Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pork Chop Casserole

One of my favorite ways to make pork chops.

Pork Chop Casserole

3/4 C. flour
salt & pepper
6 pork chops
2 T. cooking oil
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2/3 C. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. rosemary, crushed
1 C. sour cream, divided
1 can (2.8 oz.) French Fried Onions, divided

In a shallow bowl - combine the flour and salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a large skillet.  Dredge the pork chops (one at a time) in the flour mixture and cook the pork chops in the hot oil for 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned.  Place the pork chops in a single layer in a 13 x 9 baking dish.  In a bowl, combine the cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, ginger, rosemary and 1/2 cup of sour cream.  Pour over the pork chops.  Then, sprinkle with half of the french fried onions.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.  Stir the remaining sour cream into the sauce and top with remaining onions and bake for an additional 10 minutes - uncovered.

Here are some photos.  Cooking the pork chops in the hot oil -

Taking it out of the oven after all the cooking -

Ready to eat -

This is my favorite photo of Lucy!  I think it is because I love when she sits over the couch like this - it's like she is just hanging out and visiting --

I am linking to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.  You can click here to see more recipes.
FOODIE FRIDAY Click for details

Monday, March 28, 2011

Odds & Ends - March Style

Oh, how I wish it was warmer here along Lake Erie!!!!  At least it has been sunny lately - which really can put you in a good mood - but I still need some warmth!!

I am in the middle of putting up my Easter decor -

I can't wait until it is finished and I can show it all to you.  You'll probably see more bits & pieces.  I wonder who is going to have an Easter Decor Party??  I will have to be on the search for that blog!!

I found on another gal's blog a very good and easy recipe for Tater Tot Casserole.  Now, thru the years I have tried a couple variations of it and they were OK.  But, this one Mr. Cardigan was raving about over and over again.  It was moister than the others.  You can find the recipe at this blog -  She has a photo of the entire casserole, but I didn't think of it until it was half finished -

Yum!!  If you need a quick dinner - keep this one in mind!

Now, it is Dancing With The Stars time again.  I am always waiting to see who the cast will be and hope that there is nobody that I really like -- because I get obsessed with it if I am cheering on a fave celebrity of mine.  I vote on both land and cell lines and have 2 emails registered.  (Just so you don't think that I am soooooo obsessed - I do have a third email and I haven't used that one -- yet!!)  Well, this season I am obsessed!!  Kirstie Alley has always been a favorite of mine.  She does things "over the top" and I love that!!  I was so glad that she did well last week!  I don't know why people were surprised because I knew that she loved to dance!  So, you'll know where I will be on Monday and Tuesday evenings!!  Mr. Cardigan thinks he will go to sleep early on those nights!!

Want to hear about my terrific deal at Hobby Lobby??  I was at the HL in Bowling Green, OH and there was an aisle with home goods marked 90% off.  Look at what I found for $2.49 -

I need to wash it up and I am thinking of putting a faux chocolate bunny (and a few other decos) with a glass dome over it.  Stay tuned!

March has been a pretty "blah" month for me but I do have some projects on the horizon.  I am cleaning up the Guest Bedroom and hope to have that finished soon.  I am going to try a new Pulled Pork recipe this week as I begin my quest for the best Pulled Pork Sandwich recipe!!  I want to get a couple donut pans (I think Amazon has them) and have a couple donut recipes I want to try.  Of course, I will let you know if there is anything good to report from these ventures!

Looking for a cute picture of Lucy.  Will this do?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Super Easy Easter Bunny Banner

Please excuse me in the mirror - looking a little frightful with my hair all pulled back - it's my "not expecting to see anyone I know" look!!

First, I found this graphic at "The Graphics Fairy".  You can get to her main blog here, but you can click here to go directly to these Easter Bunny Vintage Images.  She had them in these 3 colors which I think is so coooool!!  I just love The Graphics Fairy!!!

Anyway -- all I did was print them on some white cardstock and cut them using some "fancy" scissors.  Then, I took coordinating cardstock paper that I had in a 5" x 7" pad and trimmed them with my only other "fancy" scissors that I have!!  I used a glue stick to adhere the bunny image and let it set overnight.  (I always like things to set overnight so I don't have any problems later - some of you may prefer not to wait!!)  I punched my holes and put my ribbon thru and then I placed it above my mirror. 

This is so easy to do!  You can just whip it up while watching TV - maybe do it while watching "Dancing With The Stars" this coming week!  Kirstie Alley is doing the Quick Step and she is my fave!!!!  I have always loved her attitude and her friends say she is the "Queen of how to think big".

I have showed pictures of Lucy sleeping "very comfortably", but I still don't get it --
I am linking to Funky Junk's Saturday Night Special.  You can click here to see plenty of ideas.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Plastic Egg Trees

These are so easy and inexpensive to make -

You just need some mini plastic eggs (found at Hobby Lobby - they're half off this week, too!) and a Styrofoam cone (or something similar).  I also used some "fun fur" that I had. 

The first one I tried I used the inside cone from a large spindle of cotton yarn.  I sprayed tacky glue on it then wound the fun fur around it.  I let it set just a  bit and got my glue gun ready.  I used the low temp glue gun for this.  Each cone used about 1 1/2 glue sticks.  The cones are about 7-8" tall.  It takes just a few minutes to glue the eggs on.

I also used a couple Styrofoam cones that I found at Goodwill the other day - $.50@ -

Here are all 3 finished -

I bought 4 bags of mini plastic eggs (24 to a bag) and used a total of 89 eggs - had 7 eggs left.

We are starting to get in the Easter mood here and Lucy is no exception.  She looked like she was showing some lovin' to the Easter Bunny, but....

look at her foot (back paw!!) - she is getting ready to give it the "heave ho" -

I am linking to Somewhat Simple's Link Party.  You can click here to see them.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ricky (my little furball) -- I can't believe you're gone!

I mostly place photos of Lucy at the end of my posts because she is the one that is always doing the most unusual.  But, you have seen a few photos of Ricky that we adopted the end of December.  I am so heartbroken as she died suddenly early Friday morning.  We only had her in our lives for a few short months.  Let me tell you Ricky's story...

During this past Christmas season I was starting to feel a little lonely.  All my decorations were up and we had no more activities to attend.  Part of our family was out of town and I was feeling blue.  I had been dropping hints to Mr. Cardigan that I was going to stop at our local Humane Society as they were not charging for cats the month of December due to the number they had.  On December 28 I went to do a few errands and my last stop was at the Humane Society.   I asked if they had any that were declawed (as that was a stipulation from Mr. Cardigan due to our furniture, etc. and the cat would be indoors all the time) and after thinking about it they remembered that they just had one come in about 3 days prior.  They brought her out and I knew that she was mine!  She actually had all her paws declawed and had been abandoned and then put in with other cats at the Society.  I have no idea how she was able to survive like that and I knew that she needed to come home with me.

Here she is the first day at our home in my Studio sitting on my chair with Lucy standing guard -

A few days later she was calm enough to get on Mr. Cardigan's lap and to snuggle with me -

We used to play "Babushka Baby" - although I never got a photo of it.  I would lay on the couch watching TV and use this afghan as a blanket.  She would jump up and I would cover her with the blanket (keeping her head out, of course) and she would fall asleep.  But, before she would fall asleep I would put a little of the afghan around her - like a babushka - and make a little fuss about her - how she looked like a cat from the "old country" and Mr. Cardigan would just shake his head!!  I wish I would have had him take a picture.  Here she is just sleeping with me - probably for the first time --

I just love this photo.  She had been here about 3 days and the grandsons were here.  I was making our bed (did not pay any attention where or where not any of the cats were) and when I pulled the covers back this is what I found --

I quietly called the grandsons in to see and they were quite amused!  I don't know if Ricky thought this was the only place she could find peace and quiet or what!!  This was the only time that she did this.

The Humane Society estimated that Ricky was about 2 years old.  Ricky is a she and Lucy is a he -- long story involving Lucy.  Lucy will be 2 in June.  Here are more photos of Ricky -- some with Lucy --

This was the last picture that I took of Ricky.  I can't believe that it was a month before she died.  I wished that I would have taken more -

We always wondered what her life was like for the 2 years before she came into our home.  Mr. Cardigan always that that she had a rough life because she was always so jumpy.  I can't imagine anyone abandoning her.  We had our little routines - like when Mr. Cardigan comes home from work and Ricky and Lucy would patiently wait for their treats - Ricky would jump in our bed about three times a week and sleep behind my pillow.  Lucy and Ricky were getting along much better.  All I know is everything seemed normal and we were awaken at 2:30 AM by a very loud and weird cry.  We found Ricky on the carpet near the fireplace just laying there.  Lucy was nearby and her tail was big.  Mr. Cardigan had been near that very area about 20 minutes prior (he gets up and sits in the lazy boy sometimes during the night for a bit) and Ricky was not there then.  I had been on the computer until about 1 1/2 hrs. prior and I saw her in the guest bedroom sleeping on her blanket as was her "spot".  I think the cry was Lucy letting us know something just happened, but Mr. Cardigan thinks it was Ricky's last cry in pain.  It was so unbelievable.  I am assuming it was her heart that gave out -- I did some Googling.  She is buried behind our garage - next to another cat "Sam" that we had for a very long time and died about 7 years ago. 

We all miss you Ricky!  (Lucy included - you can tell she is a little lost right now.  I am so sad and still crying.  Oh, how these little ones become such a part of our lives.

So, Ricky -- one day I will see you again at Rainbow Bridge.  Until then I miss you and will always love you.


When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
Author unknown...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

St. Patrick's Decorations!!!

Come in and have some coffee and some special Black Bottom Cupcakes (recipe later in this post) -

Now, for the decorations -- I'll just let you browse --

Now, for the recipe for the Black Bottom Cupcakes pictured at the Top O'Blog --

Black Bottom Cupcakes
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 C. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 C. chocolate chips
* (colored tints, if you choose)

1 1/2 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1/4 C. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. water
1/3 C. cooking oil
1 T. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine in a mixing bowl - softened cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt.  Beat well.  * This is where you would add any tinting & mix well if you are decorating for a holiday, etc. - otherwise if you want the cream cheese mixture to be "white" just do nothing.  Then, stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.

In another mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1 c. sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Then, add the water, oil, vinegar, & vanilla and beat well. 

Line 18 to 24 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.  Fill about 1/3 to 1/2 full with the cocoa mixture.  Top each with a heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

I make these for all the holidays.  This past 4th of July I divided the cream cheese mixture into 3 parts - keeping one part white and tinting the others red and blue.  I just used red and green for Christmas and orange looks great for Halloween.  This is a great recipe to be added to all your holiday recipes!!!!

Now, I am a late bloomer to these - but St. Patrick's Day season would not be complete without these -

I just love Shamrock Shakes!!!!!!!!

Now, Lucy would like to say Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you.  She is claiming to be Irish, you know --

I am so happy to be linking to Cuisine Kathleen's St. Patrick's Day Blog Crawl.  Check it out here.
Third Annual   St. Patrick\