22nd Dec2012

Weekend Fun {Saturday Share}

by Daenel

Teal Cardi Teal and Brown Floral Skirt Mustard Tights {Shoe Style Saturday}

The hubs and I went on an impromptu date last night to Starbucks for some coffee. The hubs always gets a plain coffee. Drives me insane. I usually get one of the seasonal flavors, last night it was a Salted Caramel Mocha. While we were sitting in the parking lot we decided to go see what was playing at the theater; we ended up seeing “This is 40″.  That movie was alternately hilarious and sobering. Honestly, it was quite possibly one of the most realistic portrayals of what happens to individuals and couples as they see middle age staring them in the face. If you do go to see it, I have to warn you, there is a lot of vulgar language. And I do I mean a lot.

I was also able to catch up on some blog reading this week and thought I’d share some of my favorite posts with you:

  • Easy 4 Ingredient Thumbprint Cookies {Mama Dweeb} ~ Annie is making cookie baking so easy for me this year.  Four ingredient cookies? Yes, please. And they’re four ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard.
  • Last Minute Gift Making Ideas {Oh, Sweet Joy!} ~ I’m the queen of procrastination. Also I’m not very good at picking out gifts for people. Are you the same way? Well, Kim shared 5 tutorials for some really cute last minute gifts that’ll leave establish you as the chicest gifter of all.
  • Macadamia Nut Bark  {Kleinworth & Co.} ~ Gina shared a recipe for Macadamia Nut Bark that’ll make your mouth water just from looking at the pictures. This year the kids and I plan to spend Christmas Eve baking cookies, I’m hoping to give these a whirl.
  • Molly {What I Wore 2Day} ~ I’ve always been told that I have a quirky fashion sense, but Kasmira takes it to a whole new level. I just love the way she mixes patterns and color. You can tell she has a lot of fun with her clothes. And, um, can I mention how much I heart her Miz Mooz Boots?
  • Spray Painted Twigmas Tree {Five Days… 5 Ways} ~ Raise your hand if your house doesn’t have any Christmas decorations up yet. Oh, it’s just me? Well then, I think it’s a little late to start decorating for Christmas now but I do need to decorate so my house can look more, um, finished. And these painted twigs by Abbie are absolutely perfect not just for Christmas but for filling in empty corners any time of the year.

How was your weekend?

05th Feb2011

Kitchen Monki: Your Ultimate Cooking Utensil

by Daenel

Kitchen MonkiI love to cook, honestly, there’s very little that I enjoy more than cooking (Don’t believe me?  Listen to my Monday Mingle vlog).    A while back I started writing my favorite recipes on recipe cards and storing them in a wooden storage box, which worked really well until I started using the recipe cards.  My cards got bent, stuck together, smudged from liquids…  Many of them are simply unusable at this point.  So I started searching for a free online recipe organizer that I could use to replace my beautiful but messy cards.  Well, we all know my love of monkeys, so when I stumbled across Kitchen Monki I was beyond thrilled.  There’s a monkey! Holding cooking utensils!

Adding recipes to Kitchen Monki is easy, all you have to do is follow the step~by~step directions.  And if you’re taking the recipe from an online site, there’s an area for you to add the corresponding URL.  You can add pictures, share recipes, comment on other people’s recipes…

Seriously, Kitchen Monki is more than “online storage” for recipes, you can manage your grocery list, send your grocery list to your phone via SMA and use the meal planner/calendar (I know there are a lot of meal planning mommas out there who would love this).  There’s even a YouTube channel that shows you how to use the various Kitchen Monki tools.  You can feed your recipes directly to Twitter or embed them into your blogs if you’re a blogger.

Do you store your recipes online or on recipe cards?  Which do you prefer?

Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation for this post, I just think this is a great recipe storage tool.  And there’s a monkey!

25th Mar2010

Hellman’s Presents The Real Food Project

by Daenel

I love to cook (you can check out some of my creations on flickr), it’s one of the ways that I show my family how much they mean to me ~ you know, my special meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green bean dinner on the hub’s birthday or orange cranberry tea loaf for the kids for the Thanksgiving holidays, etc.  So I’m always up for finding new and interesting ways to prepare foods that will appeal to every member of my family (I have a son who may or may not be a vegetarian, a husband who only likes veggies from a can and girls who are constantly trying to convince me that chocolate is one of the major food groups)…  That’s why I was happy to find out that celebrity Chef Bobby Flay and actress/mom Lori Loughlin have teamed up with Hellmann’s and Best Foods Mayonnaise for The Real Food Project, an online resource that offers tips on how to create foods using Real Foods.

The site offers entertaining video tutorials for everything from making sandwiches to entrees to side dishes.  You even have the chance to win great prizes like a kitchen essentials bundle, Bobby Flay Grill It, and Hellmann’s and Best Foods products by playing the “Wheel of Real” instant win game and entering the Real Food Sweepstakes.

So head on over to Hellmann’s and check out some of the recipes.  I can’t wait to try the Creamy Loaded Mashed Potatoes!  Yum!

Disclosure:  I was entered for a chance to win a Hellmann’s prize package in exchange for this post.  No monetary exchange took place.

30th Jan2010

Mom, We Love What’s for Dinner

by Daenel

I am happy to report that my experiment with menu planning went really well! For the most part, I stuck to the menu as stated (you can see pictures of the meals here). The only two times I veered off course were Monday (forgot to make the steamed broccoli but no one even noticed, they were so busy sucking down the shrimp piccata) and Friday (ended up not cooking because I had a large lunch with my husband and the kids were perfectly happy making sandwiches).

I was incredibly surprised that things went so well. I thought it’d be a chore to make a full meal every day but it wasn’t. In fact, it was nice knowing at the beginning of each day what that night’s dinner was going to be. And the fact that I had done the grocery shopping based on the week’s meals meant that I wasn’t running to the grocery store to pick up missing supplies (no wasted gas and no money spent on useless items ~ I can never bypass the trail mix without picking some up). Furthermore, it meant no mindless snacking at night because I was hungry (incredibly helpful since my goal is to lose weight and become healthier). It also felt good knowing that my family was eating a healthy meal made, for the most part, from unprocessed foods.

Another exciting benefit was that I tried foods I have never had before (lamb, anyone?) and recipes that challenged me (yes, I substituted red wine for white wine!). I’ll definitely continue with menu planning and shopping according to the meal plan (Saturdays and Sundays will be free days). Overall, it simply made life easier and tastier. I’ll also try to incorporate something new and different into the menu so that we can expand our culinary horizons. Naturally, I’ll be posting my menus here, so be on the look out.

What about you? Do you plan your meals ahead of time? Tell me your family faves. And please, please, please share some recipes with me, I love trying new things.

25th Jan2010

Mom, What’s for Dinner?

by Daenel

That’s the first thing my kids ask me when they walk through the door at the end of a long school day. Sometimes they even ask me that question as I’m driving them to the bus stop in the morning. I used to just mutter something along the lines of not knowing and not caring. Really, who’s thinking about dinner at 6:30 AM? I’m not. Usually I’m thinking that education is highly overrated and my kids really don’t need to learn reading, writing and ‘rithmetic….

Well, this time I’m staying one step (or maybe it’s seven steps) ahead of the game. When they ask me what’s for dinner, I’ll just point them to my blog (I could use more readers anyway). I’m creating this meal plan in the hopes that it will help me to stave off the munchies and I won’t sabotage my weightloss goal. Naturally, I’ll let everyone know how this goes this weekend. Until then, here’s the menu…

Shrimp Piccata
Steamed Broccoli

Harvest Pot Pie

Cavatelli with Brussels Sprouts
Baked Pork Chops

Braised Lamb with Eggplant, Tomato and Feta Cheese

Fish Chowder

Chicken Parmesan
Mixed Vegetables


I’ll be going to the grocery store later this morning to pick up all the ingrediens so, hopefull, I will find everything I need. If not, I’ll make some changes but, for right now, that’s the plan. Naturally, I will post pictures and recipes.

08th Nov2009

Cranberry Twist with a Bit of Peppermint

by Daenel

I’m not much of a drinker but I do love fizzy drinks so a couple of years ago I came up with this tart and tangy drink to serve during the holidays….

4 oz Ginger Ale
4 oz Cranberry Juice
Crushed Peppermints (for garnish)
Crushed Ice

Put crushed ice into a clear glass, pour in the ginger ale, add the cranberry juice and top with crushed peppermints. I don’t stir because I like to watch the colors blend (I am easily amused).

Not only is this drink pretty, it has just the right amount of fizz….

This post was written as an entry for the Lenox Drinks of the Season Blogging Contest that is being hosted by TwitterMoms. I’ll post pics tomorrow (I am not a good night time photographer).

31st Oct2009

Meatloaf Mice

by Daenel

On Wednesday afternoon, I received an email from my husband asking if I could come up with something to cook for a Halloween themed party he was having at work.

Hmmmm….interesting request, especially since I hate Halloween (chalk it up to my upbringing, those who know my parents understand).

Anyway, I sat up all night Wednesday trying to come up with something delicious and Halloweeny. The best I could come up with was Meatloaf Mice. (/sarcasm)

What you’ll need:
Ground beef to make mouse shaped meatloaf (you can make mini ones like I did or big ones)

Cooked spaghetti noodles for the tails (I separated them on wax paper to let them cool)

Baby Bella mushrooms for the ears (try to match the sizes so their ears are symetrical)

Toothpicks to attach the ears to the body

Spinach and bread crumbs for the grass

To make:
Shape your favorite meatloaf recipe (my recipe is posted on flickr) into a mouse shape – rounded end for the butt, pointy end for the face. After you’ve finished baking, set the “mice” on wax paper to cool and begin prepping the “grass.”

Coat a glass baking dish with olive oil, add spinach and season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with plain bread crumbs and bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

After mice have cooled, begin assembling: use a toothpick to attach mushroom “ears” to either side of the mouse head and place on the grass. After you have arranged the mice the way you like them, place a piece of spaghetti under the rounded end to form a tail.

And there you have it!

For fun, you can put a dried tomato in the center of the body before cooking to form a “heart”. I also made a dipping sauce to go with the mice:
- 1/2 c ketchup
- 1/2 c honey mustard
- 2 tbs molasses
- 2 tbs honey
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1/2 small onion chopped
- red pepper flakes to taste
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
Bring to a boil in a small sauce pan
05th Oct2009

Menu Plan Monday

by Daenel

Ok, I know they’re goofy but I think memes are fun and they provide friends and family with a chance to learn something new about me, this is why I participate in them just about every chance I get (whether I’m invited or not).

One of the reasons the Menu Plan Monday meme caught my eye is that I really enjoy cooking and I come from a long line of put-their-foot-in-it-so-good-it-makes-you-wanna-slap-your-momma cooks. Not that I am anywhere near that level, but I do have fun trying.
I like to try recipes from a variety of sources. Where possible, I’ve linked the meals to the recipes so you can give it a whirl. My only advice, be creative and don’t be afraid to take a recipe and make it your own. I have been known to tweak a recipe or two when I don’t have the required ingredients on hand and they’ve come out pretty delish.
The rules in this family as far as eating are pretty simple:
1. Mom has the right to cook something new and different
2. Everyone is obligated to try it
3. Kids can critique
4. Dad has veto power
Monday, 5 October
*15 Minute Chicken and Rice with peas (momma has plans for the evening, so we are going quick and easy)
Tuesday, 6 October
*Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Wednesday, 7 October
*Smothered pork chops, garlic mashed potatoes and green beans (I like to use milk in my gravy to give it a creamy texture and I never use a browning sauce)
Thursday, 8 October
*Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon with broccoli and wild rice
Friday, 9 October
*Take out (momma needs a break)
Saturday, 10 October
*Left overs
Sunday, 11 October
*Fried chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, spinach with garlic sauce
For more menu ideas, check out Mom Cooks, pennyraine.com and The Mommy Diaries.

29th Jul2009

On the Table

by Daenel

My husband did not marry me for my cooking skills, ’cause when we first got married I couldn’t cook. No, you don’t understand, I lived in my apartment for six months before I even bothered to turn on the stove. I lived down the street from Popeyes and I had a crawfish shack around the corner, what more could a girl want?

For almost eight years my family survived off what barely passed as edible food. I cringe when I think about the stuff I served them…why didn’t someone step in and help a sista out?

Then one day my husband bought me a beautiful house and made me so incredibly happy that I was practically floating. With the house came the power to cook…Not really, but it honestly felt like I woke up the next morning with skills.

Now I don’t consider myself a chef, but I do have fun trying new stuff and playing in the kitchen, so I thought it’d be fun to start sharing my recipes and my pictures.

On the Table
Meatloaf Mice
Menu Plan Monday
Yummy Pictures
Asparagus Alla Paper Bag (courtesy of my friend at Bell’alimento)
Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread
Cornish Hens with Apricot Glaze, Stuffing and Green Beans
Creamy Nine Bean Soup
Eggplant Lasagna
Fish, Sausage and Shrimp Chowder
Italian Wedding Soup and Polenta with Dried Tomatoes and Olive Sauce
Lemon Chicken with Pasta and Veggies
Orange Cranberry Tea Loaf
Pork Roast Stuffed with Spinach and Mashed Potatoes
Ribs, Asparagus and Pasta
Sausage and Peppers with Pasta
I like to give credit where credit is due. So if I use someone else’s recipe, I link back to them and if I use my own, I let you know.

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