hey!
Sharon nods lots.. "you cant' hide the naughty from me!"
Sharon: BUT ! back on track? Get your kids to try these... not hard and fun to make when you intertwine red and white dough to make candy canes http://www.styleathome.com/food-and-entertaining/recipes/recipe-candy-cane-cookies/a/28211
Charity: And for the last? How about Gingerbread cookies. Be it men, women, or snowy figures. I love fluffy gingerbread over the crispy myself, but again go for your taste and frost them til you can't frost anymore.
Sharon: yeah you cant' go wrong with that. Last? that's thirteen???
Charity: Yep that be it. Time flies when we talk cookies.
Sharon: I made pornographic gingerbread men once.. added cute little winkies to them. Of course they were hard but then flopped over when i stuffed them in the oven... their facial expressions changed too
Charity: I am sure the facial expressions were a direct reflection on their winkies flopping over when things got hot.
Sharon: yeah.. so what's a girl to do? bite their heads off
Sharon: Well that is the fastest TT ever.. like.. I'm not satisfied.
Charity: Go back and read our list and bake some.
Sharon: Okay sounds good :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

~TT~ Movies!

**we did start out with the intention of food being the focus however we strayed a bit this week lol**

Sharon: Great Movies with food & drink focus
Charity: Okay I will go first and throw it down.....start off strong and all Julie and Julia.
Sharon: well yeah... great movie, fantastic actresses and ... well there is a ton of great cooking scenes
Charity: I have to say that there are many moments in that movie that I said out loud, "oh I could never....nope would never try that!" I also think of the onion cutting scene every time I chop onions.
((THIS is how far it took us to go off of food focus.....))

Sharon: Okay well if you are talking memorable moments? Can't go further than Meg Ryan in the restaurant faking an orgasm... and the lady saying "I'll have what she's having"..... forget what food it was, but a damn funny scene! When Harry Met Sally I think it was
Charity: I agree....I want what she is having.
Sharon: Yes! Yes! YES!!!!!
Charity: Back to food okay? A movie that I can watch over and over? Eat Pray Love.
Sharon: Yeah? never seen it
Charity: WHAT?! You haven't seen it? Julia Roberts I think in her finest! The movie is very inspiring I think and though it is not entirely about food so much as the life journey I get all caught up on the food.
Sharon: Thought she was in Mystic Pizza?
Charity: I think you are right.
Sharon: another good movie.. good pizza. But wow.. someone needed to take a weed whacker to her eyebrows back then. Shudders. Looked like 2 mating caterpillars
Charity: Don't be mean.
Sharon: I"m not being mean.. I'm being observant. If i was being mean I'd comment on her horse mouth.
Sharon: Ok ok ok.... would a little wine help?
Sharon: If so, check out the hilarious movie Sideways.. really a great movie all about wine. Not slapstick funny.. but intellectually funny
Charity: Great movie that started a revolution of Pinot Noir drinkers everywhere.
Sharon:  grins
Sharon: Haven't you noticed as we do this week's TT that I've actually been fairly good? I mean .... nothing X rated really so far
Charity:  Sex and the City gave me an appreciation for cocktails. Cosmos anyone?
Sharon: ahhh yes, the show did the same thing for me.. a new love for pink bunny ... um... friends...
Sharon: well. ... rabbit *coughs* but yes.. cosmos are a great drink... and the show is awesome
Charity: are you warning me about the X rated to come or simply proud that you have been good so far?
Sharon clearly you never saw the rabbit episode.
Charity: facepalms, "and there it is."
Charity: your turn.
Sharon  beams
Sharon : Okay .... so lets see.... for something a little different? I saw this yesterday... an oldie but a goodie and that is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom! Not that I want to prepare Snake Surprise, giant mealie bugs or chilled monkey brains... but the dinner scene was amazing!!
Sharon : and eyeball soup... hee!
Charity: shakes her head, "wait....we are a cooking blog. Not a gross out fear factor blog!"
Sharon : yeah but the fat greasy guy that burbed loved the stuff.
Sharon : ok ok.. then lets talk about another great Meryl Streep movie with food.... Its Complicated.. she plays a pastry chef and has the cutest scene making croissants with Steve Martin. BUT... regardless? One of the funniest movies I've seen in a very long time.
Charity: laughs, "since you threw down gross I have to follow up. Have you seen Clue with Tim Curry? There is a scene in the dining room when they serve monkey brains and turns out that it is a favorite dish of Mrs. Peacock and those brains become part of the unraveling of the entire movie!
Sharon:  ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
Sharon: Okay THAT's not cool .. copycats!
Sharon : Okay here we go... this is an OLD movie again but I love it so much. Animal House! When Bluto stuffs the white cake into his mouth and goes, "see if you can guess what i am now?" and smashes his cheeks in and blows it all over the preppy kids?... "I"m a zit! get it?"....... starts a food fight... just classic.
Charity: cries, "where has this blog gone? I mean really......it is a sad face type of day."
Charity: It started off so well.....
Sharon  frowns
Sharon : I have not listed any pornos.
Sharon : Like .... When Debbie did Donuts
Sharon :You don't wanna know what the special filling is
((Yes I googled "Debbie does Donuts" and was shocked to find references....so Sharon got to keep it in.))

Charity: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation! The dry turkey and the dog yakking underneath....oh and the cat food jello!
Sharon : ohhhhhhhhhhhh yeah... good timing on that one Char... gotta love Chevy Chase
Sharon : How about Dinner with Schmucks?..... I can't recall a single item they ate... but it was a funny as hell ridiculous movie.
Charity: Nope doesn't count then. There has to be food involved.
Sharon : Hmm
Sharon : Mr. and Mrs Smith with Brad & Angelina.... 1. her kitchen is awesome even with the extra guns & knives in the oven... and 2... the scene where they are serving the roast beef and figuring out that the other is trying to kill the other...
Charity: Oh yeah.....okay THAT is a perfect Accidental Cook moment! She can't cook worth shit but she puts the meal on the table AND catches the wine....however how about breakfast after they shoot at each other? Drinking juice out of broken glasses and all.
Sharon : AND then have crazy jungle sex.
Charity: The crazy sex came first. Go watch again.....I will wait.
Sharon : Can't... if i see Brad in those tighty whiteys and rubber boots Imma gonna need to grab the aforementioned rabbit.......
Charity: Then you will have to trust me then.
Sharon  runs out of the room "Brad! I"m coming!!!!!!!!!!!"
Charity: waits.....

**Sharon didn't come back last night....However I did get a text from "Brad's iPhone" and Sharon might be let loose again some point today.....While we wait together why not go over to the ~TT~ site and read some other lists! http://thursday-13.com/ **

Thursday, November 24, 2011

~TT~ Wieners

Charity: I want you to know that I am completely against doing this list. It is bad enough that you have to be leashed Sharon but now this???? A subject that no matter the editing it is gonna come off naughty....
Charity: Why can't we do cookies?
Sharon: OH come on.. its your Thanksgiving! Time to be thankful for Wienies!!
Charity: I don't have wieners on Thanksgiving.
Sharon: everyone should have wieners on Thanksgiving
Sharon: like. rubbing your full belly as you lay back on the couch and think "damn.. I just had the best wiener ever"
Charity shakes her head, "so you had wieners on your Thanksgiving?"
Sharon: grins.  Yup.. served something called Wiener Winks... hot dogs and Gouda cheese wrapped in sour dough then pan fried.
Charity sighs, "seriously? FINE it is a Wiener ~TT~ then."
Sharon fist pumps, "YESSSSSSSS!"
Charity: I will start, Lil Smokies in some sort of sauce, I usually put them in a crock pot with my fave BBQ sauce of the month.
Sharon: oh nice.. and easy too I"ll bet
Charity: yes....go ahead and say it.....you like easy wieners.
Sharon blushes. Guilty as charged. *Coughs*. Moving right along now... I'm going to suggest the Mexican Wienie Steamie.... stuff your fave wiener down the middle, stuff with jalapeno cheese AND diced jalapenos. So so so good.
Charity: okay....how to do you get it down the middle? Do you have to hollow out the wiener first? Get all the wiener filler out?
Sharon: Dude. You just grab the wiener, take your knife and go all Lorena Bobbit on it. Down the middle.. split that sucker wide open and stuff with the goods. THEN serve in  your fave kind of bun.
Sharon: You need a wiener education.
Charity: Well you didn't say that. You said to STUFF it down the middle.
Sharon: I didn't think I had to enlighten you about stuffing a wiener. You have 3 kids.
Charity: I have 3 kids because I DON'T go Bobbit on wieners.
Sharon: Touche!
Charity: Just sayin...okay next up. This one is for Paul....he wanted to make sure that his favorite wiener got put onto the list and asked that we add Polish Sausage. My fave comes from Costco and grilled up? The snap and the juice....damn fine mention without complications....just grill. Also here is a secret for the onions...soak a sliced sweet onion in coke. For about an hour or more depending on the time you have. Put those in a pan and carmalize them. These onions are the perfect addition to a wiener.
Sharon grins, "Cheers Paul!"... "who doesn't like a good dose of Polish meat from time to time?"
Sharon: Okay .. so back to edible wieners..... I like to freak out my own kids by using wieners without the bun. Like as a 'meat' with rice. I make something called Creole Dogs.. which involves wrapping diced wieners in bacon and serving over spicy rice
Charity: Here is a kid friendly one for you moms out there and dads too really. You want to be the hero of a rainy day lunch? Make Mac-n-Cheese and warm ya up some hotdogs using your own personal favorite brand of weiner and cooking method and then? Take a small knife and very carefully cut the bottom 2/3 of the dog into strips. The end result will resemble an octopus if you make enough swipes of the knife. Put the Octopus Wiener on top of a pile of mac-n-cheese and splay out those arms! I swear to you the kids will think you are a rock star!
Sharon: Oh yeah.. that is a good one. Then they make them dance.. and .. yeah totally fun you gotta have fun with your wiener.
Sharon: Except I don't like my kids playing with their wiener at the table.
Charity: You have to have limits.
Sharon: S'all good parenting, my friend.
Sharon: Alright.. so lets talk hot dog chili.. its kinda fun to have little medallions in the chili.... just replace 1/3 of the meat you'd normally use for sliced up dogs.
Charity: My turn? Something that I crave in the fall is Gumbo. I live no where near the south any longer but moving away did not make me give up my favorites. I love good gumbo and one of my fave wieners to put in the pot is kielbasa. I chop that sucker up and because it is a mild spiced wiener the kids won't complain about the heat.
Sharon: I've never had gumbo!!
Sharon: You know another good, warm and satisfying use of wieners is something i haven't made in quite a while... its a Bavarian kind of stew.. with potatoes, mushroom soup, sauerkraut.... serve with big warm chunks of bread.. very delicious and just regular hot dogs.. or you may try a German sausage with a bit of a spicy kick
Charity: I had awhile ago added to a kid friendly list a purple soup. It had bratwurst and purple cabbage in it was a complete and total accident. The entire soup turned this bright purple color and the kids loved it.
Sharon: you know an easy one for those with kids is the classic tater tot wiener casserole add lots of cheese and its all good
Charity: I have never made that classic. BUT here is what my mom used to do with leftovers....She would split the hotdog down the middle and put left over mashed potatoes on the wiener boat, covered it with shredded cheese and broiled it until it was bubbly and hot. I remember it being yummy but I haven't been able to make it yummy myself so I wonder if it is just a kid thing. Dunno.
Sharon: oh yum... what did she call it?
Charity: uh....she called it.....Hotdogs stuffed with Potatoes?
Sharon: I'm good with that. You're mom's cool. . and clearly loves her wieners.
Sharon: Okay I cant believe we're at the end  already. See how fast things go when its all about the wiener? So lets finish with the big one..
Charity: You said the same thing about Naked Chocolate.
Sharon: and we did not disappoint!
Sharon: okay .. so here we go. Deep breath Char.
Charity gets ready to edit......
Sharon: Wiener Pie. Lots of long stiff wieners.... nice soft pie shell with the tips sticking through the top... Its nearly orgasmic.
Sharon: but um.. I can show you a pic .. cause it IS a real pie... I kid you not.
Sharon: but BE WARNED.... we didn't make it.... here's a  link to give props to the chef that made it..... but WARNING! WARNING! ... its a little naughty. Ron? Only link if you're lady love is not around
Sharon: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anajune/92977530/
Sharon runs
Charity: And THAT folks is another ~TT~ from The Accidental Cooks. Have fun with your food no reason not to. Unless you are Sharon and your cooking has to have its own content rating.

**Please go on over and visit the talented bloggers that also put out.....TT lists that is. http://thursday-13.com/ **

Monday, November 21, 2011

Minty Cocoa

Hot cocoa is perhaps my favorite winter treat and with Starbucks now thrusting a MINTY hot cocoa at me at every corner of nearly every street I am far too tempted.

So here is a knock off that I think tastes better for a fraction of the cost...no offense Starbucks people.

Use milk. That is one of the secrets to great cocoa. I use Nestle cocoa mix. The giant container from Costco....that is how much cocoa we go through around here. So I put a lot of cocoa in mine. I like the thick decadence and am good about only having one or two cups a day. One in the morning and maybe one at night. But that is only on occasion. Now here is the good part. No matter how much cocoa you like in your cup or if you prefer water to milk....get ya some Peppermint Mocha creamer. Add a little at a time to taste test and let me tell you....I'm hooked and don't need to spend $4.55 on a grande nothin!

I would advise that you drink carefully and not spill on any boobage that might be peaking out of your pajama tank top. Not only does it burn but also leaves small cocoa stains for members of your house to go....just learn how to drink today? How'd that happen? Blah blah blah MIND YOUR BUSINESS and leave me to my minty cocoa!

Anyway...I highly suggest you try it out and if you have any mix in type things you would like to share please do so in the comment box!