What’s Cookin’/ July 22- 26

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Though I have not posted what’s been on the menu for the past two weeks, please do not be under the impression that we did not eat.  Because we did, a lot. The first week because I was home with my Mama, who makes all things delicious.  The second week because we were on vacation staying with a bunch of Marines and I had just acquired, thanks to my mom-in-law, the new Pioneer woman cookbook.  This is a fun week as well, because my precious little niece is staying the week with us.  And so my sis can have some peace of mind here is what’s on the menu for this week.

Sunday- BBQ Chicken and broccoli

Monday- Cowgirl Quiche and salad

Tuesday- Baked fish with parm. roasted zucchini

Wednesday- Leftovers

Thursday- Angel Chicken pasta in the crock pot

Friday-  Grill out with friends!

Thread Sketch

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I really love to make things.  From food to gardens to art to babies.  Making something brings a lot of satisfaction.  I love crafts of all kinds for this reason.  Sewing, however, is just not something that I find much pleasure in.  Even though I do not like it much I still sew because it opens up a world of endless possibilities of making beautiful things and saving lots of money.  But up to this point in life I have not found sewing very fun because you really have to be a perfectionist.  Which I am not.  At all.  Not even a little.  So this little project was just perfect for me.  And really really supper fun (see I just misspelled super and don’t even have enough perfectionist in me to go back and change it. Sigh.)  My sweet Mama introduced me to thread sketching this week while I was visiting with the wee one. Take a look.

We wanted to make sets of napkins for gifts.  So first we measured, cut, and hemmed napkins from a rather heavy weight muslin.

You can cut the fabric, but we preferred to rip it so that we had a perfect square. They were about 22 inch squares.

Next we sketched with a water soluble pen what we wanted on our napkins.  Pears!  Aww!

Next, get your heart melted and be completely distracted by a ridiculously cute baby

Next, circle around your shape about 3 times.  You can use different settings and stitches on your machine.  The fun part is that you are not supposed to stay in the lines, and messing up usually makes it look even better.

Lastly, iron the napkins to make them extra pretty and then feel happy and productive and creative.

Pleasing People Pepper Poppers

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I’m not sure what it is about humans that makes us all want to please people.  Sometimes we go to crazy lengths to please, like what schools we go to, what jobs we try for, and whether we use “yall” or “youzgusinzs.” ( I don’t know if anyone uses the last one, but I would be please if someone said that to me.) Sometimes we try to please with how we dress, and sometimes we give up trying to please people and move on to trying to please foofy little dogs.   I just feel bad for people who try so hard to please people, because all you all you have to do is make these peppers.  Forget about the clothes, the jobs, and the dogs.  I’m telling you, you could be one mean little lady, but if you make these peppers, people will think you have some straight up Mary Poppins action going on.  They will all say “Poppins pleasing people pepper poppers.” Well probably not.  I digress.

It all started one day when I went outside to my garden and saw this: (If you can’t tell, “this” is a huge pepper plant)

And all I could think about is how I wanted to stuff those little guys with cream cheese, wrap them in bacon, smother them in bbq sauce, and sizzle them in the oven.  You may think it odd that that was my first thought, however, in general when I see a food I try to decide whether or not I can put cream cheese in it and wrap it in bacon.

To accomplish these poppins pleasing people pepper poppers all you need is:
Banana peppers, or jalapeno peppers
A block of cream cheese cut into strips
Bacon cut in half (or thirds if you like)
Your favorite bbq sauce

Wash and seed your peppers.  When I made this with jalapeno peppers I cut the peppers in half, but I left them whole with the banana peppers. Stuff each pepper with cream cheese, wrap tightly with half a piece of bacon, and secure with a tooth pick.  Place peppers on a pan (I highly suggest using some foil for easy clean up) and cook for about 40min on 325.  About ten minutes before they are done, brush on the bbq sauce.  I like my bacon crispy, so I turned my oven on a bit higher at the end.  Everyone will want to eat about 10, so make plenty!

I so wanted to take a picture of the finished product, but people will no longer be pleased with you if you make them stop eating the yummyness so that you can take a picture of their food.

Warning: This is people pleasing only.  Not recommended as foofy dog pleasing.

Seriously the Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

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There are few things that I am convinced of.  I am convinced that the world is in some way a better place because of Nora Effron writing Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.  I am convinced that babies are better than puppies.  And I am convinced that these chocolate chip cookies are the best ever. My conviction of this last point wavered a bit when pinterest was full of chocolate chip cookies claiming to be the best ever.  So I read the recipes and saw that pretty much I was going to have to grow my own wheat to make flour, and find a cocoa tree somewhere to make my own chocolate if I really wanted the best ever chocolate chip cookies.  But part of my conviction of what makes a cookie the best ever is that it must be something that can be easily made.  There are certainly things worth working for, but a good cookie should not be one of them.  Because sometimes you just need to eat some cookie dough, I mean cookies, and you don’t want to wait for the wheat harvest.

Yesterday was one of those days for me.  It was one of those days that I felt I was swimming in a big pool of jello, except not nearly as delicious, so maybe a big pool of whipped up lima beans.  By the time dinner was done, and the munchkin was in bed, I just needed the best ever chocolate chip cookie and a little baking therapy.

Besides this cookie being easy to make, it is also the best ever because of this

Grinding the oats into flour gives the cookies a super amazing texture. It also allows you to mess with the consistency of the cookies, giving them as much or as little texture as you like.

1 cup butter (which is two sticks yo)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups oats (old fashioned, not instant!)
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 bag chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter, sugar and eggs. Add vanilla. Grind oats in a food processor into a semi fine flour. Add oats and remaining dry ingredients into sugar mixture. Add chocolate chips (I like milk chocolate chips because I’m weird.)

The baking part of the cookie is really important. In general I would say bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. But the first go around I would watch them the entire time. You don’t want your cookies to be golden. In my janky… cranky?… yankee? (whatever word means my oven cooks hotter on one side) oven the cookies were done at about 8 and half minutes and looked like this:

Also, I’m not a fan of room temperature cookies, so I cook as many as will be eaten at a time, stick half of the remaining dough in a ziplock bag in the fridge. The other remaining half  goes in a ziplock bag in the freezer because it is harder to eat frozen cookie dough. Harder, but not impossible.

Yummy!

Daddy’s Day

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For all of you who have been born, you were probably aware that we just celebrated father’s day a few weeks ago.  This was a particularly sweet father’s day for my family because it was Greg’s first! Cora and I had so much fun making preparations.  I cut lots of paper, and she ate lots of paper. We have great team work.

I made this banner from scrap booking paper, stenciling, and oil stenciling paint (which is amazing), all from none other than Hobby Lobby. No instructions are really necessary. I set out with a ruler in hand to make lots of perfect triangles, but Cora had so much fun chewing on it that I decided that I am just not a perfect triangle kind of girl. But for my “type A” friends out there, you will want to take the ruler away from your baby and use it like a normal person.

When thinking of writing “HAPPY FATHER’S DAY” verse “HAPPY DADDY’S DAY” I decided to go with Daddy. My husband is a father, a really good father. But he is more than that. There are a lot of men out there who get to be “fathers,” but not as many who get to be “Daddys.” Being a Daddy takes work. It means that you are intentional. It means you love, and sacrifice, and learn, and care, and kiss tears, and hunt for “bunny blanket,” and snuggle.

Being a Daddy means that you squish into a little pig so that your girl can ride her first ride.

Being a Daddy means that sometimes your arms are better than a stroller even when you have a long walk back to the car.

It was a good day. Amen.

What’s Cookin’ / June 24 – 30

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On the menu for this week:  

Sunday– Grilled chicken and grilled corn on the cob

Monday– Turkey veggie burgers and mac salad (turkey burgers are yum by the way, and we will grill ’em on Sunday with the chicken)

Tuesday– Baked tilapia and quinoa

Wednesday- Omelets with peppers and tomatoes (from my garden, what?)

Thursday- Baked chicken with corn on the cob and cucumber salad.

Friday- Family day at Dollywood, so we will pack sandwiches!