Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blackberry Cornbread

Well...this certainly isn't something you see everyday.

I'm on a blackberry kick.  My bird Murphy also likes blackberries.  Murphy has a bit of a plucking issue, but that doesn't stop him from being adorable.  He also looks a bit like a blackberry (fruit not outdated smartphone).

Blackberry Cornbread

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups blackberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square glass baking dish, and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and butter.

Pour liquid mixture into the dry mixture, and stir until thoroughly combined. Evenly spread batter into the prepared pan.

Scatter 1 cup of the blackberries over the top of the batter, and press gently until mostly submerged. Scatter the remaining berries on top, and lightly sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown around edges and springy to the touch. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Recipe Source

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Balls, Sausage Balls

And then...there is this. There’s no reason this image should not be seared in your brain, too.

Paula Deen’s Sausage Balls

4 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
3 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 1-pound package ground sausage
1/8 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon mustard
1 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray.
Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl. Mix well with your fingers. The mixture will be very crumbly.

Form into 1 inch balls, squeezing the mixture so it holds together, then rolling it between the palms of your hands to form balls.

Place the balls on the baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. To prevent sticking, move the balls with a spatula halfway through cooking.

To make the dip, combine mustard and mayonnaise. Serve with sausage balls.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tasty Low Carb Meal - WTF and WOW Recipe WednesdaySour

I'm keeping things on the low carb side this week and next.  It is a fast way to lose a few pounds.  There's no way I'm giving up most of my carbs AND vodka.  I'm not drinking beer and that is hard enough for me.  I'll just have a martini here and there and maybe everywhere.  Here's what I made last night.  I gotta say...with meals like this, you don't so much miss the carbs.
Tomato Garlic & Basil Pork Chops, Cucumber Salad and a Blackberry Martini

I had quite a few pork chops in the freezer.  We usually try to get a big package of pork chops at Sam's.  It is cheaper to buy in bulk and separate each pork chop into its own freezer bag.  I then freeze them and thaw them out when ready to use.  Grill Mates has some really good marinade mix.  I used their Tomato, Garlic & Basil marinade.  Obviously, just follow directions on the mix.  I poured the marinade over the thawed pork chops still in their freezer bag and put in the fridge.  Do this a few hours before dinner for the best taste.  Grill medium/high heat, four to five minutes each side (less for thinner pork chops).
For the Cucumber Salad, I sliced one cucumber and sliced 1/4 of a red onion.  I put the cucumber and red onion in a bowl and added 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of splenda, 1/4 cup of sour cream, a handful of chopped dill and salt and pepper to taste.  I stirred it up and put it in the fridge for the two hours that the pork chops marinade.
For the martini, I infused blackberries into my simple syrup.  I put a few handfuls of blackberries in the food processor and ground them for a bit.  I put them in a pan, along with 2 cups of water and 2 cups of splenda.  Heat to a boil.  Then strain finished syrup into a pitcher or mason jar.  Allow to cool.  Cut up a lemon into wedges.  Use lemon wedge to moisten top of martini glass and dunk rim in bowl of splenda.  Squeeze the lemon juice from the wedge in your martini shaker and add ice to shaker.  Pour equal amounts of vodka and blackberry infused simple syrup in shaker.  Shake it or stir it, depending on preference and strain in martini glass.

Monday, June 25, 2012

ERMAGERD and Slime

I think I need an ERMAGERD intervention.  I seriously can’t get enough of all the ERMAGERD memes.  Can’t. Get. Enough.  Allow me to put some here on my blog…or rather some more seeing how I’ve been including them in the Freaky Friday posts for quite some time.




Another thing that dawned on my today…ironically it dawned on me while I was using dawn detergent to wash a pan, I have not featured slime in my activities for kids posts. ERMAGERD DUH.  I think it is because I have made enough slime to fill the Colosseum.  I know this because I’ve been to the Colosseum!!  I digress, slime.  Here is the easy at-home version to make with the kids.  Making slime and playing with truly never gets old,  just like the ERMAGERD memes.  

What you'll need to make slime.  Use and empty bottle to mix the borax with water.    For this 20 ounce bottle, I put in about 4 tablespoons of borax and then filled a little over half-full with water.  Shake up borax and water mixture.

Pour entire bottle of glue in your bowl.

Add a few drops of  your choice color of food coloring and stir.

Pour in just a little bit of the borax and water solution.  You don't want to add to much.  Take it slow  and only pour a little bit in and stir.  If you seem to have a lot of glue left add a bit more borax/water.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

TCB and a Lemon Drop Martini

Today is all about getting stuff done!  I did give myself an inflatable pool break, but other than that, I’ve been taking care of business (TCB – shout out to Elvis).  This morning, I got the groceries for the week, I got stuff organized for my camp next week and mowed the backyard.  Later today, I’m going to clean the kitchen and bathrooms, dust and do the floors.  Then, I’ll make dinner and plop down in the chair to watch The Silence of the Lambs and True Blood.  It always feels good to get the house cleaned before watching a good psychological thriller and/or anything about vampires!  I have no doubt the dogs will do their damndest to mess it up again, but that’s just the way it goes.  More than likely, I will also treat myself to many many a delicious cocktails to go with my evening.  Those That cocktails will be this one!  Give it a try.

Lemon Drop Martini

Enough sugar for dipping the rim of the martini glass
¼ lemon
2 oz citron vodka
1 tbsp grapefruit-infused simple syrup

Simple syrup: To make grapefruit-infused simple syrup combine 1 cup of water, 1 cup of grapefruit and 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan. Stir over high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and let boil for a minute. Turn off the heat. Let cool completely. Pour into a glass jar and store covered in the refrigerator.

Place the sugar in a bowl slightly larger than the mouth of the martini glass. Take the wedge of Meyer lemon and rub it along the rim of the glass. Turn the glass over and dip the rim in the sugar bowl. Shake off access and set aside. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Squeeze the wedge of Meyer lemon over the ice. Add the citron vodka and the simple syrup. Cap the shaker and shake (the longer you shake, the more dilute). Strain into martini glass. Makes a small martini. If you have large martini glasses, you may want to double the recipe.  Does anyone really have a small martini glass??

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tree Trimmers from Hell and Creamy Mushroom and Sausage Pasta

It is pretty difficult to contain the mayhem when you have four dogs, two birds and a partner who needs to sleep during the day to work at night.  Things really came to a head with this issue today.  My neighbors to the east don’t really keep up with their trees.  It has been an issue for quite some time and bugs the crap out of us.   This morning we see a tree trimming truck in the driveway of their house.  Just as Tiffany is going to bed, the chainsaws start up in full-force.  It is Saturday so we know this is going to happen.  Not really much you can do about yard work during the day.  However, they are the nosiest and dumbest tree trimmers ever.  Around 10:30 this morning a tree hit the side of our house.  As if the boom wasn’t loud enough, they also scraped the limbs along the side of our house as they moved the fallen tree to their truck.  For some reason, they also kept walking through our front yard which constantly set the dogs off in a tirade of barking. From their cages, the birds could also see the limbs falling which caused them to scream and whistle Andy Griffith.

Later in the day, I was watching Dallas and having some spaghetti when I heard a knock at the door.  Naturally, the dogs went ape shit crazy.  Like any sane person, I ran and hid.  We’ve had an issue with security companies and Jehovah’s Witnesses coming to our door.  I’m not interested in what either is selling so hiding is the solution to this problem.  When I sought shelter in a proper hiding spot, I left my spaghetti unattended.  At some point during the crazy barking one of the dogs ate my spaghetti.  As I was checking their mouths for evidence of the crime, I heard another knock at the door.  The dogs went off again and I heard Tiffany say, “What? Why?”  I sprang into superhero mode and ran to the garage, opened the door, stormed out and yelled, “What do you want!?”  It was one of the tree trimmer guys. He asked if he could get in my backyard because they cut a tree down that fell across the fence into my yard. Incredulously, I looked at him and told him my partner was sleeping and his screw ups were really louder than the average screw up.  I let him in the backyard to find that the tree had fallen on our electrical line.  I gave him another good lecture, but I doubt he could hear me over the sound of the two brain cells in his head fighting for control and the continuing roar from his two coworker’s chainsaws.  Can you imagine what would have happened to this guy if he had jacked up my electrical line and screwed up my viewing of Dallas?? 

Creamy Mushroom and Sausage Pasta

½ pound dried pasta
13 ounces ground mild Italian sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
¼ cup diced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup white wine
1 cups mushroom broth
½ cup half and half
¼ cup light sour cream
2 ounces cream cheese softened
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile while pasta is cooking, brown Italian sausage in a pan over medium heat.  Once browned drain on plate with paper towel.  In the same pan that you cooked the sausage in add two tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Stir in mushrooms, shallots and garlic.  Cook 5 minutes or until mushrooms are softened and brown.  Pour in wine and mushroom broth allow to cook for 5 minutes.  Scrape any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Return sausage to the pan.  Stir in one tablespoon of the hot broth into the half and half to temper it.  Stir tempered half and half, sour cream and cream cheese into broth.  Continue cooking until the cream cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened slightly (5-7 minutes).  Stir once more and add chopped parsley.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.