Thursday, January 20, 2011

Southwest Stew

This is great to have on one of these cold winter evening!

Southwest Stew
2 lbs. ground beef
1 C. chopped onion
28 oz. can chopped tomatoes
15 oz. can pinto beans (rinsed & drained)
17 oz. can whole corn (drained)
2 C. Picante sauce (I use mild because I don't like very spicy)
1 to 1 1/2 C. water
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
dash salt & pepper
shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish

In a large pot, brown ground beef and onion then drain any grease.  Add all the remaining ingredients, except the cheese.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour or so. 

This is great garnished with shredded cheese.   Also, very good as leftovers or for lunches later in the week.  We put some in the freezer this time for an easy (& cheap!!) meal later.

I love Keebler Club Crackers and prefer them over regular saltines in some soups/stews.  But, I am loving these Club Minis!!!  No crushing them up - just the right size!!

Don't you love how they are "eyeing" each other??

I am linking this recipe to Foodie Friday at Design by Gollum.  You can see all the recipes by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Strawberry Angel Food Trifle

I like to make these in individual servings, but you can also do this in a large trifle dish.

Strawberry Angel Food Trifle

1 Angel Food Cake, cubed
8 oz. box strawberry jello (regular or sugar-free)
large pkg. instant vanilla pudding (regular or sugar-free)
small container of Cool Whip (or Lite), probably use about half
2 C. sliced strawberries

Make the pudding mix according to directions.  Just before you start to assemble the trifle, fold together the pudding and Cool Whip.  In either individual trifles (like pictured) or in a large one -- alternate layers of cubed cake and strawberries, saving some strawberries for the garnish or using additional slices. (In the individual ones I usually just do 2 layers of this.)  Mix the jello with 2 cups of hot water.  Pour over cake and berries.  Cool.  Next scoop some pudding and Cool Whip mixture over the trifle and garnish with some strawberries.

This should be made the night before and allowed to refrigerate overnight.  Will keep for a couple days - enough time for you to eat the leftovers!!!  This is nice and refreshing when it is warmer, but I am seeing strawberries in the stores so it would be a nice change!!

Ricky is getting used to life here (maybe with the exception of getting used to Lucy!!), but she sure does love to sleep!!!!

I am linking to Tasty Tuesday at 33 Shades of Green.  Click here to see so many great recipes.  Keep checking back as more are adding to this linky party each day!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Loving Mod Podge & Paper Mache

I bought this "Believe" at Hobby Lobby a couple years ago.  I'm not sure how I thought I was going to dress it up, but this past Fall when I saw someone doing the tissue paper/mod podge on the faux pumpkins -- I had the "ah ha!" moment!!

So, you could do this in any of the shapes that you can find in the paper mache section of your craft store (or maybe just in your "stash").  You will need mod podge and a brush.  Here is the process -

I would spread mod podge on the "wrong side" of strips/squares of tissue paper and then put them on.  I would use my fingers or a pencil to smooth it on somewhat.  This sign was harder than I thought because of having to get into all the little nooks. 

I had used a little trick that I saw online of using a page in an old catalog as a base to spread any mod podge or glue.  That sure makes it easier.  I just continued the gluing process til finished.  I did both sides.  I then used some gold ribbon to cover the base.

Now, I am a huge fan of anything animal print!!!  It doesn't take much tissue paper to do this either - you might get by with just one sheet.  I want to show you a few other projects I did with mod podge and tissue paper.  These pumpkins are what started it all.  The pumpkins were from Dollar Tree and when I did these I already had the tissue paper in my stash.  That is tissue paper with the black polka dots.

Depending on the project you are doing - you might want to paint the surface prior.  I did that with the polka dot pumpkins.  The "orange" would have shown right thru -- so I spray painted them white first -- and it doesn't have to be a good job because no one will see them.  I just hot glued any embellishments on. (Also, spray painted the animal print pumpkins in tan, too.)

I did these wood letters with mod podge and scrapbook paper.

That is my "love" for mod podge!!!!!  Oh, and also my new love for tissue paper.  I've already had to replenish my animal print and just recently I was in Hobby Lobby and bought a package of red bandanna print and a white with gold print.  I'll be picking up various prints that I like in tissue paper as I see them so I will have a nice assortment in my stash!!

Here is an update on how Lucy & Ricky are "tolerating" each other - kind of!!!!!

That is about as close as they get to each other when they aren't chasing each other and "hissing".  This is going to be a process!!!!  And, the above does not happen often.  Mostly, Ricky sleeps on a chair in our bedroom and when Lucy isn't guarding Ricky, then Lucy is sleeping in the living room.

I am linking to BoogieBoardCottage's Masterpiece Monday which you can reach here.  Click to see lots of ideas.
Boogieboard Cottage

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Macadamia Nut Pie

This is a very delicious pie and easy to make.  I am not a fan of pecan pie, but I really like this!!

Macadamia Nut Pie

1/2 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
3/4 C. light corn syrup
3 eggs
2/3 C. macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
Unbaked pie shell

Cream together butter, brown sugar, vanilla & salt.  Blend in syrup.  Add eggs slowly and stir until well blended.  Fold in nuts.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake 45 minutes longer or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Between Christmas and New Year's I made a visit to our local Humane Society.  I had been thinking of getting another cat and knew that because of an overcrowding that they were offering cats for free for the month of December.  I went to do a few errands and my car made its way there!!  There I found "Ricky"!!!!  (Long story - Ricky is a she -- as our Lucy is a he!!)  Mr. Cardigan was a little surprised, but I told him he shouldn't have been as I had been hinting at this!!!  Anyway, our Lucy was not too pleased at all!!  She had been the Queen/King here and now someone was invading it.  I'll post some pics later of how they are tolerating each other right now.  But, this is Ricky after about 5 days here -

Ricky isn't into the "posing" like Lucy is.  Maybe I'll get some better photos later.  Lucy isn't into "posing" right now either - too busy following Ricky around and keeping an eye on her.

I am linking to Foodie Friday at Design by Gollum.  You can click here to see great recipes.  Keep checking back as many more are added each day!

 “Come join Love the Pie with TidyMom sponsored by Cherokee USA, Le Creuset, Wilton, Bags by Bloom and Harvard Common Press”   I am also linking to Tidy Mom's Love The Pie Party.  See many pie recipes by clicking here.  Enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

I love these Chicken Enchiladas.  They are pretty easy to make, a large batch, and good re-heated in the microwave for leftovers.  I had found this in Taste of Home several years ago.

8 oz. cream cheese
2 T. water
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
5 C. cooked, diced chicken
20 flour tortillas - 6"
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 C. sour cream
1 C. milk
2 small cans (4 oz. @) chopped green chilies
2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

In a large mixing bowl - beat the cream cheese, water, onion powder, cumin, salt & pepper til smooth.  Stir in chicken.

Place 1/4 cup of this mixture down the center of each tortilla.  Roll up and place seam-side down in a 13 x 9 baking dish (I sprayed first with Pam). 

In a separate bowl, combine the soup, sour cream, milk & green chilies.  Pour this over the enchiladas. 

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes. 

Here is the cream cheese/chicken mixture -

The type of tortillas -

Putting the cream cheese/chicken mixture on the tortilla -

All rolled up -

Soup mixture -

Now, I am skipping to bringing it out of the oven with the soup mixture on and cheese already melted -

This is sooooo good!!!

Now for Lucy.....remember when your children were little and enjoyed playing with boxes more than toys?  Some things don't change!!!!

I am linking to All Things Inspired at All Things Heart & Home.  You can find other great ideas here - please check them out.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pecan Cheesecake Squares

This recipe takes a bit of time - but makes a lot - and it is now my "favorite" dessert!!!  I dream about it!!!!

As you can tell - I didn't think to take a photo until it is half gone!!!!  But, this was made before I started my blog so I am better at taking the pics!

Ingredients/Instructions for Pecan Cheesecake Squares -

Crust/Bottom Layer

2 1/2 C. flour
1 C. melted butter
1 C. finely chopped pecans
2 T. powdered sugar

Combine all.  Mix well and press into 9 x 13 pan (I always spray "Pam" in it first).  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool.

Filling/Middle Layer

24 oz. cream cheese, softened
2/3 C. sugar (granulated)
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
4 beaten eggs

Beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add remaining ingredients.  Beat til well mixed.  Pour over cooled crust and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or til edges are lightly browned and center is set.  Cool.


1 C. packed brown sugar
1 C. heavy whipping cream
1 C. chopped pecans
2 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar and cream in a saucepan.  Heat to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in pecans and vanilla.  Spoon over top of baked cheesecake.  Chill at least 4 hours, but better if chilled overnight. 

Cut into small pieces as this is very rich.  If you are using this at a gathering of a lot of people -- you could cut into small squares and put them on cupcake wrappers on a large platter.  This would make it easy for the guests to serve themselves.

I received this recipe from a gal on a Christmas internet group that I am a member.  I will always be indebted to her for this 'delish' recipe!!!

Now, for a little Lucy story.  When she first came to our home I quickly searched for a little toy for her.  I found this little Ohio State Brutus.  It was her first toy and I know that is it special to her.  This is a photo of when she was little and she was hugging it while sleeping.  Now days - she wrestles with it!!!!

I am linking to Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special.  You can click here to see lots of ideas.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Love this recipe!  The picture above is prior to putting it in the oven.
Ingredients -
1 lb. ground beef
1 clove minced garlic (or equivalent - I mostly just use garlic powder)
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 lb. 12 oz. can chopped tomatoes
12 oz. can tomato paste
1/2 C. water
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. sweet basil
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 lb. ricotta cheese
1/2 lb. cottage cheese
3/4 C. Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 T. parsley flakes
salt & pepper

Manicotti pasta (1 or 2 boxes)

Brown the onion, ground beef & garlic - then drain.  Add the next 9 ingredients.  Simmer for about a half hour.

Mix the remaining ingredients together and fill the UNCOOKED manicotti shells. 

Cover the bottom of the pan (I use 13 x 9 dish) with some of the sauce.  Arrange the shells - side by side - then cover with the sauce.  Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with additional Parmesan Cheese and return for 10 more minutes.

Here are some additional photos -
The ricotta cheese mixture --

The sauce --

Filling the manicotti shells --

Lined up in the dish before putting the sauce over top --

These are delicious with a salad and garlic bread.  Also, are good as leftovers!!

I recently showed you Lucy watching TV - well, she also loves the computer!!  Here Is Lucy looking at a screen saver during the Halloween season.  Since most of my screen savers have some sort of animation - we try to remember to turn the sound off.  She just loves the ones with the black cat!!  She would hear the music and run to the computer!!

I am linking to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.  You can see more tempting recipes at this food party by clicking here.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ornament Trees

These are pretty easy to make.  This time of year you can find the ornaments and tinsel garland on sale.  You might want to get some and you can make these during the year for either gifts or decorations for yourself.
You will need:
ornaments in several sizes (shatterproof or glass)
tinsel garland (to match or coordinate)
Styrofoam cone
glue gun & glue sticks (use low-temp setting)

This Styrofoam cone was just about 10", but you can make any size you want.  You can do several sizes to make a vignette in coordinating colors, for example.  Begin, by hot gluing your tinsel garland around the cone.  (You could even use some old garland that might not be part of your current decorations!)  I only used a dab of glue - maybe once every couple rows.  I started with the bigger ornaments at the bottom (you may want to plot out the design with the sizes to make sure it looks good and you have enough).

I took off the tops of the ornaments with my jewelry tool I use for beading.

I then put some hot glue around the top of the ornament and then gently shoved it into the Styrofoam.  I don't think it gets in too much into the Styrofoam, but the little that it does with the glue sticking to the Styrofoam and to the tinsel allows it to hold pretty good.

Progress up the tree changing to smaller ornaments as you see fit.

In reading about others that had made these trees - they suggested not filling in any open spots with smaller ornaments as fillers because it loses the tree-effect.  I could just see mine coming out like a big round ball as I kept adding one here and there, then here and there -- you get the picture.  I like how it came out just fine.

I plan to make more of these for myself as I gave that one as a gift.  I have lots of silver ornaments bought last year at the after Christmas sales.  I did go the other day and buy more tinsel garland on sale because I did not have any spare of that.  Don't forget to add a cute topper to these.  I just used a glittered ornament for this one, but I have some silver star ornaments that I may use for the silver trees I'll be doing later.

While I like to craft and cook/bake and blog -- Lucy likes to mainly eat and sleep (and stalk me as I walk by, too!!) but I have caught her in the past watching some TV - although she acts bored with it now!!

I have no idea what was on TV then - I'm sure something she wouldn't admit to watching!!

I am linking to Funky Junk's Linky Party that you can see by clicking here.  You"ll get lots of ideas there!!