Thursday, July 31, 2008

Is Seafood On The Menu?

One of the easiest and most delicious seafood recipes that I know how to prepare is a really light Shrimp Scampi. I got the recipe a couple years ago when I was looking for a recipe to fry trout, imagine that. The Internet can take you so many places!

But it is a a simple recipe that requires little preparation, limited cooking time and just a few ingredients but the result is fantastic with a glass of red wine and some pesto linguine.

You will need:

1-2 lbs of cooked shrimp
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 tsp. Onion Salt
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3-5 Tbls. Olive Oil

Coat the bottom of your frying pan or wok with olive oil, add more or less depending on the size of the pan you are using. Heat over medium heat and add Shrimp, garlic, onion salt and Italian seasoning and saute until tender. Add the Parmesan cheese and warm. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

A couple things about seafood;

I always prefer to use domestic seafood. It usually goes through a more rigorous safety testing process and it helps to sustain our American way of life, providing for American workers. Call me silly, but that is a big thing to me!

When cooking seafood of any kind, always wash and rinse it thoroughly first. Many diseases can be transmitted through unwashed seafood. Take the time and effort to keep your family healthy, wash ALL food before you cook it (veggies included!).

If you are a huge seafood fan, there are many great places to get ideas and just enjoy the company of other seafood fanatics. This Friday and Saturday 5 chefs will compete in the 5th annual, Great American Seafood Cook off, showcasing domestic seafood and showing off their talents in the Louisiana area where seafood is a staple and is always the freshest. The best seafood to be had has got to be in Louisiana! If you are a seafood fan, this is a must see!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Watch For Travel Fees

I am excited to see the next Get Gephardt on our Channel 2 news. It's a program where Bill Gephardt takes on big corporations, large companies and gets answers and sometime even money back for consumers that have been taken advantage of by these large companies.

Tomorrow's is all about Travel Fees. I am really interested to see what he finds out about the airline baggage fees, fuel surcharges and such, not to mention the insane "resort fees" charged by the hotels for any amenity, if you use it or not!

Get Gephardt comes on, on the 10pm Channel 2 news here. If you get a chance to see it, please tell me what you think. After it airs, I will be sure to add a link to it, so those of you that are not in my area can see it too. I would love to know what everyone thinks!

Here's that link, as promised! It was a good one!

Get Gephardt: How Hotels And Airlines Get Away With Making You Pay "Fees"

Monday, July 28, 2008

When Life Gives You Lemons....

Okay, one of my favorite sayings is "When Life Gives You Lemons, Throw Them Back!". But in all reality, lemons are, in my opinion, a staple for any kitchen. There are so many amazing uses for them. But I will cover that later. Today I want to talk a little bit about getting the most out of your lemons.

Before you are ready to use the lemon take a minute, make sure the lemons are at room temperature and then roll them between the palm of your hand and the kitchen counter just before squeezing them.

This will get you the most juice possible out of the lemon. It also makes the lemon rind much more flavorful for zesting.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Week Off

Sorry everyone. I took the holiday week off to enjoy time with my little children that were left home with me while my husband and oldest son went and tried out Scout Camp for a week.

All I can say is "It is good to be back!"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Don't Let Your Pasta Boil Over

Don't let your pasta boil over, use a tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil, added to the water to keep the bubbles down. Then take the wooden spoon your using to stir it and place it over the top of the pan. Between the oil and the spoon, your pasta won't stick to the pan and it won't have a chance to boil over.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Meatloaf Fiesta

I have never been a fan of meatloaf and my kids would not touch it if I paid them! Then I found this recipe. It changed the way my family thinks about meatloaf. It is super moist and super flavorful and an added bonus for me, it is super, super easy! It has a zesty, southwest flavor added by the salsa which is also what keeps it moist. Try it with different variations of salsa until you find the right one for your family. My family prefers Pace, extra mild. My Father prefers Hot La Victoria and my Aunt, enjoys it with fruity, homemade mango salsa. Every family has their own flavor, give it a try and find yours.

1 lbs. ground beef
1 egg
1 Tbsp Mustard
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Cup Salsa
1 1/2 to 2 Cups crushed Saltine Crackers, Crushed Corn Chips, Broken bread or Oatmeal

Mix all ingredients lightly, just until crackers, chips, bread or oatmeal is moistened. Place in loaf pan and cover lightly with more Salsa if desired. Bake at 350 for 30 -45 minutes, until meat is done or center temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summertime Sun Tea

This is a recipe I have had around since I was a small child. I remember seeing the pitchers sitting on the porch, sparkling in the sun. My Grandma would sweeten it to perfection and after a few hours in the fridge, it was a delightfully light, crisp and refreshing drink to sit down to after running around in the sun.

2 Quarts Water
6 Tea Bags
1 Lemon, sliced
1 Lime, sliced
1 Orange, sliced
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 cup Sugar

Fill the pitcher with water, add the Tea Bags, Lemon, Lime and Orange slices and the cinnamon stick. Allow to sit in the direct sun for 3 hours. Bring in the house, add the sugar and allow to cool in the fridge until perfect drinking temperature.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kater-Bug's Amazing Cakes

This Wednesday's Blog of the Week is my favorite cake decorating blog. Katerbug Cake's always has something new and exciting, is full of great tips, tricks and ideas and has links to some of the best products you can buy and the best prices. Katerbug Cake's is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cake decorating and you can tell she loves decorating, it shows in her work. She is so creative and so incredibly talented, I learn so much from her every time I visit.

Her recipe for "5-minute Chocolate Cake" is so easy and so delicious. Just take a look at the picture and your mouth will start watering!

My favorite cake so far has been her Guitar Cake. The flames were amazing and the detail is to die for. Before too long she will start putting those guys at Ace of Cakes to shame! She is just amazing!

So if you are looking for some new ideas, cake decoration supplies or just a fun new blog to follow, take a mouth-watering, awe inspiring journey over to Katerbug Cakes and get inspired!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Favorite Children's Books

When I travel with my children, I always bring along my favorite children's books. Not their favorite books, but mine, because I am the one that will be reading it over and over. Two of my favorite children's books are Silly Sally and Dinosaurumpus. They are fun rhyming books with bright pictures and laughable lyrics. The kids love them and I enjoy reading them. It makes travel with five children not just bearable but enjoyable.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Don't Cry Over Your Onions

This has to be one of my all time favorite kitchen tricks! I learned it from my grandmother when I was first learning to cook. She would put her onions in the freezer as we were getting ready to start a meal. When it came time to chop the onions, she would take them out of the freezer and they never made us cry! The few minutes in the freezer does not change the composition of the onion but it does something to the juices to make them less potent. So, next time you are cooking with onions, put them in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes and take them out when you are ready to chop them.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Want A Dyson!

I have gone through SO many vacuums in the last 10 years that I wonder how there could have ever been any dirt on my floor, but I know there was/is/always will be tons of dirt. So I vacuum and I vacuum and I vacuum again. I keep noticing that my vacuum loses suction within a couple of days of replacing the filter and it just never seems to work properly for more than a few days. So I have been checking out vacuum cleaners and I really, really like the Dyson. There are no filters to change and so no loss of suction. They carry a competitive warranty and I have a friend that has tried one and really enjoys hers. She swears she will never go back. I just wonder though, without a filter, what is it kicking up into the air from my carpet? Hummm..... the decisions, the questions.... maybe I'll just tile the whole house!

Do you love your Bluetooth?

I have been looking at Bluetooth speaker phones lately. I am thinking it would be really nice to have one for my cell phone, but my dad got himself a Bluetooth headset about 6 months ago and he hates it. It won't connect for him when he wants it to and sitting in the car, right next to it, it will disconnect for no reason. I am wondering if they need a little more time to work out all the bugs before I look to much further into getting myself one? Does anyone else have any experience with them?

Party Time!

I am not of Mexican descent so La Quinceanera's are a new concept to me. I was completely surprised when I found out everything that goes into this "coming of age" ceremony for daughters turning 15 years old (I believe). My sister was asked to make Quinceanera invitations for the sister of a co-worker. She was telling me about all that goes into these celebrations, the wedding gown type dress, the cake, the boys! It's a lot like a wedding, with out the groom and instead, eligible boys she might be interested in. There's food and fun, it's a big party and one of the biggest events in the girls life. It sounds like so much fun.

Deep Chocolate Tart

You all know how much I love chocolate, especially soft, rich and creamy chocolate. But this is a doozy with more than 390 calories per serving, even diet pills can't help you here. But you will enjoy it so much you won't care! This tart is absolutely fantastic! It is a recipe that I have had around for quite a few years. I don't know where it came from at this point, so if you know, please feel free to let me know. I would love to give credit where credit is due. And this deserves lots of kudos! It is the perfect end to a summer time lunch.

Deep Chocolate Tart

1/3 cup Butter or Margarine, softened
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Butter or Margarine
1 14oz. can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 12oz. bag (2 cups) Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Whipped Cream if desired

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl cut 1/3 cup butter into flour until mixture is moist and crumbly. Add egg and mix until a firm dough forms. Press dough firmly and evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9" ungreased tart pan with removable bottom. Bake for 12 to 15 min, until golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. In 1 qt. sauce pan melt 1 tablespoon butter over low heat. Add Milk and Chocolate Chips, melt over low heat occasionally stirring slowly until chocolate is melted. (To protect the integrity of the chocolate, use the lowest heat possible) Once melted, add the Walnuts and Vanilla. Spread into baked and cooled crust.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until edge is set but center appears moist. Place on wire rack and cool completely (approx. 1 hour).

Top with whipped cream to serve.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Neighbor is Leaving!

I am so sad! My wonderful neighbors are leaving! Their parents found out that in order to avoid a HUGE tax payment, they had to get rid of their second house, the one next door to me. So they started getting ready to sell it. Before they had even gotten it ready and listed, their sister found a family that was looking for property in our area and before we knew it, it was sold! They have to be out by the 31st of July. I will really miss them! They have two darling little boys that my kids LOVE to play with and the cutest little girl that happens to be Baby's best friend. I love talking to her and I will really miss sitting and chatting while our kids play. But I am floored at the fact that her house sold for what it did and as quickly as it did! It sold for nearly $80K more than I bought my house for 6 years ago and they are identical houses! Yikes! But then the Wilmington real estate, or all real estate for that matter is really going crazy. But it really does make me consider selling my house, at an $80K profit, who wouldn't!?! I just can't imagine our little cul-de-sac without my wonderful neighbors.