Pasta Puttanesca

Oh my gosh! To die for!  Well at least that’s what I thought.  My family didn’t share my sentiment. I got a, “It’s fine” and a “It’s ok”.  OMG wake up and smell the wine!  What is wrong with you people.

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Yes, there’s wine. Delicious! You can use chicken broth instead if you like. This is a fairly easy recipe to make but oh so yummy. I struggled a little because I still don’t have full use of my hand yet.  Fine motor skills are coming but strength to push pull or turn is not back yet.  For those of you who don’t read my every blog….I had Carpal Tunnel surgery a week ago.

Back to this very Italian dish….There was one ingredient I did not add.  Anchovies.  I am not a big fish fan or seafood in general. I thought this pasta couldn’t have been better even without the anchovies.

Here’s the link to the recipe on the Pioneer Woman website :
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/pasta-puttanesca/

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Oops. I was supposed to chop the onion in slices but since I chopped one handed, it was less dangerous this way.

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With one hand, this is my new best friend for chopping. The food processor. Garlic, 2 kinds of olives sans the anchovies.

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Only 8 ounces  of pasta made for the perfect portions for 4.

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Can’t you just smell the wine simmering with caramelized red onions? All those juicy tomatoes and flavorful olives.  Mamma mia! I felt like I was in an Italian Bistro. Bella! Bella!

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A little Italian bread toasted with olive oil pesto for dipping and you have a little piece of Italian heaven at the dinner table.

I would love for you to try this recipe and leave me a comment about what you think of it. Bon appetit!

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Limes, Glorious Limes

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This lime just inspired me to blog about one of God’s amazing creations.  Limes!  All 5 senses get involved when it comes to the perfect lime, like this one.  First, let’s talk sight!  Have you ever seen any shade of green more vibrant than on a lime.  I love it so much that I have the walls in a bathroom in my house this color. It’s a happy color!  Calming. Refreshing.

Secondly, let’s talk smell. Aromatic to say the least.  Intoxicating would be another word I’d use to describe the smell, but mostly limes smell of freshness. 

As far as sound goes… just imagine the gentle squeeze of a slice or two.  Juice cascading into a refreshing glass of sweet tea. You can hear the squeeze of a half lime over the top of some delicious Mexican dish. (OK, maybe that’s stretching it a little  bit.) You get the idea!

Touch.  Bumpy or smooth outside. Acidic inside.  Watch out if you’ve  got a cut or scrape on your hand.

Lastly, Taste. Tart but flavorful. Tangy citrus. Adds such a delectable  flavor to foods and drinks unlike other citrus, such as lemons or oranges.

Who knew you could find so much to say about this little  green citrus fruit! Try one today.  You’ll  be refreshed.

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Crunchy Cereal Chicken Fingers

So it’s Sunday night and I wasn’t planning to cook tonight since no one was home until later and Ron and I had a late lunch of BLTs.

BLTs. For you unSouthern folks, that’s bacon, lettuce and tomato.  One of my Southern favorites…whole grain white bread,  lightly toasted, mayo spread to the edge of the bread, warm, crispy bacon, freshly sliced juicy red tomatoes with a little seasoned salt on them and a little spinach/ kale greenery.  Ummmm!

So that plan  of not cooking lasted just long enough until everyone got home and was hungry and asking, “What’s for dinner?”.  A commonly asked question around our house with a teenage boy under our roof.

Crunchy Cereal Chicken Fingers to the rescue.  A “Pioneer Woman  recipe,  of course. If you have cereal eaters at your house, like I do, you know someone always leaves a dab of cereal in the box claiming, “It’s stale!”.  Well here’s a recipe to use that cereal up. 

As my mother would say, “Waste not , want not!”  There’s  a lot of truth in that statement .  I prefer to look at it from another perspective….God doesn’t give us more than we can handle so if we are not good stewards of what we have, there may not be as many more blessings. Yes, everything is a blessing that we have, even cereal. OK, enough of my soapbox for today.  Anyway, I was thrilled to not waste food. I think that may be a little bit of the organizer in me coming out as well.

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Chicken strips dredged in flour with salt and pepper.  Then dredged in egg. Then dredged  in cereal crumbs.  Cooked in a pan with canola oil.

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The process works like a charm for perfect chicken fingers. Beautiful and tasty. Served with a dipping sauce made with ketchup, applesauce, and worchestershire  sauce. Yum! Yum!

Check out the Pioneer Woman website for more info.
If you have kids, this recipe is a keeper.

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Thunderstorms-Love ’em or leave ’em

There are two kinds of people:
          Thunderstorm lovers.        Thunderstorm haters.
If you are a thunderstorm lover, you love to hear the thunder and want to snuggle down safe and snug. Cuddle up with someone you love.  Play games, eat comfort food, watch tv or maybe read a good book.  Some crazy people even stand out on the porch to watch them.  There’s something comforting about them. They bring people together and take away inhibitions. Everyone is focused on the storm and not on their own concerns. It kind of puts things in perspective. It’s humbling. Especially when you realize you are not in control and the world doesn’t revolve around your life. I definitely fall in to this first thunderstorm lover category.

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Then there are the haters, the nervous Nellies, like Snickers, pictured above.  He crawled behind the sofa, then between the 2 sofas to jump up in my lap then proceeded to drool all over the arm of the chair from panting so hard.  All the while shaking so hard that my recliner turned into a vibrating machine for a few minutes. Then he jumps down and starts the whole process over again with some pacing and whining thrown in every time a big clap of thunder sounds.  Tranquilizers anyone? Wish I had one for him! Summer in the South is not his favorite time of the year.

Why is it that the big dogs are the scared ones? My little dachshund, Cocoa, hopped into my lap but was just glad to see me and then went to sleep.

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Worn out doggies. They both were knocked out while we were watching a movie tonight.

So are you a lover or a hater of a thunderstorm? Send me a comment.

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One handed chicken salad

So yesterday I had carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand. I had put it off for 2 years; But I finally did it . The hard thing about it, I’m left-handed. I have had a little practice with my right hand though. Back when I was in the 6th grade, I cut my left hand open using a knife to slice an apple. That was a long time ago though. About 20 years ago, I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand. I know the drill. So how am I blogging, you ask? Thank goodness for Google tap to talk.

So today is the day after the surgery and I’m still in a lot of pain. I am so tired of lying around and sleeping from the meds though.  They make me feel so gross! So while I’m lying around, I realize I had some thawed chicken in the refrigerator that needed to be used. Why not make some chicken salad? Yeah right? So With a little help from my daughter, Caroline, we made chicken salad. She chopped the chicken and boiled it. I used the handy dandy food processor to chop everything. Onions, celery, eggs, and chicken. Add a little salt and pepper. And with a sturdy bowl and a sturdy spoon mixed it right up. One handed. With a little mayonnaise and ranch dressing. It was delicious.

I’m having a hard time opening things. I discovered that I can open big things by holding them under my left arm. Like soda bottles, mayonnaise jars etc. It’s the small things like deoderant or pain medication bottles I can’t get open. I had to wake my husband up at 4:30 this morning to give me pain medicine because I couldn’t get the bottle open. You don’t realize how much you use two hands to do simple tasks until one of those hands is incapacitated.

So I imagine my next few blogs will be short. Bare with me.

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Self Rising Biscuits

I think this is the first time I have attempted making biscuits from scratch.  Does that make me less of a Southern woman?  Every Southern woman can make biscuits, right?  Well apparently I have not mastered this art.

Of course I followed a Pioneer Woman recipe.  She’s not Southern, yet hers look perfect in the photo. What’s up with that?

Here’s the link to the recipe:
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/self-rising-biscuits/

I guess my issue with them is more related to appearance than taste. They were delicious but flatter than I had expected according to the picture on the recipe.  My suspicion is the self-rising flour I used may not have been the freshest or when the recipe called for shortening or butter, I should have used butter.  

This recipe is definitely worth another try. Fresh flour and butter it is! Give it a shot. Let me know what you think.

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Chipotle Chicken Chili

Delicious tex mex once again! I cheated a little when making this since I had to work late. It mostly cooked in the crockpot. I just love my crockpot. It’s great for us working moms and so helpful when you get home, are tired and don’t want to think about cooking.  I cooked the onions, garlic and  chicken on the stove per the recipe before assembling the rest in the crockpot.

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Here’s the link if you are interested:

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/chipotle-chicken-chili/?printable_recipe=11685

I learned something new while making this recipe. Do you know what masa harina is? I didn’t either, so I googled it. Basically  it’s a special Mexican ground cornmeal.   The article I read said to substitute corn tortillas ground in a blender or food processor for it,  so that’s what I did.

Surprisingly, the other interesting ingredient is beer. Good luck trying to find a single 12 ounce bottle. After looking in 2 different stores, I just gave up and bought a 16 ounce.  My husband enjoyed the rest. I’m not a beer drinker.

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This delicious dish is spicy, flavorful and tasty.  Especially topped with monterey jack cheese, sour  cream, crushed tortilla chips and a sprinkling of cilantro.  Enjoy!

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Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Just let me say….This recipe is not for all you bird or rabbit eaters.  I admit, I am not one of those people.  I like my roast beef. This recipe is for all you big eaters male and female who want a tasty, filling meal all in one sandwich. 

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As far as Pioneer  Woman  recipes go, this one is super easy. The slicing of the peppers and onions takes the most time.  It is so worth it though. The colors are gorgeous.

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Just fyi, I used a combination of mayo and horseradish  sauce as the spread on the bun. You could use spicy mustard or add hot sauce too.  I also used 4 colors of peppers instead of 3. 
Red, orange, yellow, and a green one that came from our newly planted garden bush.  Thanks Hon! (That’s my husband Ron) He’s the one with the green thumb at our house.

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I think these sandwiches were a big hit with my husband and son. Hope you enjoy them too.  This recipe is definitely a keeper! I have enclosed the link for you.

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http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/philly-cheesesteaks/?printable_recipe=11639

Happy Eating!

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The Most Amazing Tea Party Ever Finale

After the shopping, creating, decorating, cooking, eating and conversation was over, it was tea party game time.  See the following for tea party game ideas and candid photos of my guests .

1.  Have you Ever?
       Materials needed:  jelly beans, cellophane bags
This is a game of questions. Make a list of endings to the question, have you ever?…Here are some examples:  -worn 2 different socks, – lived through an earthquake or tornado, -fallen down the stairs, etc. You get the idea. If the answer to these questions is “yes” you take a jelly bean. Give each guest a bag to collect their jelly beans.

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2.  Name That Beverage
      You just have to say a description of the beverage  and the first to yell out the right  answer gets a point.
A. COMES FROM A COW – MILK
B.  SUMMERTIME DRINK-LEMONADE
C.  WHAT WE’RE DRINKING NOW-TEA
D. WHAT YOU NEED IN THE MORNING -COFFEE
E.  A KIDS DRINK THAT COMES IN LITTLE PACKETS-KOOLAID
F.  THE MOST POPULAR SODA POP-THE COCA-COLA
G.  COMES FROM NATURE-WATER
H.  AN ENERGY DRINK-RED BULL
I.    THIS DRINK HAS A NUMBER IN IT-7UP
J.    MOMS GIVE THIS DRINK TO SICK CHILDREN-GINGER ALE
K.   YOU MAKE FLOATS WITH THIS-ROOT BEER
L.    COCA COLA COMPETITOR-PEPSI
M.   THE OFFICIAL DRINK OF ASTRONAUTS-TANG
N.    ATHLETES DRINK THIS-GATORADE
O.   TROPICANA IS A BRAND OF THIS-ORANGE JUICE
P.    THIS DRINK HAS A PROFESSION IN THE NAME-DR. PEPPER

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3.  Name the TV Daughters
      You give the ladies the tv moms and they list the tv daughters. For example:  Caroline Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie)-Mary, Laura, Carrie, Wilma Flintstone-(The Flintstones) Pebbles.
You can google tv moms and daughters and make a list. The lady with the most points wins.

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4.  Tea Word Game
      Give the definition of words that end in -ty such as:  affordability  or curiosity or integrity and the like. The ladies write down the word.  You can google words that end in -ty. There are hundreds that will pop up. The ladies shout them out and keep score.  Once again the person with the most correct answers wins.

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5.  The purse game
      Hand out a list of items found in purses. Have each person check off the ones they have with them. The one with the most points wins.

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6.  Hide the Bobbie
      This a traditional game played at Victorian tea parties. Everyone leaves the room as you hide an object.  Then everyone comes back in the room and looks for the hidden object.  When they spot the object they just sit down. The last person standing is out and you start all over until only one  person is left and is the winner.

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So this concludes the tea party blogs.  I hope you have taken some insight from these blogs to have your own tea party some day.  It was great fun!

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Cream Cheese Mints recipe

Cream cheese mints

Ingredients:
8 ounces softened cream cheese
3 tablespoons butter softened
7-8 cups powdered sugar (start with 7, reserve 1 cup for dipping later)
4-6 drops peppermint oil

Instructions:
Place softened cream cheese, butter, and peppermint oil in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy.
Add 7 cups of confectioner’s sugar and beat again until dough like in consistency. It will seem stiff and dry at first but after a minute or two it will come together. If it is too dry to form balls after you are done mixing (this is rare), add in a tablespoon of milk and mix again.
Form into small one inch balls and place on waxed paper.
Roll each ball into confectioner’s sugar and flatten slightly with your fingertip, a fork, the back of a spoon, or a tiny seasonal stamp.
Allow mints to dry for a few hours before storing. If they will be eaten in a day or two, I leave them out at room temp in an airtight container. For longer storage, place in the refrigerator.
Can tint with food coloring to match the occasion if desired. Wedding shower, baby shower, holidays, etc.
Makes about 80 one inch mints

(Mine made 95)

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