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Sunday, March 23, 2008

My New Everyday China

It was sort of an impulse buy at Linens N Things, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE anything beachy, and I dont really like our china (our set is plain white), I always use these two blue flowered plates you always see in my blog because I like them more), but this will be enough china to use for company. I had two girlfriends over for dinner last night and here were my place settings...nothing fancy, but I love my new plates!

I am inspired by Katie #s

I frequent a message board where someone we call Katie#s has this great blog called The Hyper Homemaker: and she has these great tips and everything....anyhoo....she does something called 15 minute friday, and she does a different small chore or thing that needs to be done that will take about 15 minutes. Sometimes it is something that you would never realize only took about

15 minutes and now it's done. I have a long list of things to do around the apartment that never seem to get done, so she has inspired me to take 15 minutes out of my day (if able to) and either do one of these things or work on it for 15 minutes. I did my first 15 minute project yesterday....recovered my dining room chairs, finally!!! I have had the fabric for about 6 months or more and just never get to it. They really came out great, and I didnt time it, but I am sure it did not take more than 15 minutes. So thank you Katie!!!!!! Here are the results:



This is a list of projects I want to work on:
Cleaning husbands office (will take multiple 15 minute days)
our bedroom closet---organize, donate clothes we dont wear
Finish recovering chairs (there are two in the basement)
Dust the newly recovered chairs
Organize recipes in personal cookbook
Clean oven
Organize laundry room
Hall closet (this is my version of Monica Gellar's Messy Closet)
getting together a list of recipes I want to try

low fat buttermilk blue cheese dressing

This was really great. I had leftover buttermilk from the irish soda bread that I made, and I hate to waste I found a recipe on for "The Best Blue Cheese Recipe" found here:
so I used low fat ingredients, a little bit more blue cheese and also used apple cider vinegar instead of white wine vin. It was so great---best if chilled for a couple of hours. You will never know it is healthy!!!!! Ill post a picture soon.

Low Fat Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing

2 and 1/2 Tbsp crumbled blue cheese (heaping tablespoons)
3 T low fat buttermilk
3 T low fat sour cream
2 T light mayo (only Helmann's)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp garlic powder (I will use more next time)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in food processor or blender until blended. I used my magic bullet and it worked great! I put lots of fresh ground pepper. mmmmmmmmm!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Southwestern Turkey Cheddar Burger

I got this recipe from Cooking Light, August 2007 issue. These were so great and so moist and flavorful I will never buy plain turkey burgers again! If you like spicy, I would add a lot more cayenne, these were not spicy at all to me. These freeze really well. Next time I am going to put Jalepenos inside and perhaps a little cheese inside the patty. You know how I never follow a recipe. Enjoy! Leave comments!!

Cooking Light Southwestern Turkey Cheddar Burger

3/4 C finely chopped Maui or other sweet onion
1/3 C wheat germ
1 and 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne---I would use at least 1/2 tsp if you like it spicy, maybe more)
1 and 1/2 lbs ground turkey breast
sliced extrasharp cheddar (I used sliced jalepeno cheddar, but pepper jack would be good too)
I used sandwich sized english muffins

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions (this recipe made very big burgers, next time I would make about 8--use your judgement--they do not cook down much). Shape them into 1/2 inch patties.

You can either grill them (we dont have a grill) or cook them in the pan until done. In the pan it is about 6 min each size for the large burgers (6 servings). Place your preferred cheese on top and place on toasted roll or english muffin. These were so good. I made onion rings and placed one on each burger. Yummy! 395 calories a piece (that was with kaiser roll and cheddar, if you use low fat cheese and english muffin they are lower cal.

Guinness Mustard

Does not taste like guinness at all, just tastes really good. Made it to put over our St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef. Original recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine, March 2008 issue.

1/2 cup coarse ground Dijon mustard
2 T regular Dijon mustard
2 T Guinness Stout (make your hubby drink the rest, or you drink it if you likey!)
1 tsp golden brown sugar
Whisk all ingredients in small bowl to blend. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.

guinness Stout Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Sauce

Let me just start by saying this ice cream did NOT taste like beer! It mainly tasted like a rich vanilla custard with a deeper flavor, almost carmel or coffee like, something you cannot put your finger on. The chocolate sauce is to die for---I could just (and did) eat it with a spoon). Original recipe from Emeril Lagasse. I made a few changes that were recommended in the reviews. My changes are reflected in the recipe. I made the changes based on reviews that said the ice cream left a fatty residue on the tongue. Original recipe here:,1977,FOOD_9936_19413,00.html

Guinness Stout Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Sauce
12 oz Guinness Stout
2 C. heavy cream
2 C 2% milk (orig. called for whole milk)
3/4 C granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
4 egg yolks (orig. called for 6)
Dark chocolate sauce recipe follows

In large saucepan, simmer the guinness until reduced by 3/4 in volume, recipe said about 8 minutes it took me much longer over med high---warning your house will smell like a brewery, but it dissapates quickly. Keep measuring until it is only 3 oz. Place in fridge until cool. Combine the cream, milk, and sugar in medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan and add them with the vanilla bean to the cream mixture. Whisk. Bring to gentle boil and remove from the heat.

Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk 1 c of the hot cream into the egg yolks. Gradually add the egg mixture in a slow stream to the hot cream. Cook over med low heat, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (5 minutes). Should read 170 degrees on a instant read thermometer. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to keep a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Remove guinness reduction and cream mixture from refrigerator and whisk them together, until well blended. Pour into the frozen bowl of an ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturers directions. Freeze until ready to serve.

Dark Chocolate Sauce (original had honey, I subbed 1 T. sugar) I also halved the recipe.

1 C whipping cream
20 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped. ( I used Hersheys Special Dark)
2 tsp vanilla extract

In med saucepan, scald cream over med. heat. Remove from heat. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Add the hot cream, let sit for 2 min, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla. Let stand until cool, but still pourable. Serve over guinness ice cream

Beer Braised Corned Beef and roasted red potatoes

This recipe was my first time making Corned Beef and the only recipe Ill ever use, so tender and tasty! I found this recipe on (the food network). The orignal had carrots (I hate cooked carrots) and put the carrots and potatoes in the pan with the beer and whiskey. I roasted the potatoes separately. I made a few other changes (in parentheses). Here is the orig. recipe:,1977,FOOD_9936_34599,00.html

Beer Braised Corned Beef and Roasted Red Potatoes

1 (3lb) corned beef brisket (I used Nathans)
4 garlic cloves (I used 5tsp garlic paste and rubbed it on)
2 large shallots ( I used 1 sweet onion peeled and quartered)
2 T pickling spice (came with the brisket)
2 tsp caraway seeds (left them out)
2 (12oz) bottles beer (not light---I used Bass Ale)
1/2 C Irish Whiskey (I used Jamesons)
6 red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 sprigs fresh dill (I omitted)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. I rinse the corned beef because the blood grosses me out. Put the corned beef in a large roasting pan, rub with garlic paste, add onions, pickling spice, beer and whiskey. Cover and place in the oven. Braise 3 hours, turning the meat once. At the end of the three hours, mix the potatoes with some olive oil, salt and pepper (and fave spices), and place in separate roasting pan and place in oven with the meat for another 2 hours. I turned up the heat to 300 degrees for the last hour. Remove meat, check temp,aAllow juices to redistribute for about 5 min before slicing. Serve with Guinness mustard (see my blog for recipe under sauces)The potatoes needed about 10 more min at 450 degrees after meat was done and taken out of the oven.

Irish Potato Candy

No this recipe does not have potatoes in it, but they look like little potatoes---so cute. Sooooo good. Very sweet, so you only need eat a few. Tastes kind of like buttercream frosting with coconut in it. I think I got the recipe from cant remember.

Irish Potato Candy
1/4 C unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 box confectioners sugar (approx 4 C)
2 and 1/2 Cups flaked coconut
2-3 T ground cinnamon (to roll "potatoes" in)

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar, beat unitl smooth. Mix in the coconut. Roll into balls or potato shapes and roll in the cinnamon. Chill to set.

Irish Soda Bread

I have never made this before and now will never BUY Irish Soda Bread again! This recipe is too good and too easy!!!! This was the most moist, flaky soda bread Ive ever eaten. I got the original recipe from, it was simply called Irish Soda Bread (by Carol Fritz). The only change I made was I added currants and I cooked it for longer than it said (I put my cooking time in here). I also liked this recipe because I hate when soda bread has caraway seeds in it and this one does not. Enjoy, let me know if you like it!

Irish Soda Bread
4 C all purpose flour
1 T sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c cold butter
1 C golden raisins
3/4 C-1 C currants
1 and 3/4 C low fat buttermilk

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add raisins and currants. Stir in buttermilk until just moistened. Turn into a lightly floured surface; gently knead 6-8 times. It is very sticky.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet; pat into a round (I did oblong) loaf. Using a sharp knife, cut a 1 inch cross about 1/4 inch deep on top of the loaf. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45-50 min (I did 50), or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.