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Friday, January 30, 2009

Two Favorite Things

I need eleventy billion things for the house. So far, I have purchased only two but I love them both so I thought I'd share.

First, the glorious Edison Chandelier from Pottery Barn. Behold:
It is really very cool. It goes so well with our style and looks awesome against the brickwall backdrop. I'll take a picture of ours as soon as I find where I packed the camera. What is really cool about this is that you can hang the lights from any spot on the ceiling and change the lengths of the hanging part. This allows you to create any shape you want. We ended up placing our bulbs a lot closer together.
Next, the Stow Leather Storage Ottoman from Crate and Barrel. Maybe because of living in small apartments for years or maybe due to my obsessive need to hide clutter, but I love any furniture that doubles as storage. Not only does this ottoman store things, but the top flips over to turn in to a tray. Perfect for drinks. Really, you can't go wrong.

Top of my list for things to purchase are bedside tables, lamps, and a coffee table. Also, bed linens, must get nice bed linens...


Thursday, January 22, 2009


Dear Blog,

I know you were getting worried, but I am still alive. Just have more important things in my life then you at the moment (sorry). We are moving on Saturday and I probably won't be cooking much until we redo the kitchen. The kitchen in its current form is truly heinous. Be glad that you can't see it. I lysoled it but, really, lysol is no match. Also, be glad that you can't smell it. One cabinet smells like moth balls (moth balls?) and one like Old Bay.

On a positive note, we have finished just about all the projects that we have wanted to before moving in. I will be posting before and after pictures in lieu of recipes for the next month. The painting and moulding have really turned it into a new place. I must give Casey props (yes, props) for the moulding. I also have to give myself (ahem, the Benjamin Moore lady) props for the awesome paint colors. I am so excited for the day when I can afford to decorate it the way I envision. It will be sweet.

Also, Mamma got a new car. Don't begrudge me, I needed it.

Yours truly,


Friday, January 9, 2009

Spicy Molasses Cookies

I loooove molasses cookies, my favorites are the ones from Trader Joes. I decided to try the Pioneer Woman's recipe. They turned out super yummy but next time I will make the cookies a little bigger. The recipe said "walnut-sized' but I couldn't remember how big walnuts are. They turned out thinner then I would have liked but were still soft and chewy. Next time, I'll try to make them a bit thicker. These taste like soft, chewy ginger snaps

5/29/10 Update: I made these again and this time made the cookies bigger. They still flattened out quite a bit but were super soft in the center. Be sure not to cook them too long to get that gooey center!

1 cup sugar
3/4 cups Crisco (vegetable shortening)
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions:Preheat oven to 350.
Mix sugar, shortening, molasses, and egg together until well combined. Dump in dry ingredients, stirring dry ingredients together lightly first. Mix together until dough is combined.

In your hands, roll dough into walnut-sized balls, then generously coat each ball with sugar. Place balls on a baking sheet and bake for 9 to 11 minutes, allowing to bake for about a minute after cookies begin to crack.
Remove cookies from baking sheet and allow to cool (though they are delicious while still warm).

Linked to Prairie Story Recipe Swap Thursday.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Shells

This is the second time that I have made this Weight Watchers recipe. The first time I cooked my own chicken first and then shredded it. This time I used canned chicken which was much easier and quicker. Either way, the recipe rocks!

12 uncooked jumbo shells (I ended up using more in order to use up all the filling)
1 1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
2 medium egg whites, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
4 oz chicken breast, cooked, skinless, diced
3/4 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess water
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp ground oregano, or other Italian seasoning
3/4 cup part-skin mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
Cook manicotti shells in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent them from cooking further. Set aside

Coat a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of sauce evenly over bottom of pan and set aside.

For filling, in a large bowl, stir together egg whites, ricotta cheese, chicken, spinach, garlic powder and seasoning. Stir in 1/4 cup each of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

To assemble, spoon cheese mixture into manicotti shells and place filled shells in a single layer in baking dish.
Spread remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheeses and bake about 30 minutes. Yields 3 shells per serving.

Points value: 9
Servings: 4

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Bacon Wrapped Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken

This Rachel Ray recipe was a cinch to make and really yummy. Casey especially loved it! I served it with mashed potatoes and Rachel Ray's green beans.

2 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 to 3 oz blue cheese crumbles
A few arugula leaves, chopped
A few spinach leaves, chopped
4 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 425.
Using a small, sharp knife, cut into the thick end of the chicken and make an incision reaching 2/3 the way down the breast. Loosen up the incision with your fingers to make a hole. Season the chicken with pepper.

Combine the cheese with the arugula and spinach and stuff the breasts. Spiral-wrap the breasts with the bacon tightly to cover the meat evenly. Place chicken on a nonstick baking sheet and roast 20 to 22 minutes until bacon is crispy and chicken is firm.

2 servings.


Green Beans with Tomatoes

1 lb thin green beans
2 vine tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
Leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs (I used dried thyme instead)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Bring 1 inch water to a boil. Trim beans. Salt water and add beans to water. Simmer 5 minutes, drain and combine with tomatoes, thyme, olice oil, salt and pepper.

4 servings. Recipe from Rachel Ray.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Pork and Sauerkraut

It's a tradition for Casey to eat Pork and Sauerkraut on New Year's Day so he begged me to make it this year. I found a recipe for the traditional Lancaster County way. I was skeptical because when we were first together, Casey tried to make it for me and it was pretty gross. This time it turned out really flavorful, juicy and delicious. It doesn't look like much but damn it was good!

1 (4 lb) pork loin roast (we used 2.5 lbs)
1 tsp caraway seeds (used slightly more)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups sauerkraut with liquid (used slightly more, two bags, we like lots of sauerkraut!)

Cut pork loin (if necessary) to fit into slow cooker. Season with caraway seeds, salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauerkraut over the roast.
Cook on high for 1 hour then on low for 5-6 hours. Internal temperature of the roast should be at least 160 degrees. Serve over mashed potatoes!

I was short on time so I cooked our roast on high for 3 hours, then on low for 2. The roast was 186 degrees when I turned off the crock pot. The meat was perfect and delicious, it had started to fall apart in the crock pot.

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C + C Marriage Factory: January 2009

C + C Marriage Factory