A place to take note of my fruitful finds....

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lemon Buddies

Are you looking for a  kid friendly and easy to make snack? Then this is for you! I am always looking for new flavors to introduce to my kids but served in a way that they will actually want to try.

I love snacks we can eat together while watching a TV show or movie. Tonight's movie is...Despicable Me. Tonight's flavor is..... lemon.
Lemon Buddies  - Photo taken by Cami

Tonight's snack is....Lemon Buddies! They are like Muddy Buddies but lemon flavored! The recipe posted here includes my changes.

Lemon Buddies
9 cups Rice Chex cereal
1 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter or margarine
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Measure cereal into a large mixing bowl and set aside.  In a microwaveable bowl, microwave chips, butter, lemon peel and juice uncovered on high for 1 minute; stir.  Microwave about 30 more seconds or until mixture can be stirred smooth.  Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated.  Pour into a 2-gallon resealable food storage plastic bag.  Add powdered sugar, seal bag and shake until all the cereal is well-coated.

Fruitful Finds Source: http://smashedpeasandcarrots.blogspot.com/2010/12/party-food-chex-lemon-buddies.html

Friday, July 29, 2011

Road Trip Pillows

Going on a road trip? Make these cool pillow cases for your family summer vacation. They have a pocket for your toys and coloring books and a handle so that you can carry them easily. I am currently working on some for my kids. I will post pictures and a review when they are complete!

Source: http://amazingmae.blogspot.com/2009/06/road-trip-pillow-cases.html

Photo Source: http://amazingmae.blogspot.com/2009/06/road-trip-pillow-cases.html



Thursday, July 28, 2011

Homemade Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas

My Favorite Girl Scout Cookie!

Homemade Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas

1 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
up to 2 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky (it’s possible you might not need to add milk at all). The dough should come together into a soft, not-too-sticky ball. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough is very sticky. Roll the dough (working in two or three batches) out between pieces of wax paper to about 1/4-inch thickness (or slightly less) and use a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to make rounds. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole. Repeat with remaining dough. Alternatively, use scant tablespoons of dough and press into an even layer in a mini donut pan to form the rounds. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set. If using a mini donut pan, bake for only about 10 minutes, until edges are light gold. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside. Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula. Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2-3 tsp per cookie. Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it gets too firm to work with. While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate. Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Note: These cookies are fairly time consuming to make, but if you take your time and have fun with them, the results will be worth it.  Makes about 3 1/2-4 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Flaming Shrimp and Grits

 Flaming Shrimp and Grits
Food Network - Alton Brown
Serves: 4

For the grits:
2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated

Bring the milk, water, and salt to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan, set over medium-high heat.
While continually whisking, gradually add the grits. Turn the heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until thick and creamy, removing the lid and whisking every 3 to 4 minutes to prevent the grits from sticking or forming lumps.
Remove from the heat, add the pepper and butter, and whisk to combine. Once the butter is melted, gradually stir in the cheese. Cover and set aside until the shrimp is ready.

For the shrimp:
1 pound (31/35 count) shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 ounces butter
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Place a 10-inch non-stick sauté pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp to the pan and toss once or twice. Remove the pan from the heat. Gently pour the butter into the pan and return to the heat. Sauté until the shrimp are cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes more. Season with hot sauce and salt and pepper if desired. Serve over warm grits.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Snickerdoodle Muffins


Snickerdoodle Muffins

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
¾ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons cream of tartar
½ teaspoons salt
1 cup sour cream
¼ cups buttermilk

For the topping:
⅔ cups sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Set pan aside. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the butter and sugar and cream until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the sour cream and buttermilk and mix to combine. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Use an ice cream scooper and plop a scoop of batter into the bowl with the sugar and cinnamon. Gently roll the batter in the sugar and cinnamon. Place the ball into the paper liner. When you have completed all of the muffins, sprinkle the leftover cinnamon sugar onto the tops of all of the muffins. Bake the muffins at 350ºF for about 16-18 minutes or until they are golden on top and just baked through. Yields: 18 – 24 muffins.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Red Beans and Rice

 Looking for something new? Want a taste of New Orleans? Looking for some spice in your menu?  Short on time? Then, Red Beans and Rice has got to be your go to recipe! This is so good! I have made it several times and everybody (guests included) loves it! The recipe below includes my adjustments.


 Red Beans and Rice Recipe

2 cups long grain white rice
4 cups hot water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pkg smoked sausage
1 pkg andouille sausage
2 can red beans, rinsed and drained
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning

Add the rice, water and salt to a rice cooker and cook until it is done. Meanwhile, thinly slice the sausage. Add the oil to to a large skillet and begin heating over medium heat. Add the sausage, give a sprinkling of creole seasoning and stir occasionally for about 7 minutes. Add the red beans and stir until warmed through. Add more creole seasoning to your taste. Serve the beans and sausage over the rice. Serves 4-6.

 Source: http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/red-beans-rice-nawlins-style.html#ixzz1TzWimg8g

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls

Are you looking for a great appetizer or side dish? Do you like spinach dip but wish it was less messy? This is for you! I love spinach dip and I love bread but most of all I love this recipe! I have made it several times this month and it turns out great every time!  The recipe below includes my adjustments.


Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowl Recipe

24 pieces of fresh roll dough or thawed frozen roll dough
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
3 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon siracha
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray muffin pan with non stick cooking spray.  Press each piece of roll dough into about a 3 inch round, then press into the bottom and up sides of each muffin cup.  Set aside. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat.  Cook and stir spinach until wilted, about 3 minutes then add garlic, cook and stir for another minute then turn heat off. Place cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach and garlic, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, siracha, garlic powder, salt and pepper into a medium bowl.  Mix until well combined.  With a cookie scoop, scoop dip into each of the centers of bread bowls.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on the edges.  Remove and let cool for 3-5 minutes before removing from oven.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cotton Candy Cupcakes

Cotton Candy Cupcakes

 Bake vanilla cupcakes using your favorite recipe. Cool, then frost with this Cotton Candy Buttercream. Yum!

Cotton Candy Buttercream
adapted via Sugar Sweet Sunshine

1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk
3 teaspoons vanilla
pink food coloring (or 1 drop of red)
Tiffany blue food coloring (or two blue drops, one green drop)
cotton candy, pulled into small pieces

Using the paddle attachment on a mixer hand beater, cream the butter. Add half of the sugar and half of the milk. Cream these ingredients until well blended. Add the rest of the sugar and the milk and combine. Add the vanilla and mix in. Separate the frosting into two containers. Add food colorings to each bowl and mix until even. Add cotton candy pieces until well combined. Frost cupcakes. Garnish with remaining cotton candy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

World's Cutest Bandana Skirt

these skirts fit a 2-3 year old...you can adapt it for older girls by adding layers and extra bandanna's (maybe i'll make a tutorial of that later on)

first off get yourself a bandana

fold in half and press with an iron.

next cut in half with some fabric scissors. (took this picture with my left hand, yeah i'm talented like that)
this will be the bottom part of your skirt, it adds length and a little embellishment as well!
i cut the 2 strips the length of the bandanna (mine was 21 and half inches) at 4 inches width (you could cut it wider if you want the skirt to be longer)
fold in half and press with an iron
place raw edge towards the bottom of the skirt with the "right side" of fabric facing up
sew your strips onto the bottoms of the bandanna
press down with iron
this is what your bandanna halves should look like
right sides together, line up your seams where the bandanna and the bottom strip come together, sew together both halves to create a tube.
hmm where did my picture of me sewing it go? okay, well it's lost but you don't need it
now to make the casing for the elastic on the waist band, first fold over around 1/2 inch of the top, press that down with an iron
fold over one more time around 1/2 inch again and press with an iron again

next sew as close as you can to the bottom open edge of your casing (this will help to slide your elastic a lot easier)

go around the whole skirt and leave open about an inch so that you can put your elastic in the casing. (make sure you back stitch when you start and end so that it doesn't unravel as you put in your elastic)
with a safety pin slide in your elastic (it can be thicker than what i show here, this is all i had at the moment!)

once it's all in, sew the elastic together and cut off excess, and go back and sew finish the hole you left open for putting in the elastic.

Original Post and Picture Source: http://www.vanessachristenson.com/2008/12/tutorial-bandanna-skirt.html

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mac and Cheese Cupcakes

Mac and Cheese Cupcakes
Food Network - Giada De Laurentis

Vegetable cooking spray
2 cups Panko bread crumbs, divided
Olive oil for drizzling
8 ounces elbow pasta
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked green peas
1 cup chopped carrots, cooked

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray 2 (12-cup) muffin or cupcake pans with vegetable cooking spray. Using 1 cup of the bread crumbs, coat the inside of each muffin cup with bread crumbs, shaking off any excess. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain and add to a large bowl. Stir in the vegetables, ¾ cup bread crumbs and the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the prepared pasta mixture into the cupcake molds. Top with a thin layer of the remaining bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and carefully unmold with a spoon onto a serving platter.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes


Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

4 tomatoes, halved horizontally
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450° F. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Christmas in July

My sister-in-law Janae is in town this week! That means crafting and cooking and lots of it!

Today we were crafting and we decided to make a Christmas decoration.We made a Christmas Tree. I am going to use mine as a part of a table centerpiece.

To make them you need:
  • styrofoam trees
  • yarn
  • hot glue gun
  • felt
  • toothpick
  • craft foam
  • decorations
All you do is start by tracing the bottom of the tree on your felt. Then glue it to the bottom using hot glue. Next, get your yarn ready and put a bead of hot glue along the very bottom of the tree base and then place your first row of yarn on it. Go around the bottom with the yarn then continue wrapping it all the way up the tree, until it is completely covered. Then put some glue at the top to hold the end in place and cut the yarn to the right length. Using the same glue and wrapping techniques, “decorate your tree”. I used a strand of gingerbread men on ribbon that I found at Michaels. Other cute decorations could be little lights, jingle bells, adhesive backed gems or buttons. Finally, cut to stars from the craft foam. Glue them back to back with the toothpick in the middle. Insert the toothpick into the top of the tree!

Here is a picture of the original Fruitful Find:
Picture Source: http://amillionlittlethings.typepad.com/amlt/2010/12/yarn-trees-.html

Here is a picture of my creation:
Christmas Tree  -  Photo Taken by Cami

This craft was very easy and very inexpensive. I am going to make some more trees to decorate my kids bedroom during the holiday season!

Source: http://amillionlittlethings.typepad.com/amlt/2010/12/yarn-trees-.html

Monday, July 18, 2011

Skillet Potatoes


Skillet Potatoes

2 large baking potatoes
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly, about 1/16 of an inch. Use a mandolin if you have one to slice them evenly. Place 1 layer of potatoes on the bottom of a cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper. Spread 1/3 of the cheese on the potatoes. Repeat this process 2 more times so that you have 3 layers of potatoes, salt and pepper and cheese. Cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes. Pour in the heavy whipping cream. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes. If the potatoes get brown early place foil over the skillet and continue baking until the potatoes are cooked all the way through. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5-10 minutes. Slice into triangles and serve.

Source: http://www.livelovepasta.com/2011/06/skillet-potatoes/

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Words With Friends

My husband and I both like to play the game Words With Friends on our iPhone. We play each other, with family, with friends and with co-workers.


So, when I saw this find I knew it was a great gift idea for those times when you want to say a lot without spending a lot. I went to work making this for an anniversary gift to give to my husband.  It turned out really cute! He loves it and it was so easy and so inexpensive. I have already made another version of this to give to someone else in our family as a Valentine's Day gift in 2012.

To make one of these: you need a shadow box frame, a piece of scrapbook paper for the background and some Scrabble tiles (which they sell at craft stores, so you don't have to ruin your actual game)! I glued the scrapbook paper to the inside of the back of the shadow box frame. Then I hot glued the tiles into the words I wanted. Put the frame back together and your done!

The Anniversary Gift  -  Photo taken by Cami

Source: http://www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk/brigitte-herrod---scrabble-love-you-picture---black-frame-2968-p.asp

Monday, July 11, 2011

Birthday Journal for Kids

It would be so fun to complete one of these with each kid on their birthday and save them all in a book as the grow older! A great way to capture memories!


Source: http://d30opm7hsgivgh.cloudfront.net/upload/74908618_SBfhnLFI_c.jpg

Friday, July 8, 2011

Picnic, potluck, potatoes....no problem!

 The Food Network had recipes for 50 potato salads. Picnic, potluck, potatoes....no problem!

1. Classic Boil, peel and cube 2 pounds russet potatoes; toss with 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix 2 cups mayonnaise, 2 chopped scallions, 1 chopped celery stalk, 1 tablespoon each dijon mustard and vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt. Toss with the potatoes.

2. Classic Red Make Classic Potato Salad (No. 1) with red potatoes instead of russets.

3. Waldorf Make Classic Potato Salad (No. 1) without mustard. Double the celery and add 1 chopped apple and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.

4. Egg-Pickle Make Classic Potato Salad (No. 1), substituting pickle juice for the vinegar in the dressing. Add 3 chopped hard-boiled eggs, 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper and 1/4 cup diced pickle.

5. Sweet Relish Boil, peel and cube 2 pounds russets; toss with 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix 1 cup whipped salad dressing, 1/2 cup relish, 2 tablespoons yellow mustard and 1 chopped scallion; toss with the potatoes.

6. Crab Boil Mix 1/2 cup each corn and chopped celery, 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay. Toss with 2 pounds boiled cubed red potatoes and 1 cup crabmeat.

7. Lobster Mix 1/4 cup each mayonnaise and crème fraîche, 2 teaspoons each truffle oil and chopped tarragon, and salt. Toss with 1 pound boiled cubed red potatoes and 1 cup lobster meat.

8. Curry Heat 1/3 cup each olive oil and golden raisins in a skillet. Add 2 teaspoons curry powder and stir 30 seconds. Mix with 1 cup Greek yogurt, 2 cupscooked green beans and 2 pounds boiled cubed russets. Season with salt.

9. Ranch Mix 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup buttermilk, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 2 chopped scallions, 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt and pepper. Toss with 2 pounds boiled cubed red potatoes.

10. Bacon-Ranch Make Ranch Potato Salad (No. 9). Top with 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled.

11. Chipotle-Ranch Make Ranch Potato Salad (No. 9). Add 2 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce, 2 teaspoons orange zest and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.

12. Garden Boil 2 pounds sliced red potatoes, adding 1 sliced carrot during the last minute. Drain; toss with 1 cup sliced radishes, 1 chopped cucumber, 3 chopped scallions and 1/2 cup chopped parsley and chives. Mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, and salt and pepper; add and toss.

13. Ham and Cheese Mix 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons mustard, 8 ounces cubed ham, 6 ounces shredded cheddar, 1/2 cup each diced red onion and pickles, and 2 tablespoons chopped pickled green chiles. Toss with 2 pounds boiled cubed Yukon golds.

14. Green Goddess Blend 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup mixed parsley, tarragon and basil, 1 scallion, 1 teaspoon sugar, and some lemon juice and salt. Toss with 2 pounds boiled halved fingerlings.

15. Avocado-Shrimp Make Green Goddess Potato Salad (No. 14). Top with halved cooked shrimp and diced avocado.

16. Slaw Mix 1/3 cup each mayonnaise and olive oil, 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard, and salt and pepper. Add 3 cups coleslaw mix, 3 chopped scallions and 2 pounds boiled quartered new potatoes.

17. Dill Mix 1/2 cup each sour cream and mayonnaise, 1/4 cup each chopped dill and scallions, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, and salt. Toss with 2 pounds boiled cubed russets.

18. Beet-Dill Make Dill Potato Salad (No. 17). Add 1 cup sliced roasted beets.

19. Nordic Make Dill Potato Salad (No. 17). Add 1 cup sliced roasted beets and 2 tablespoons horseradish.

20. Dutch Mix 1/2 cup sour cream, 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons each horseradish and cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 chopped cucumbers and 4 chopped scallions. Toss with 2 pounds boiled cubed russets.

21. Peruvian Blend 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 1/3 cup queso fresco and 1 tablespoon each aji amarillo paste (or other chile paste) and vegetable oil. Toss with 2 pounds boiled cubed Yukon golds and 1/4 cup chopped olives. Top with sliced hard-boiled eggs.

22. Chicken Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons each champagne vinegar and dijon mustard, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup chopped cornichons, some chopped parsley, and salt and pepper. Toss with 1 1/2 cups diced grilled chicken and 2 pounds boiled halved fingerlings.

23. Herb-Vinegar Mix 1 cup chopped mixed parsley, dill and chives, 1/2 cup chopped shallots, 6 tablespoons each white wine vinegar and olive oil, and salt and pepper. Toss with 2 pounds boiled quartered new potatoes.

24. Tomato Make Herb-Vinegar Potato Salad (No. 23). Soak 1/2 cup sliced red onion in ice water. Drain and add to the salad. Add 2 cups halved grape tomatoes.

25. French Mix 1 cup chopped mixed parsley, chives and tarragon, 1/2 cup chopped shallot, 1/3 cup white wine, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons each white wine vinegar and dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with 2 pounds boiled halved fingerlings.

26. Niçoise Make French Potato Salad (No. 25), adding 2 cups chopped green beans to the potatoes during the last 4 minutes of cooking. Add 1 drained can oil-packed tuna and 1/2 cup halved kalamata olives.

27. Provençal Make French Potato Salad (No. 25). Add 2 cups halved grape tomatoes, 1 shaved fennel bulb, 1/2 cup halved kalamata olives and some chopped fennel fronds.

28. Pesto-Pea Boil 2 pounds peeled, cubed Yukon golds, adding 1 cup frozen peas during the last 4 minutes. Drain; toss with a mix of 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup pesto, some pine nuts, and salt and pepper.

29. Patriotic Boil 2 pounds mixed cubed red, white and purple potatoes with 2 tablespoons cider vinegar. Drain; toss with 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1/4 cup chopped scallions. Mix 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons each cider vinegar and whole-grain mustard, and salt and pepper; toss with the potatoes.

30. Pico de Gallo Toss 2 pounds boiled cubed Yukon golds, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 3 cups fresh salsa and salt to taste.

31. Salsa Verde Toss 2 pounds boiled cubed Yukon golds with 1 cup each sliced red onion and bell pepper, 1 1/2 cups salsa verde, 1 chopped avocado and salt. Top with cilantro and cotija cheese.

32. Sichuan Cut 2 russets into matchsticks; boil 1 minute. Cook 2 sliced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon each sugar and salt, and 2 dried red chiles in a skillet with peanut oil, 30 seconds. Add 3 chopped scallions. Drain the potatoes; toss with the flavored oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon sesame oil.

33. Carrot-Sesame Boil 2 pounds sliced red potatoes, adding 4 matchstick-cut carrots during the last 2 minutes. Drain and toss with 4 chopped scallions and 1/2 cup bottled sesame-ginger dressing. Top with sesame seeds.

34. Salt Cod Cook 3 sliced garlic cloves in a skillet with 1/4 cup olive oil until soft. Mix with 3/4 cup grated tomato, 1/2 cup flaked salt cod and 1 pound boiled cubed Yukon golds. Top with chopped parsley.

35. Thai Mix 1/3 cup each mayonnaise and unsweetened coconut milk, 1 tablespoon each curry paste and lime juice, and salt. Toss with 2 pounds boiled cubed russets, 1 sliced bell pepper, and some shredded basil and mint.

36. Indian Cook 1 tablespoon each garam masala, grated ginger and canola oil in a skillet, 30 seconds. Mix with 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup chickpeas and 2 pounds boiled cubed russets. Season with salt and pepper; top with cilantro.

37. Greek Mix 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper. Toss with 2 pounds boiled cubed Yukon golds, 1 cup chopped cucumber, 1/2 cup crumbled feta, 3 tablespoons each chopped red onion and mint, and some oregano.

38. Sweets and Beets Thinly slice 1 pound boiled sweet potatoes and 1 roasted beet. Whisk 1 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar, 2 tablespoons walnut oil, and some salt, pepper and chopped parsley. Drizzle over the vegetables.

39. Caviar Whisk 1/2 cup creme fraiche, 2 tablespoons each white wine vinegar, olive oil and minced red onion, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, some minced chives and chervil, and salt and pepper. Toss with 2 pounds boiled halved new potatoes. Top with salmon caviar.

40. Smoked Salmon Arrange 4 boiled sliced Yukon golds, 1/2 cup sliced red onion, 6 ounces smoked salmon and 2 sliced tomatoes on a platter. Mix 1/4 cup crème fraiche, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and some lemon zest; drizzle over the salad. Top with capers.

41. Bagna Cauda Cook 6 anchovies, 4 smashed garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes in 1/3 cup olive oil, 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup each chopped parsley and scallions, 1 tablespoon chopped oregano, and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Drizzle over 1 pound boiled sliced red potatoes.

42. Kimchi Mix 1 cup chopped kimchi, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, salt and chopped scallions. Toss with 2 pounds smashed boiled potatoes.

43. Smoky Sweet Potatoes Mix 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup each chopped cilantro and scallions, 1 minced chipotle in adobo, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt. Toss with 2 pounds boiled sliced sweet potatoes.

44. German Fry 4 slices bacon; cook 3/4 cup chopped onion in the drippings. Add 1 tablespoon each flour, sugar and whole-grain mustard, 1/4 cup each white wine vinegar and water, and salt; cook 2 minutes. Toss with 2 pounds boiled sliced russets. Crumble the bacon on top. Serve warm.

45. Kraut Make German Potato Salad (No. 44), adding 1 more tablespoon sugar. Stir in 1 cup sauerkraut and 1 teaspoon caraway seeds.

46. Smashed Smash 1 pound warm baked russet potatoes with 1/4 cup each butter and sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with crumbled bacon, chives and sour cream. Serve warm.

47. Broccoli-Cheddar Make Smashed Potato Salad (No. 46). Add 1 cup each cooked broccoli and shredded cheddar.

48. Roasted Halve 2 pounds red potatoes. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil, 6 garlic cloves and some chopped rosemary; roast at 400 degrees F, 25 minutes. Toss with chopped parsley, salt and 2 teaspoons each dijon mustard and lemon juice.

49. Grilled Boil 2 pounds sliced russets 5 minutes. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary. Grill the potatoes, 1/2 lemon and 1 sliced red onion. Chop the potatoes and onion; toss with olive oil, parsley, salt, and juice from the grilled lemon.

50. Grilled Vegetable Make Grilled Potato Salad (No. 49). Toss with grape tomatoes and grilled zucchini and eggplant.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Food Network -  Ree Drummond

2 sticks butter, softened, plus more for pan
5 pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 to 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 4-quart baking dish. Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a large colander. Place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape before adding in all the other ingredients. Turn off the heat and add 1 1/2 sticks butter, the cream cheese, heavy cream, seasoned salt, kosher salt and pepper. Mash to combine. Spread the potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Throw pats of the remaining butter over the top of the potatoes and bake until the butter is melted and the potatoes are warmed through, 20 to 30 minutes.

Source: Food Network - The Pioneer Woman

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sunrise Punch

Sunrise Punch
Ree Drummond

2 cups orange juice
2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
2 teaspoons vanilla

Fill rest of blender with ice and blend!

Source: Ree Drummond's Facebook Page

Cowboy Breakfast Sandwiches

Cowboy Breakfast Sandwiches
Food Network - Ree Drummond

16 slices Texas toast
1 pound breakfast sausage, cut into 8 patties
12 eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup jarred jalapeno slices
Sandwich spread of your choice, such as mayo, spicy sandwich spread or spicy mustard
8 slices cheese, such as American, Cheddar or Cheddar-Jack

Cook the Texas toast on a griddle over medium heat, using lots of butter. Set aside. Fry the sausage patties in a skillet over medium heat, flattening with the spatula as they cook. Set aside. Mix the eggs, half-and-half and some salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Pour the eggs onto the griddle in a rectangular shape. Flip to cook on both sides. Cut the rectangle of eggs into 8 squares and set aside on a plate. Increase the heat, then jump the jalapeno slices onto the hot griddle. Let them sizzle for a couple of minutes, chopping them with the side of the spatula as they cook. Drop on a tablespoon of butter for flavor. Cook until the jalapenos have some brown and black bits. Remove from the griddle, then set aside. Spread whatever sandwich spread you'd like to use onto the Texas toast. Top with a sausage patty, eggs, a slice of cheese and some jalapenos. Top with another slice of Texas toast, then wrap in foil for serving.

Source: Food Network - The Pioneer Woman

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese
Ree Drummond

4 cups Dried Macaroni
1 whole Egg Beaten
1/4 cup (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter
1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
2-1/2 cups Whole Milk
2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard, More If Desired
1 pound Cheese, Grated
1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme

Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain. In a small bowl, beat egg. In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn. Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low. Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth. Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth. Add in cheese and stir to melt. Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT. Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Source: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/04/macaroni-cheese/http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/04/macaroni-cheese/

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Pioneer Woman's Sliders

The Pioneer Woman's Sliders

Food Network - Ree Drummond

2 pounds ground beef
4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
6 dashes Worcestershire sauce (less if you prefer)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 whole dinner (or slider) rolls, split

Preheat the grill to medium heat. Mix the ground beef, heavy cream, Worcestershire and the salt and some pepper in a bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the ingredients. Form 1/4 cup of the meat mixture into patties, making 16 patties total. Make an indentation with your thumb to keep the patties from plumping too much when they cook. Grill the sliders until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and pile on a platter. Toast the halved buns on the grill. Place the sliders between the buns and serve immediately.

Topping Ideas:

1 pound thick-cut peppered bacon
Fry the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until slightly crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and cut into bite-size pieces.

3 yellow onions, halved and sliced
3 tablespoons butter
In a separate pan, cook the onions in the butter over a low heat until caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

8 ounces gorgonzola
Use a fork to crumble the gorgonzola.

Put the bacon, caramelized onions and crumbled gorgonzola into separate bowls. Serve as delicious toppings for both sliders and macaroni cheese.

Source: Food Network - The Pioneer Woman

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Marinated Tomato Salad with Herbs

Marinated Tomato Salad with Herbs
Food Network -  Ree Drummond

6 to 8 ripe tomatoes
4 green onions
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful fresh parsley leaves, lightly chopped
12 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Cut the tomatoes into 4 wedges, then cut the wedges in half and add to a bowl. Lop off the tops of the green onions, then slice the white and mostly light green parts really thin. Add to the tomatoes. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, dash of salt and pepper to a jar. Screw on the lid and shake to combine. Pour the dressing over the tomatoes and toss. Add the herbs and gently toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Source: Food Network - The Pioneer Woman

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Salmon Cakes

Salmon Cakes
Food Network - Ina Garten

1/2 pound fresh salmon
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
1 1/2 cups small-diced celery (4 stalks)
1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1/2 cup small-diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
3 slices stale bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the salmon on a sheet pan, skin side down. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and refrigerate until cold. Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons of the butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Break the bread slices in pieces and process the bread in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. You should have about 1 cup of bread crumbs. Place the bread crumbs on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly browned, tossing occasionally. Flake the chilled salmon into a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the vegetable mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into 10 (2 1/2 to 3-ounce) cakes. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. In batches, add the salmon cakes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven and serve hot. 

 Source: Food Network

Friday, July 1, 2011

My Fruitful Finds

I believe in the saying "a place for everything and everything in it's place."

I love to browse blogs, to craft, to cook, and to keep great ideas - just in case I need them later! I have folders full of Internet bookmarks, a Pinterest account, and binders of  fruitful finds. There is just one problem....they are so unorganized that I never remember what I have or use those ideas.

This blog is a place to take note of my fruitful finds. This blog will serve as a place to record the original source of the finds and a place to record any changes I make as I put those ideas to use. For most posts on this blog, you will see the original source, my version of that find, and my review of that project or recipe that includes changes I made, ideas for next time, and a quick assessment of the ease of completion and cost of that fruitful find.

I hope that this blog serves and an inspiring and motivating place for you to come, to discover,  and to put to use the finds here as a productive part of making the  best use of time and enjoying life!